NFL teams begin to resemble government agencies, as their new union agreement requires they spend money, or lose it;
"This is the new collective bargaining agreement kicking in," said former New York Jets general manager Mike Tannenbaum, who is now an agent. "There are unintended consequences."
Those unintended consequences stem from a confluence of factors. They include a quickly rising salary cap—the league-mandated limit on what teams can spend on their roster—and a little-discussed clause in the league's 2011 collective bargaining agreement with the players association, which said teams must spend 89% of the salary cap in cash over a four-year period.
That is a far cry from the last agreement, which allowed teams to hit phony minimums by loading contracts with incentives players would never reach. (Like multiple blocked punts, a classic incentive in these deals.) The 2013 season marked the start of this four-year period in which teams had to actually spend money.
The results are staggering: Through roughly the first day and a half of free agency, which began late Tuesday, teams spent $324 million in guaranteed dollars to players. Last year at this time? $107 million. By Thursday afternoon, NFL teams gave out over $1 billion in contracts in a three-day period.Partly in expectation that advertising revenues from televised games will continue to increase as they have in the past. Wonder if any general managers have pondered that a football takes some funny bounces.