When is an Uncapped Year Not an Uncapped Year?

2010:  The Uncapped Year coming to a theatre near you.  Seemingly the only fans who were able to see the movie were the Redskins and Bears fans.  Both teams had a frenzy of spending for free agents and both teams will miss the playoffs in 2010.  Undoubtedly, with an ending like that, the movie can only get 2 stars.

It does beg the question, “Why isn’t Jerry Jones restructuring deals to pay his top talent most of their money in the 2010 season with the remaining years, 2011 through 2015, being extremely cap friendly?”  Here are a few answers with only one of them being the real answer.

1.  Jones is out of money.  Building a 1.3 billion dollar stadium certainly can take a chunk out of one’s pocket book.  Jones may be cash poor, but he’s not credit poor.  If he needed a few million to restructure contracts, you would see bankers clamoring to give Jones the deal.  Can you think of a safer credit risk than Jones considering the revenue streams that flood Cowboys Stadium?

2.  Jones is concerned about injury risks.  Why pay Romo 90% of his remaining contract in 2010 when he is just as susceptible to a career ending injury regardless of his pay schedule.  There may be some merit to this claim.  Miles Austin certainly would not be as fast if he were to tear up both of his knees.

3.  Jones is concerned about holdouts from players who are making the league minimum.  Simply look at the Darrelle Revis situation in New York.  He is scheduled to receive in his base salary $1 million for the 2010 season.  Players look at their checks and don’t have any recollection of their signing bonus.  Additionally, you may have agents telling their client that if they get cut while still being productive, they can get another BIG contract while they are still in their prime.  Terrell Owens squirmed his way out of a multi-year deal with the Eagles.  It’s happened before, and it could happen again.

4.  Jones is too busy drinking and philandering  to bother with contract negotiations.  There aren’t many better ways for a billionaire to spend his time.  Heck, if you watched The Jerry Springer Show once, you don’t even have to have a checking account.

5.  The 2010 season isn’t uncapped.  This is the real reason.  The collective bargaining agreement is in flux.  The owners aren’t simply fighting with the players union, they are fighting amongst themselves.  According to Jim Irsay:

Irsay said Manning’s agent, Tom Condon, and team president Bill Polian have discussed a contract extension, but the biggest obstacle so far has been the lack of a collective bargaining agreement.

“It’s not going to be easy because there’s probably going to be something that goes back and captures something from the uncapped year,” Irsay said, referring to how this year’s deals could affect future salary cap space.

There are simply too many questions that need to be answered before Jones hands out checks like he works for the government.  Will an 18 game schedule automatically increase current player salaries by 12.5%?  Will the money spent over an arbitrary cap value in 2010 affect cap space in 2011 and on?  Will the length of contracts be limited to terms of years?

While certain people would love to believe that Jones is drunk, broke, and scared out of his mind, the fact is that Jones is cautious.  He’s not cheap anymore, low-balling Emmitt Smith on his contract or trying to recoup money from Jimmy Smith for a non-related football issue.  While I have my issues with Jones, I believe a wait and see approach is the smart approach to take for the 2010 season.

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Tags: Bill Polian Chicago Bears Cowboys Stadium Darrelle Revis Emmitt Smith Jim Irsay Terrell Owens Jimmy Smith Miles Austin New York Jets Peyton Manning Philadelphia Eagles Tom Condon Tony Romo Washington Redskins

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