No NFL salary cap, but no spend­ing spree, ei­ther

The Pak Banker - - International3 -

NEW YORK: Un­re­stricted by a salary cap this sea­son, NFL teams re­sisted the temp­ta­tion to break the bank on player salaries.

With la­bor strife loom­ing, some even took ad­van­tage of a lesser-known as­pect of an un­capped sea­son: the elim­i­na­tion of the salary floor.

The league's av­er­age pay­roll in­creased by a mod­est 6 per­cent from last year, ac­cord­ing to num­bers pro­vided to The As­so­ci­ated Press by the NFL Play­ers As­so­ci­a­tion. That's the same amount it grew be­tween 2007 and '08 with the salary cap in ex­is­tence. Ten fran­chises have pay­rolls of more than $125 mil­lion this sea­son, up from three in 2009. Twelve are be­low $110 mil­lion, the same num­ber as last year. Nineteen of the 32 fran­chises in­creased their pay­roll from 2009 to '10.

The Washington Red­skins own the league's largest pay­roll at $145 mil­lion. Last year, that dis­tinc­tion went to the New York Giants at $138 mil­lion.

The Carolina Pan­thers bring up the rear this sea­son at just un­der $77 mil­lion. The Kansas City Chiefs were last in 2009 at $77.7 mil­lion.

The pay­roll fig­ures pro­vided to the AP dif­fer from those that would be used for salarycap pur­poses. The NFLPA's num­bers rep­re­sent the to­tal amount of money paid by teams to play­ers in each year. For salary-cap cal­cu­la­tions, sign­ing bonuses are spread out over the length of a con­tract.

Last year's salary cap was $128 mil­lion, while the floor was $111 mil­lion.

A glance at the pay­roll fig­ures re­in­forces a les­son from Ma­jor League Base­ball, whose lux­ury tax can't fully elim­i­nate the gap be­tween rich and poor: Spend­ing doesn't nec­es­sar­ily guar­an­tee suc­cess.

The Red­skins are 5-6, while the Tampa Bay Buc­ca­neers have the sec­ond­low­est pay­roll at $84.5 mil­lion and are 7-4. The 10 biggest­spend­ing clubs in­clude play­off con­tenders in the New Eng­land Pa­tri­ots, Green Bay Pack­ers, New Or­leans Saints and Bal­ti­more Ravens. But that list also fea­tures the Detroit Lions, Cleve­land Browns, Min­nesota Vik­ings, San Fran­cisco 49ers and Dal­las Cow­boys, none of which has more than four wins. -Afp

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