The time is now to tie future earnings to cap percentage

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Others have tried, but no one may be in better position to blaze a new trail for NFL players than Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson. And the time has come for someone to sign a contract that ties his future pay not to specific dollars but to a percentage of the ever-growing cap.

It’s arguably overdue for a high-end player to achieve protection against the inevitable contract-hopping that happens as the salary cap climbs and, in turn, the market increases. With, as of 2013, the cap embarking on a $10 million-or-more annual jump, long-term deals quickly became obsolete.

That’s precisely why Wilson currently is so underpaid. When signing his latest contract, with a new-money average of $21.9 million per year, Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers had the top spot at $22 million. Eventually, along came Andrew Luck ($24.5 million) and Derek Carr ($25 million) and Matthew Stafford ($27 million) and Jimmy Garoppolo ($27.5 million) and Kirk Cousins ($28 million) and Matt Ryan ($30 million) before Rodgers pushed the bar to $33.5 million.

Wilson, entering the final year of a four-year extension, must now worry about the same dynamic playing out, in the event he puts his hand one spot higher on an upside-down baseball bat that never quite allows anyone to curl his thumb over the knob. Complicating matters for Wilson is the uncertainty over the multiple sources of potential cap spikes, from a new labor deal to new TV deals to new states embracing gambling — and the NFL turning those expanded gambling pools into new revenue streams.

If the Seahawks want to avoid embarking on a year-to-year franchise-tag dance with Wilson, which would culminate in a one-year tender of $52.43 million in 2022, they likely will need to be willing to give Wilson insurance against spikes in the cap and, in turn, growth in the market that could result in players like Deshaun Watson, Patrick Mahomes, and Baker Mayfield leapfrogging Wilson while he works through the years of his third NFL deal.

With the deadline for doing a long-term deal one day away, that’s the wrinkle to watch. Unless the Seahawks are willing to dramatically exceed the current market maximum in hard dollars, it’s going to take a percentage of the cap to get this done.

61 responses to “The time is now to tie future earnings to cap percentage

  1. Worst idea ever… and Wilson is NOT the guy to force that type of contract. Trade to Chargers or Giants is looming.

  2. It’s true. Every player in the league should be the top paid player at their position. Just give them all 100% of the salary cap.

    Who cares about whether or not there are half a dozen better QBs than Russell Wilson. He should be the highest paid just because!

  3. The CBA is up in 2021. Do you really think the owners are going to continually increase the salary cap by roughly $10 million per year for no reason? This would create a disaster for the next CBA negotiations and likely for the players as their pie will stop growing.

  4. I’ve had conversations with friends about this. In the last 10 years, no Superbowl QB (win or lose) has had more than 12.4% of the cap space for his team. As a team, I’d be careful to go much above that percentage. At some point, you’re shooting yourself in the foot if you pay a QB too much (or any player for that matter).

    Example: Give a QB a 35m/year avg deal for 5 years – that’s about 16.5% of the cap. Add in 3 other players on the team averaging 14m/year on their deals and that leaves 2.5m/year average for the other 49 players. If you’re not stellar at drafting talent, you’ll be average to above average as a team at best.

  5. This is only works for a handful of QBs. Other positions usually end up getting over paid as they get older. Football has short careers and owners won’t ever agree to this.

  6. Hopefully they dont change that by adding some sort of cap exemption for QBs. It’s a good thing that signing a top QB requires teams to make concessions in other areas.

  7. what happens if the cap goes down, then the player holds out because he is due less money that year?

  8. Pass a law that says anyone who makes more than 25 million a year pays 75% in taxes.

    I bet they (QBs)) would all settle for 25 mill.

  9. This will absolutely destroy a team’s chances of winning a SB. I understand that for 99% of the players, the money is more important than winning. However, we fans want team success. Once one player eats up so much of the cap the team can’t get they talent they need at other positions. It doesn’t matter if the QB is average like Wilson and Stafford, or a bit above average like Rodgers. It sabotages the team.

