[WRITER'S NOTE] This article has been revised to include new discussion points[/NOTE]
According to a couple tweets from NFL Network's Albert Breer, the NFLPA has released the details of the soft cap, or as we dubbed it 'The Jerry Jones Rule', to agents of NFL players. The original cap number was a little over $120 million per club. The soft cap has been rumored to be up and down the spectrum. Some even opined that it would allow teams to ignore the cap with no penalty for the first few years of the CBA.
-- The salary cap is set to $120.375 million per club
-- Teams have an additional $3 million to spend on veterans with five or more years of service
-- Teams can only allocate a maximum of $1 million per player to the 'soft cap'
In the end, the extra $3 million is another way that the league and the NFLPA concocted to steer money away from the younger players over to the vets. Yes, they could have just made the cap $123 million and be done with it, but this mechanism should be key in more than a few negotiations when talking about cap space. As this is really the only publicly released news on the soft cap, it doesn't seem to be much of a big deal. There's a theory or two working the room as to the true nature of Jerry Jones' statement the club can sign anyone they want.
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Scheffter's Tweet Beat:
Agents received an email from NFLPA today, clarifying how the $120.375 million cap is a "soft cap". Each club can spend an extra $3 million.
... That $3 million must be spent on players with five or more years of service, and no more than $1 million can be used on one player.
The $3 million in exemptions to help older players stick w/teams, much like a veteran making the min is counted on cap at rookie min figure.
The real fun of the soft cap conversation came to my attention via a BTB Fan Post. Lee Ford has information from the NFLPA that seems to claim teams can release veterans and not have their previously earned signing bonuses count against either the 2011 or the 2012 caps. That claim is celebrated by many, as he was able to work out $30 million of cap space due to yesterday's cuts. As the dissenters commented, if this were true, it would be amazing that no major news companies are reporting this to be the case. The info has Dallas saving over $22 million from yesterday's releases, and that's before restructuring any deals.
I'm nowhere near a salary cap expert, and this craziness is making my head spin with possibilities. Here's hoping one of the two sides just releases a statement to make it easy on all of us and end the guessing games.