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ESPN - Clayton: Salary plan will help, hurt these teams


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One of the issues that helped bring the players closer to the owners in labor discussions was changing the amount of money teams must spend during a season.

In the now-expired collective bargaining agreement, teams were required to invest about 86 percent of their salary cap in cap dollars. That was called the payroll floor in the old CBA. A few teams created phony incentives that they never planned to pay just to get over the payroll floor and then pocketed the unspent money.

Hoping to get a deal, owners in the past few weeks upgraded a proposal that changed the formula. On March 11, owners were willing to set the floor at 90 percent of the salary cap in cash. Now, they are willing to make the floor close to 100 percent of the salary cap.

Thus, if the salary cap is around $120 million this year, teams would have to put close to that amount of money in cash to meet the minimum payroll requirements. Using numbers from my 2011 salary database, let's look at the teams affected the most if this system went into effect.

Overall there is more than $500 million of cap room available, and the average payroll of a team is $92 million.

Teams affected positively:

1. Washington Redskins: Owner Dan Snyder gave defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth and cornerback DeAngelo Hall around $36 million in bonus money in 2010 to free up room to be a big spender in free agency in 2011. Snyder and Mike Shanahan will have to be creative in how they structure contracts, because the $120 million cap would give them only around $10 million of cap room. On the positive side, the Redskins' current payroll is $75.7 million, meaning Snyder would have to spend close to $45 million in cash to meet the potential minimum floor requirements. Imagine a system that forces Snyder to spend.

5. Philadelphia Eagles: Among last year's playoff teams, the Eagles may have one of the best chances to upgrade their roster and bring in stars. They have $13 million of cap room, and their payroll is a modest $95 million. They could try to bring in defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth, wide receiver Plaxico Burress and maybe running back Reggie Bush if the price were right. They would have enough cap flexibility to even go for Nnamdi Asomugha or a top cornerback, if they like.

Teams affected negatively:

4. Dallas Cowboys: Owner Jerry Jones made sure his team wouldn't be ripped apart during tough labor times. He's always aggressive in re-signing his top players. But the Cowboys are currently a minimum of $18.9 million over the salary cap, which could spell doom for right tackle Marc Colombo, wide receiver Roy Williams and others. Jones also has to come up with some room to re-sign left tackle Doug Free and others.

click on the link for the other teams

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