Next Tuesday will mark the beginning of the new league year as all 32 teams must be under the salary cap to start the free agency period. All but two teams are already ahead of the game in this aspect. Of the two who need to still put in work, one is the Pittsburgh Steelers, currently about six million dollars over. You all know who the other is.
The Dallas Cowboys are almost $18 million dollars over the cap. If you think that sounds like a lot, your right. It is. You know things are bad when the Washington Redskins, with almost $30 million to play with, are better off than you are. Hell, every team in the division looks significantly ahead of the Cowboys right now. The Eagles have almost $20 million to play with and that is after resigning three key pieces to their already above average offense, while the Giants are under the cap by the same amount the Cowboys are over.
So how did we get here? What does this mean for this year and years beyond and most importantly, how do we fix it? Let’s examine each of these questions and try to find a solution to the problem…
How did we get here?
Two items are the main culprits in causing the Cowboys such salary cap strife. The first issue was the previous collective bargaining agreement and how the Joneses decided to address it. The final year (2010) was an “uncapped” year which provided teams to spend as much as they wanted to for one year before the new CBA set a new cap. Most teams did not take advantage of this, but the two teams who did were strangely penalized by their league brethren. Washington got hit the hardest, penalized $36 million while Dallas was assessed a $10 million slap in the pocketbook. Both teams were allowed to spread the penalty over two years, but how they dealt with it is almost as vast as the difference between Redskins and Cowboys. Washington took the Top Ramen approach and tightened up the budget, hence their financial windfall next week. Dallas, on the other hand, decided to go with the Wimpy approach and gladly paid for a hamburger Tuesday for one today. The problem is that Tuesday keeps coming and coming and that burger never tasted as good as it looked.