NFL Fears More Holdouts on the Way as Salary Cap Rises

Salary cap rise causing unrest

salary capNFL executives are reportedly worried that players who negotiated their contracts during the salary cap’s slow annual rise from 2011 to 2013 will soon feel their teams owe them larger contracts, due to the fact that the threshold has been surging the last two years.

With the holdout of the Seattle Seahawks’ Kam Chancellor heading into the third week of the NFL season, it is certainly possible that some players are already considering their plans for next season.

Many players could soon decide they deserve larger contracts 

A player’s value is often directly linked to the salary cap, meaning that those individuals who composed large percentages of their teams’ caps from 2011 to 2013 are currently, or will soon, make up much smaller portions of those caps. With their values, in respect to the salary cap, diminishing substantially by the year, these individuals will likely want to renegotiate in an effort to earn the larger salaries now available to them. This is why, as NBC Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio reported, NFL executives are concerned about the prospects of their stars holding out for bigger contracts in the coming years.

The salary cap has shot up by $10 million each of the last two years, and with the larger chunk of change available to split, some players are all but certain to decide that they deserve bigger shares. Chancellor’s holdout – the strong safety received a contract extension in 2013 – could play an important role in players’ thinking in the coming seasons, according to Florio’s report.

He explained that the NFL may press the Seahawks to hold their ground in the standoff with Chancellor. If the team gives in and offers him a new, larger contract, other players in the league may get the idea that their own holdout attempts can be similarly successful if they are willing to stretch them deep enough into the season.

Negotiating a contract that rises with the cap

One possible solution according to Florio, is to begin negotiating contracts that are flexible and anticipate how the salary cap will rise. Through key pieces such as bonuses, agents and players can ensure that contracts remain at a set percent of the cap each year, even as it grows.

If you feel your contract makes up a relatively small portion of your team’s salary cap, and think the time to renegotiate is coming, speak with an agent who knows sports law to help you determine a way to develop an agreement that pays you what you’re worth.

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Anthony R. Caruso is a business transactional attorney in New York and New Jersey with experience in structuring, negotiation and completion of legal deals involving business, entrepreneurs, athletes and performers.

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