  10. This would be great for stars. But, what about the majority of the roster, including the majority of the starters? It’s the mid tier players (solid starters but not Pro-Bowl caliber) who get the shaft as the pay for the top players goes up. With a fixed cap, one group of players has to lose for another group of players to win.

  11. How about we change the rules of the league so it’s not so passing dominate so teams don’t have to pay mediocre QBs $30 million/year just so they can compete. There are players at other positions who have shorter careers, risk more injuries and twice as good as QBs yet they get paid half as much

  12. I don’t see why I would want this if I were either side. Both sides are already negotiating with the idea of where the cap is going (best guesses). The smaller contracts are not gaining a worthwhile $$$ value. It just seems like a fight that results in little benefit but potentially a lot of cost.

    Both sides stand to benefit from cap percentage contracts for the biggest contracts – but neither would dare concede it for free. I’m not sure I would want to tie my compensation to the rest of the league as much as my individual team.

  13. It’s easy for me to tell someone else they don’t need to squeeze every last dollar out of ownership, but I think I’d rather settle for a measly $20 million per year and leave the team some space to add other good players. If anything I’d negotiate that the team has to spend at least 95% of their cap space so that the team isn’t pocketing the money I save them

  14. I think they should have some sort of reward for keeping your own players that allows x amount of percentage of of the contract not to count to the salary cap. Maybe after year 5, every year a player is on the same team, then 3 percent of their salary doesn’t count to the salary cap. So for example a player who has played with the same team for 8 years….9 percent of their salary doesn’t count on the cap. This seems like a huge win for fans, and the players, and its a way to give more money to the players who have been in the league longer, rewards teams for drafting well, adds more loyalty to the teams (as a fan I want my players to hate the other team as much I dislike other teams), it rewards players for being loyal to their team as now they can be paid higher contracts with their current team than just leaving. I don’t know if my percent is right maybe it needs to be higher …maybe lower but I think this is a creative way to reward loyalty, and vets of your team.

    Another rule I think is dumb is the rule where teams gain draft picks for losing their players to other teams, I dont’ see why you should be rewarded for not signing your players. If anything I think teams that hold on to players say 8…10…12 years etc deserve to get the extra draft capital as incentive not to cut your older vets for cheaper and younger players.

  15. ricko1112 says:
    April 14, 2019 at 2:00 pm
    This will absolutely destroy a team’s chances of winning a SB. I understand that for 99% of the players, the money is more important than winning. However, we fans want team success. Once one player eats up so much of the cap the team can’t get they talent they need at other positions. It doesn’t matter if the QB is average like Wilson and Stafford, or a bit above average like Rodgers. It sabotages the team.

    ———————
    Lol, Wilson is way way above average, and Rodgers is tied for second best qb playing today. But you are right, even when they are that goid it still sabotages the team.

  16. This site has grossly overestimated the amount of people who care about the goings on of Russell Wilson.

    Really, we don’t need multiple updates a day.

    Lets just cool it until there is actual developments in his contract situation

  17. This is an incomplete argument. Part of the reason teams are okay with long-term deals is because they bring a measure of COST CONTROL to contracts. So, even if the player goes “wrong” after signing, the team knows what it is stuck with. Make this change, and teams would by necessity have to be more conservative with payouts to account for that uncertainty. In addition, as of right now contracts are what they are because the understanding that caps will rise is “baked in”. Top players essentially push the ceiling of deals that much more because it is know that at the tail end the salary cap would have risen – if salaries move with that cap, teams will offer up less of a percentage to make up for that. To put it another way, right not a player might get 13% of the cap early on and see that figure fall to 8%, but if there are cap-tied contracts the figure wouldn’t be 13% flat throughout…it would lower (relative to the current early contract cash payouts) to something more like 10%.

  18. The League has a standard player contract and I doubt under the current CBA this would be legal.

    I believe it would have to be negotiated for with the union.

