There has been an increasing amount of groaning from local Tampa Bay Buccaneers fans and pundits about how the team was planning to comply with the leagues newly instituted salary cap floor that has been created in the latest NFL labor agreement.
Under the new NFL collective bargaining agreement, a team must spend 89% of the salary cap annually in cash or be subject to fines and potential loss of draft picks. This was a major sticking point for the players in brokering the new deal because they were being asked to take less money from the pot, so they wanted to make sure the pot was as large as possible to make up some of the difference.
The Bucs came into the 2011-2012 season with a remarkably low cap number of just $63.8 million, barely over half of the leagues new salary cap of $120.4 million. While the Bucs have made progress in the cap department by resigning Davin Joseph, Quincy Black, Jeremy Trueblood, and punter Michael Koenen, they would still have a ways to go.
The good news is that according too Mike Florio of NBC Sports' ProFootballTalk.com, the new 89% rule will not take effect until the 2013 season. Also, Florio goes on to explain that the rule actually counts cash spent, not cap space.
Remember, it’s not cap space but cash spent. So when a team like the Panthers gives defensive end Charles Johnson a $30 million signing bonus on a six-year deal, only $5 million counts against the cap — but $30 million counts against the league’s total spending requirement of $3.8 billion.
So, in the meantime the Buccaneers can continue to spend as little money as they like, and their fans can stop worrying about how Mark Dominik will make it to the floor without making a big, expensive, and probably over-priced, free-agency splash.