The CBA that expired one year today removed the salary cap for the final year, as an incentive to get a new deal in place with more than a year left on the old one. Once the owners fully appreciated the ramifications of the uncapped year (i.e., no salary floor and two extra years to unrestricted free agency), the league had no qualms about proceeding.
But while most teams opted not to break the bank in a season without a banker, the NFL instructed teams not to use the uncapped years as a way to dump money in order to ensure that cap numbers in years with a salary cap would be lower.
And there’s currently a rumor making the rounds that multiple teams will be smacked for doing just that: using 2010 as a cap dump aimed at either keeping the numbers manageable in 2009 and previously, or in 2011 and subsequently.
It widely was believed in 2010 that the Cowboys and Redskins had worked the system to take full advantage of the absence of a cap. Dallas, for example, gave receiver Miles Austin a base salary of $17 million in 2010.
Though not as troubling as the Saints’ bounty program, we’re hearing that punishment of some sort could be coming for the teams deemed to have disregarded the directive.
UPDATE 3:12 p.m. ET: It’s not just a rumor. Adam Schefter of ESPN reports that the league will remove “millions” in salary-cap space from the Cowboys and Redskins for their uncapped-year deals.