Reality of the New CBA ...You asked for it!

Today I posted the following In regards to a disagreement between OCC and Requiem :

First, I am gathering this from a copy dated 07/23/2011 from NFLPA  reps Hunton & Williams

My legal interp. of this is that the confusion over exactly how signing bonuses count against the cap under the new CBA rules is caused by  section 5.c.1.-Acceleration of Signing/Performance Bonus's league years 2011 and 2012 (this is the two year pro-rate) also sets a soft cap for teams because in the big picture this section is actually establishing the escalator provision for all teams to reach new min. on spending of 89% of the salary cap (its the escape clause to buy Richardson's vote in Carolina). It established the new model for Front Loaded Deals - see Ware's contract.  

But the entire provision here is PREEMPTED by the General Provision clause that clearly defines the hard and soft money for the 2011 and 2012 league years (contract sigining bonus's paid out prior to the 2010 league year) are SOFT money for 2011 and 2012.. Which means the owners are getting a pass from the league on the sigining bonus's paid 2009 and prior ( Roy W.) that gives them a loophole to escape the entire problem of dead money against the cap only in 2011 and 2012.

The real teeth of the agreement starts in 2013... that is when the provisions clause closes and all teams must ante in too meet the 89% status.

If this is correct then Dallas started the day at 133.9 million in cap subtract 9.7 million in ending DEAD money that was still counted under to old CBA you get  124.2 in cap ..

cut Davis thats salary 6 million + 2.5 million in pro-rated bonus
cut Williams thats 5.1 million + 2.9 million in pro-rated bonus
cut Barber thats 4.25 million + .75 million in pro-rated bonus
cut Brown thats .925 million + .085 million in pro-rated bonus

Total cap savings for 2011 - 22.6 million

In addition, engage the pre-load provisions in Austin's and Ware's deals ( you can bet they are there) and you save an additional 8.25 million without causing yourself any pain in 2013 (its just a change in the accounting into soft money) plus you get a 3 million dollar veterans exclusion above the 120 million on the cap...think Colombo...

That leaves Dallas this afternoon with 93.1 million against a potential 123 million dollar false ceiling..

THAT IS 30 MILLION DOLLARS IN CAP ROOM..Jerry Jones wasn't kidding today when he said DALLAS could SIGN ANYONE THEY WANTED...

First, I am not a sports Attorney, I specialize in collective bargaining so my interpretation is subjective as to the final boiler plate rules of  what is ratified.

Allow me to expand the understanding for this information that I am relaying here. As we all know, the players had a conference call last Friday in which a rough explanation of the new CBA framework and General Provisions section were described by the NFLPA legal team, NOT IN PERSON, OVER THE PHONE!

Several of the Team Reps felt they did not understand the information well enough to vote on it without READING the actual Provisions and Framework the OWNERS had just voted for UNANIMOUSLY (BIG Red Flag for the Players). Several of the Team Reps asked for copies of the Framework and Provisions so that they could "read them". Proving once and for all an NFL Linebacker is smarter than your average Congressman, these Team Reps sought out Professional Legal counsel to tell them what the new CBA really said before they would vote on it. Leading us into last weekend's days of indecision.

As every one has read, there are several loose copies of CBA or its components floating around which per misstatements by sources has only added to the confusion and misunderstandings as to what exactly the CBA provisions concerning Team Salary Cap and the application of current and future dead money (pro-rated Signing/Performance bonus's).  Ask any attorney and if he is any good he will tell you the more moving parts you have in a contract the more loopholes you create.

This CBA has FOUR moving parts contained within the Revenue frame work of the deal. Each moving part is a crafted carve out of the individual interests (Players , Owners,  etc.). Most importantly is how the moving parts are assembled within the framework, this establishes what is called Preemption. Reading the context of one individual moving part only describes the part itself, it doesn't tell you where the part fits in the framework or how the machine should work with that moving part in place.  

To clarify, THERE IS NO TRUE HARD SALARY CAP during league years 2011 and 2012. The misstated section is under 5.c.1 which states " "Acceleration of Signing/Performance Bonus's, " bonuses are classified as either  " earned", which requires the amount of the bonus to count against the team's salary cap, or " unearned", which is not counted." Further in this section you find "A team's salary cap is adjusted downward for UNEARNED bonuses that were earned in the previous year but not counted against that year's cap. It is adjusted upward for EARNED bonuses that were  accrued  in the previous year and were counted against that year's cap." The Loophole is in just WHO gets to determine what is an "earned' bonus and what is an "unearned" bonus and when it was "accrued". 

2011 and 2012 are both "Transition Years" by the General Provisions of the deal. Which means 5.c.1. is NOT fully effected until LEAGUE YEAR 2013. During the Transition Years teams can "cut and play" with any bonus that is counting against their salary cap by reflexively changing its status between EARNED and UNEARNED, thereby changing Transition Years Salary Cap Dead Money into "soft money" and moving it from a direct above the line charge against the salary cap to a below the line off-set for an "earned  bonus" charged to the previous year. 

The previous League Year (2010) was an UNCAPPED year, allowing a team to move the remaining part of any Sigining/Performance Bonus from "unearned" counting against this year's salary cap to "earned" counting against last years salary cap. This applies to any contract signed and structured 2009 and earlier. The Preemption also allows teams during the Pre-2011 League Year Period  to "cut and dump dead money" from veteran contracts and roll it front to back in any number of fashions as long as the equation of the salary cap balances at the opening of League Year 2013. In this way teams are effectively able to lose all the dead money and restart the Salary Cap clock.

When all the boiler plate is finally done on this deal and ratified by the players, the context will be hashed and rehashed by the teams and we will spend the next few years sorting out who the winners and losers really are. The important thing to note is this very complex document is so much more than a labor agreement, it is a road map of how the NFL teams are going to operate for the next ten years. Everybody in this deal helped themselves at some levels, players got the money, owners got more freedom to chase either profits or championships, and the fans get football and labor peace for the foreseeable future.

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