Peter King of Sports Illustrated had a very interesting quote in today's Monday Morning Quarterback column.
It came from Steelers director of football operations Kevin Colbert who said that his team "will operate as if we have a salary cap. We don't know if there is a new labor deal what the rules are going to be."
King guesstimates that the salary cap would be around $132 million this year, but without an extension of the Collective Bargaining Agreement by March 5 there will be no cap in 2010. For those who think that means every team will just spend, spend, spend, there is also no salary floor. Under the CBA, there was a minimum amount of money teams had to spend on player salaries. Without a salary cap, that won't be the case. Who knows if teams will want to stash some cash in the event of a lockout in 2011?
And for Eagles fans who fear that the Dallas Cowboys will buy all the talent that's out there on the market, the Final Eight Rule - which goes into effect this off-season if there's no salary cap - limits the ability of the teams who made the Divisional Round of the playoffs to sign or trade for players.
Don't forget that the unrestricted free agent talent pool severely dries up in an uncapped year with six years needed for free agency instead of the normal four years of service.
Eagles president Joe Banner discussed what an uncapped year would mean for the Eagles in late January. He said that the biggest challenge is figuring out how a contract will be viewed a year from now assuming that there is a new CBA in place.
"It's all complicated by not knowing what the CBA is or is going to be of if there's even going to be a cap this year. The conversations are much different, much less conclusive then they would normally be at this time," Banner said. "You have to have two plans. You don't even know long range what the rules are going to be. When you sit down and figure out if you should extend somebody, OK, how is this contract going to be treated 12 months from now? We have no idea."
The Steelers say that they will conduct business as usual. With the uncertainty regarding the labor situation, it's hard to imagine that it will be business as usual throughout the league once free agency and the trading period commences on March 5.
-- Posted by Chris McPherson, 12:58 p.m., February 15