I send you into your weekend with a link to John Clayton's latest, in which he examines the ways in which the proposed "salary floor" in the next collective bargaining agreement would affect certain teams. In case you missed it, one of the concessions players are seeking (and owners are considering) is a requirement that teams spend close to 100 percent of their salary cap budget. If this happens, John says, the Redskins and Eagles would be among the teams most likely to benefit, while the Cowboys would be one of the teams hurt the most.
John ranks the Redskins first on his list of teams that could benefit the most:
Snyder and Mike Shanahan will have to be creative in how they structure contracts, because the $120 million cap would give them only around $10 million of cap room. On the positive side, the Redskins' current payroll is $75.7 million, meaning Snyder would have to spend close to $45 million in cash to meet the potential minimum floor requirements. Imagine a system that forces Snyder to spend.
With increased freedom to spend, Washington might be able to get the defensive line help it needs as it transitions into its second year of a 3-4 defense, as well as a cornerback and/or a wide receiver. The question, of course, is how much the rebuilding Redskins want to commit to long-term deals for veterans when they have young guys at certain positions at whom they want to take a look.
The Eagles rank fifth on John's list of teams that could benefit the most under the suggested new rules:
They have $13 million of cap room, and their payroll is a modest $95 million. They could try to bring in defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth, wide receiver Plaxico Burress and maybe running back Reggie Bush if the price were right. They would have enough cap flexibility to even go for Nnamdi Asomugha or a top cornerback, if they like.
We've seen many reports about how aggressive the Eagles plan to be in free agency. They'll be one of the most closely watched teams once it finally does open. You do start to wonder, though, how much of this is smokescreen by an organization that likes to be unpredictable and how many of these big names are realistic for them. I still think Shanahan would trade Haynesworth to an AFC team for a pair of socks before he'd release him and let the Eagles get a crack at him.
As for the Cowboys, they rank fourth on John's list of teams that could be hurt the most by the new salary cap rules:
Owner Jerry Jones made sure his team wouldn't be ripped apart during tough labor times. He's always aggressive in re-signing his top players. But the Cowboys are currently a minimum of $18.9 million over the salary cap, which could spell doom for right tackle Marc Colombo, wide receiver Roy Williams and others. Jones also has to come up with some room to re-sign left tackle Doug Free and others.
That last is because Free would be an unrestricted free agent, rather than a restricted one, under the proposed new deal. Considering the Cowboys' needs in the defensive secondary and the work they still may do on the offensive line, the first story of their free agency period could be which players have to go in order to make room.
Enjoy the weekend, everybody.