    Therefore I doubt you will ever see this.

  19. I’m not a Patriots fan, but Tom Brady has rings. One of the many factors of that, is he takes less than “market value”, because he trusts his coach/GM to use the money saved wisely.

    Here’s another rather significant difference. Brady is state taxed at 5.1%, Rodgers is 7.65%, Matt Ryan at 6%, Matt Stafford at 4.25%, Cousins at 9.85%, Jimmy G and Carr at 13.3%… Wilson is not state taxed in Washington. His salary is, in a layman way, 4-13% higher than the players who leapfrogged him.

  20. The time is now to tie future earnings to cap percentage
    ___________________________________________________

    That’d be like buying a house and car that you can’t afford based on a raise you’re planing on getting = NOT TO SMART!

    As I’ve said many times the cap CAN’T continue to go up >$10mil/yr, it’s totally unsustainable!

  21. How is this going to change anything?

    If Wilson signs a deal entitling him to 18.8% of the Seahawks cap space ($34M for 2019), isn’t the next QB in line for a deal gong to just insist on more than 18.8%? We’re still stuck in this cycle of every moderately successful QB feeling entitled to setting a new high water mark every time their contract is up.

  22. It’s not how much your paid, it’s how much your worth! None of them are WORTH anywhere near that amount of money. So what if the owners make more billions! If the players are making more than half a million a year they are being grossly overpaid.

  23. Maybe these players need be less fraking greedy and allow team to spread it around to more players Should be a cap how one player can earn

  24. clwb419 says:
    April 14, 2019 at 1:34 pm
    I’ve had conversations with friends about this. In the last 10 years, no Superbowl QB (win or lose) has had more than 12.4% of the cap space for his team.
    ============================

    Tom Brady is an outlier paid far far far below his market value. No other player is married to a super model worth well over $100 million.

  25. Any team that does this is insuring they are paying max value against the cap every year which goes against the reasons for doing long term contracts in the first place? The whole idea is to get relief against the cap at some point in exchange for a large amount of guaranteed money. No player in any sport has a percentage of the cap deal for a reason, and that is because it doesn’t help the team in any way shape or form. I’m all for players getting what they can, but it can’t be at the expense of overall team success. The only way a percentage deal works is if you do it at every position so there is a slotted amount for every player on the team and the PA is never going to restrict it’s open market for that.

  26. The point of a fixed-salary contract is cost certainty.

    I don’t see the owners giving that up.

  27. arealisticpackerfan says:

    April 14, 2019 at 1:21 pm

    The CBA is up in 2021. Do you really think the owners are going to continually increase the salary cap by roughly $10 million per year for no reason? This would create a disaster for the next CBA negotiations and likely for the players as their pie will stop growing.
    ————–
    They don’t increase it by 10 million a year for “no reason”. The cap rises because the players get a percentage of revenue and the players won’t agree to an artificial cap number. Yes its possible the percentage the players get could go down under the next contract but that would only affect the 1st yr of the new cap, after that the cap again will continue to rise as revenue continues to rise.

  28. Just don’t sign LT deals. Problem solved. Oh, you want a massive wad of money before you ever play another down and have team assume huge risk? That will “cost” you

  29. How bout the GMs and players just deal with it. I don’t ask for governmental regulation changes when the finances of my job ebb and flow.

    A better policy is for overpaid QBs to publicly state who’s gotta get cut so they can get overpaid.

  30. if the quarterbacks see the current system as being unfair then they should just sign short term deals; it’s their choice if they want a chance to maximize their money OR sacrifice some salary for the security of a longer term deal

  31. In theory it’s not a bad idea, but it needs to be a positional thing. Wanna tie up a stud WR or DE? What percentage do they deserve? Is it a sliding scale from year to year, because the cap is hardly ever gonna go down? Does it change from year to year? The stuffy old men who run front offices pretty much want no part of this change (but agents might like it), because it adds another layer to roster-building. Let the people working on the next CBA figure it out.

