About the only thing I can remember being less clearly written than the salary cap rules is the federal tax code. So let me say right up front that I could be wrong about this. But I think I found a section of the CBA that allows teams to carry over unused salary cap room from one season to the next if they choose to do so.
So if that's true, how come we've never read about it in the press or heard the talking heads on ESPN mention it? That's a fair and good question that I could only speculate about. But nonetheless, I'll show you what the relevant parts of the 2011 CBA actually say about the matter - - you can form your own conclusions about whether I've interpreted them correctly.
Like many legal documents, the 2011 CBA starts by defining some of the terms it uses. Here are a few you need to know:
From the Article 1 definitions at pages 1-4 of the CBA:
"League Year" means the period from March [_] of one year through and including March [_] of the following year, or such other one year period to which the NFL and NFLPA may agree.
* * * * * * *
"Room" means the extent to which a Team's then-current Team Salary is less than the Salary Cap (as described in Article 13), and/or the extent to which a Team's Rookie Salary is less than the Year-One Rookie Allocation (as described in Article 7).
* * * * * * *
"Team Salary" means the Team's aggregate salary for Salary Cap purposes, as caluclated in accordance with the rules set forth in Article 13.
* * * * * * *
"Salary Cap" means the absolute maximum amount of Salary that each Club may pay or be obligated to pay or provide to Players or Player Affiliates, or may pay or be obligated to pay to third parties at the request of and for the benefit of Players or Player Affiliates, at any time during a League Year, in accordance with the rules set forth in Article 13.
So now you have skip ahead to Article 13, entitled "Salary Cap Accounting Rules," which starts at page 90 of the CBA. Article 13 contains 8 subsections and runs on for about 20 pages. But buried in subsection 6 (entitled "Valuation of Player Contracts"), you find this little gem at page 96:
(v) Carrying Over Room. A Club may "carry over" Room from one League Year to the following League Year by submitting notice in writing signed by the owner to the NFL no later than fourteen (14) days prior to the start of the next League Year indicating the maximum amount of Room that the Club wishes to carry over. The NFL shall promptly provide a copy of any such notice to the NFLPA. The amount of Room carried over will be adjusted downward based on the final Room available after the year-end reconciliation.
That sure sounds to me like any team that is under the salary cap for the current 2011 League Year can simply give written notice to the NFL that it wants to add any unused 2011 Salary Cap to its maximum allowable Salary Cap for 2012. I keep reading that the Bills are considerably under the 2011 Salary Cap. If the Bills continue to follow an internal policy of counting signing bonuses in full in the year actually paid, they will ALWAYS have unused salary cap room every single year.
My question - - Will Ralph Wilson bother to send a written notice to the NFL next month asking to have the Bills unused cap room "carried over," or will he squander the opportunity to gain that competitive advantage?
If you want to win the Super Bowl, why wouldn't you simply always tell the NFL that you wanted to "carry over" unused cap room rather than losing it? If I've interpreted the CBA correctly, somebody in the media ought to ask Wilson/Littmann/Nix/Overdorf if they plan to "carry over" this year's unused salary cap room, and if not, why not.
Has anybody even heard of this "carry over" provision before?
Edited by ICanSleepWhenI'mDead, 21 January 2012 - 01:57 AM.