USA Today – The Oakland Raiders must dramatically increase their payroll over the next two years. The Super Bowl champion New England Patriots and eight other teams must ramp up spending as well.
The 2011 collective bargaining agreement says teams must spend 89% of the salary cap in cash over two distinct four-year periods (2013-16 and 2017-20). …
Also underspending ‘ as of Feb. 9, when the NFLPA calculated the numbers ‘ were: the Carolina Panthers (80.8%), New York Jets (81.16%), Jacksonville Jaguars (82.2%), Dallas Cowboys (82.6%), New England (82.7%), New Orleans Saints (86.2%), Washington Redskins (87%), New York Giants (87.9%) and Pittsburgh Steelers (88.3%).
Top spenders for the 2013 and ’14 league years were: the Green Bay Packers ($296.9 million, 116% of the cap), Atlanta Falcons ($279.3 million, 109.1%), Seattle Seahawks ($274.9 million, 107.4%), Chicago Bears ($271.5 million, 106%) and Denver Broncos ($269.8 million, 105.4%). …
If teams don’t meet their individual 89% thresholds (and/or the league as a whole its 95% aggregate minimum), the difference must be paid to the union, which can distribute the money at its discretion to current and former players who were on the affected rosters.
At the risk of stereotyping all we super attractive people, I’m not very good at math. And the salary cap is an unfathomable mystery to me. If Capology was a real science, I wouldn’t exactly be in the A.P. classes. I’d be characterizing myself more as “working toward my G.E.D.”
But you don’t have to be Amedeo Avogadro to read these numbers and realize what this means for the Patriots, past, present or future.
The football media in this town is lousy with people who rip the way the Patriots’ handle their salary budget and say “The cap is crap” and all that. Who act like the Pats limit what they spend on players not because it’s sound planning, but so that Mr. Kraft can sleep every night under a giant pile of gold like Smaug.
But the results speak for themselves. All the Patriots have accomplished in the last two seasons is take an injury-decimated team to the AFC championship game and win the Super Bowl against the defending champions. All while spending as much on payroll as the bottom feeders in the league. Again, I’m hesistant to do math, but according to my calculator, the other teams listed here in the Pats’ underspending neighborhood went a combined 54-73-1. And only Dallas and Carolina (a sub-.500 team) won a playoff game.
“Sure, Jer,” you’re no doubt saying “We agree that’s really impressive and you are a handsome cat. But what do we care if they saved a few bucks so long as they win?” And you’d have good points. But what this means is that the Patriots have managed themselves into a situation where they not only can spend money to keep their free agents and sign new ones, they have to.
The CBA calls for them to get up to that 89% or pay the NFLPA the difference. So there’s no incentive not to. They’ve put themselves in a position where they’re like traveling businessmen with an expense account that if they don’t spend it, it just goes back to the company. So why not order the Surf & Turf with the tenderloin and lobster tails? And while you’re at it, bring us a bottle of your most expensive wine and a box of Cubans for the trip home?
Meanwhile, their main competition in the league – your Seattles, Denvers and Green Bays – maxed out while (pick the Patriots-critic cliche’ of your choice) “loading up” and “going for it.” To continue the metaphor, those teams spent their whole per diem money and will be spending the rest of the sales conference eating out of the vending machine.
And just as a kicker, the Patriots not only won that Super Bowl while socking money away for this year, they did it with really only one of their drafted rookies, Bryan Stork, making a major contribution. So they have the equivalent of a red-shirted freshman class of guys like Dominique Easley, James White and Cameron Fleming (who to be fair did play a decent amount) ready to take the Year Two jump.
Again, I’m no mathlete. But I’m smart enough to know when good news is staring me in the face. And these numbers don’t lie.