  32. I would be more in favor of a CBA provision restricting players’ salaries to a maximum cap percentage, based on positional bracket. Like the franchise tag brackets.

    You can’t pay QBs over 14%, RBs/WRs over 8%, LBs over 9%, etc. The salaries will still rise in time, but it will stop this nonsense of 2nd tier QBs leapfrogging the last guy’s deal. You would, essentially, have max contract salaries similar to NBA.

    Change the players narrative from “I think I’m the best player in the NFL” to “I think I’ve earned a max contract”.

  33. granadafan says:
    April 14, 2019 at 4:06 pm

    Tom Brady is an outlier paid far far far below his market value. No other player is married to a super model worth well over $100 million.
    ______________________________________________
    Will you people stop that BS about Brady’s wife being the reason he takes less, that is so asinine! Would you go to your boss and say “well my wife makes a lot more than me so we have plenty of money so I’ll take less because I don’t need it”? HELL NO YOU WOULDN’T! He takes less because he’s SMART enough to know that it isn’t him alone that wins all these SBs, it takes a team and depth and to have that you have to pay other players besides the QB!

    OH and what about Brees, he’s getting far below his value as compared to other top paid QBs, but I suppose that’s because his wife makes more than him also?

  34. I agree with you – tie Russel Wilson earnings to the cap. He gets 12.5 of the cap, leaving the team with enough to pay the other players

    For 15% of the cap you need to put up numbers like Aaron Rodgers at his prime, a few years ago. Remember that playoff game against the cardinals with those 2 hail mMrys to get a TD in like 60 seconds?
    Thats what a 15% Cap QB does.

  35. So whoever ends up with Wilson will have to pay him somewhere around $33 to $35 million, be it the Chargers, Raiders, Giants or Dallas. This will put the price for Wentz and Goff at about the same price and Dak to around $28 to $30 million (based on how bad the Vikings paid Cousins). Mahomes then should use Florio`s logic and tell the Chiefs 20% of cap or $40 million a year for year 1 then an additional $5 million for every year of the contract. Then someone will need to explain to all the veterans why they are being cut and replaced by rookie contract players. Then with such bad talent, someone will need to explain to fans why they should keep watching, many already are no longer. This will then mean lower tv contracts, i already think with tv watching in decline this will happen, so if this happens if a player is based on percentage who is going to tell them they get a pay cut? Any finance person will tell you this is a really bad money deal, because like the 2007 housing market crisis it is solely based on revenue going up every year. Stupid.

  36. They don’t increase it by 10 million a year for “no reason”. The cap rises because the players get a percentage of revenue and the players won’t agree to an artificial cap number. Yes its possible the percentage the players get could go down under the next contract but that would only affect the 1st yr of the new cap, after that the cap again will continue to rise as revenue continues to rise.

    The cap only rises because it was negotiated into the last CBA. Neither the owners nor the players as a whole would benefit to tying a select few players salaries to the cap.

    99%+ of players should be against tying salaries to a percentage of the cap. The ONLY players that would benefit from that are the ones who are able to force a year-to-year franchise tag. It takes potential money away from every other player. Tying a players salary to the salary cap would be a non-starter for both the owners AND the players.

    It will never happen.

  37. pkrjones says:
    April 14, 2019 at 1:18 pm

    Worst idea ever… and Wilson is NOT the guy to force that type of contract. Trade to Chargers or Giants is looming.
    ________________________________________________

    I had to give you a thumbs down because if you’d have went and done just a little research(it took me all of 1min) you’d know that neither of those teams, even if they cut their current QB would have enough cap space to be able to afford Wilson at $30mil/yr or more. With his demands he’s going to have very limited options, if any. As a matter of fact with his demands and Ciara wanting a bigger market for her career and taking into consideration these teams cap space I only see one, Miami!

