Dan Graziano from ESPN's NFC East blog is one of many sources to pick up rumors that a soft cap may be in the works in the CBA:
Multiple reports have surfaced today that the new deal will protect veteran players from being "cap casualties" the way they have been in past years -- that there will be some procedure in place that allows for a "soft" cap, at least in the early years of the deal, and allows teams to keep veterans who might otherwise have to be cut to help the team get under the cap.
This of course could potentially be good news for teams that are currently projected to be over the cap - and have the financial wherewithal to make use of such a provision. It also reveals an interesting twist in the still unresolved revenue sharing dilemma between the big market and small market teams: the hard (and increased) salary floor is forcing the conservative spenders to up the ante, while the big boys get a little more breathing room from the constrictions of a rigid salary cap.
Graziano was quick to dub this the "Jerry Jones Rule", and I believe he's not far off the mark. Two years ago, Jerry Jones was fined at least $100,000 by the league for violating a gag order on labor issues during a visit to Minneapolis in support of the Viking's quest for a new stadium when he said that revenue sharing is "on its way out."
Lance Zierlein of The Houston Chronicle reported earlier today that the salary cap in the new CBA may look very different from what it looked like in the previous CBA.
I’ve learned from people close to the negotiations that we may not see the massive cap casualties that we’ve expected. In fact, there may not be any penalties for teams who are over the $120 million dollar threshold. What that would allow teams to do is hang onto veterans, if they so choose, without penalty. What was less clear to me was whether or not we’ll actually even see a salary cap. It is my understanding that for the first few years of this deal, the "cap" on spending could be soft or even non-existant [sic].
Details of what all of this means are still murky, but if the high priced veterans like Marion Barber, Terence Newman, Leonard Davis and perhaps even Roy Williams won't count against the cap, not only would they be unlikely to be released immediately, it also opens up all sorts of possibilities for re-signing our own free agents and acquiring a free agent or two from outside. Or three or four.