The Collective Bargaining Agreement allows it. Within the NFL, it’s frowned upon.
It could be time for the Bengals to turn that frown upside down.
Quarterback Joe Burrow deserves to be the highest-paid player in football. He won’t push for that, however. It’s not his way, not his style. He won’t want to tie the team’s hands when it comes to operating under a fairly firm salary cap.
So how can the Bengals make him truly happy, without creating a cap mess for themselves? They can be the first NFL team to give a player a contract tied to the ongoing growth of the salary cap.
It’s not dollars for Burrow. It’s points. His compensation, for each year of the deal, would be determined by a set percentage of the cap. Then, he’d get that amount every season.
Will the dollars be significant? Yes. But when it’s couched in terms of the total cap, it won’t seem quite as obscene as it currently does when discussing big-money deals.
For the Bengals, who have always had a contrarian streak and who have recently been screwed in multiple ways in the aftermath of the cancellation of their Week 17 game against the Bills, it’s a great opportunity to stick a finger in the eye of the establishment.
Make no mistake about it. The league doesn’t want teams to tie compensation to cap percentage. The Management Council typically keeps everyone in line regarding such joint strategies that amount to collusion, but that can never be proven as such.
Far more importantly, this is the best strategy for fairly compensating the most important player in team history — and for getting him to commit to (for example) a 10-year deal that won’t become obsolete with the passage of time, the inevitable growth of the cap, and the inevitable increase in the quarterback market.