The NFL and NFLPA’s agreement on daily COVID-19 testing protocols to start training camp was an important first step in getting the ball rolling for a 2020 professional football season. HOWEVER, there are still important matters on the negotiating table that must be solved before the season kicks off.
Most notably, the financial side of things:
The NFLPA wants to spread the financial hit through 2030, rather than taking it now. And even a $10 million reduction in the 2020 salary cap would be “too much” at this stage, one GM said. Rosters are largely set. Many teams would be scrambling to free up money somewhere.
— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) July 23, 2020
The NFL wanting to soften the blow of the financial hit ahead of the 2020 season is sensible. Because whatever revenues were projected this season and the coming years will fall short of expectations because of the pandemic this country is still fighting. With that being said, it makes little sense for teams to try and absorb the hit in one fell swoop.
Look no further than the Chicago Bears for a reason why.
OverTheCap.com’s estimates the Bears have $9,785,156 in available cap space right now. So the NFL trimming $10 million from the 2020 cap number would put Chicago in a precarious situation. Of course, they aren’t alone. By OTC’s estimations, the Ravens, Saints, Falcons, Patriots, Raiders, Cardinals, Steelers, Rams, Buccaneers, and Chiefs all have less than $10 million in available cap space. Meanwhile, franchises like the Panthers, Vikings, Cowboys, and Packers would be cutting it close if $10 million was taken off this year’s cap. So if the NFL were to slice $10 million off the cap, we are at 15 teams — nearly half the league — potentially impacted at a high level by a drastic cut at this time of the year
I understand where the NFLPA is coming from in wanting to spread whatever losses are going to be over an extended period of time rather than taking a one-year hit. And I can see the perspective of general managers who see chaos on the horizon if this year’s cap takes a $10 million cut. But ultimately, the cap is based on projected revenues. So if revenues take a hit, the cap will take a tumble. That’s simply how the cookie crumbles. However, asking teams to make massive salary cap related decisions in late July when the season starts in September is a bit much.