  38. How bout this, a player wants his contract tied to a percentage of the cap? Fine, but none of it is going to be guaranteed.

  39. When will this site stop pushing the percentage of the cap. Every time a star QB is negotiating their contract PFT pushes for a cap percentage but it never happens.

  40. Then it can become a pissing match of who has a higher percentage. If Wilson gets X percent and I’m one of the 8 QBs in the NFL better than him, I’m demanding a higher percentage.

  41. Good idea Florio.
    But not for the NFL.
    Apply this concept to the President and Congress where their salaries and wealth are tied to the growth of, or decline of, the U.S. GDP.
    I guarantee that suddenly every Democrat will suddenly embrace free market capitalism.
    Otherwise Republicans will gain wealth by growing the GDP while when Democrats are in power they will lose wealth due to their love for socialism. This way the ideology of each party directly impacts them personally.

  42. Why does a player really need ‘protection’ against his contract getting leapfrogged? Does he really have to be the highest paid guy? So what? He gets market value at the time. Nonsensical argument.

  43. “Wilson, entering the final year of a four-year extension, must now worry about the same dynamic playing out…” Why wouldn’t the exceptionally wealthy Wilson instead worry about, you know, playing football?

    If any player truly is so terribly worried about this, why wouldn’t they just go the Occam’s Razor route and only sign one-year contracts? That’s the easiest, guaranteed way to make sure they can seek the highest contract at every opportunity.

  44. “Tom Brady is an outlier paid far far far below his market value. No other player is married to a super model worth well over $100 million.”

    He’s not underpaid. He just takes less salary and kraft invests in his business. So Brady company is valued at $10. Kraft invests $30 for 50% of the company. Now Brady owns 50% and that is valued at $20. He’s doubled his value and than takes a discount of $5 on his NFL salary.

  45. The Time Is Now… to start investing my time and energy elsewhere. This has gotten absurd. These players are not worth the money they are receiving

  46. So few QBs could command a guaranteed cap percentage. I don’t see GMs doing this for a QB and then having to deal with demands from agents of the other 52 undeserving guys on the roster.

  47. I think there’s a stronger argument for shorter, guaranteed contracts with lower base payouts and big bonuses for excelling (Superbowl, All Pro, Pro Bowl…). I like to see a player honor his contract and the team should do the same.

  48. This could work. Obviously, each team would be limited to one or two such player contracts at a time. Additionally, since signing bonuses are used to reduce cap numbers, these contracts would not be eligible for any for of bonus – just straight salary, and no guarantees for performance, just year-by-year for injury.

  49. Maybe the league should modify all pay to be tied to actual performance. Each payer gets a base rate predicated on years of services and all other compensation is tied to performance. In this case there is no need for a salary cap whatsoever. In this model no player can possible “over-perform” or “under-perform” their contract. It simply is what it is.

  50. The only way a team would be compelled to do that, is if future reductions in cap space are anticipated.

  51. It’s a horrible idea that takes away the only upside gigantic superstar contracts have to teams: Namely, they get cheaper over time. Russell Wilson’s current deal seemed crazy-high at the time of signing but now it’s actually a pretty good deal for the Seahawks. But doing a cap percentage is the equivalent of re-signing the guy every single year to another record deal.

  52. At some point soon Football will no longer exist. Regular, real fans of the game and teams in general can barely afford, if not already can’t afford, to go the games with a Family no less!!! Corporate sponsorship may buy up the tickets, but players already complain that in some home games it feels like a road game, or no rooting for the team is as apparent as it once was with that team. Something will ruin the league. I guess players get paid now why you can, but at what point can sponsorships keep paying the price tag for tv rights. Home teams fans shouldn’t have to sign up for a football package to watch their own team play every week.

  53. IF a team chose to sign ANY player to such a contract, WILSON is not that player. He’s now slow, has never excelled in throwing from the pocket, and has NEVER carried ANY team! Trade this bum!

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