I thought this comment from the Friday Buzz feature at The National Football Post was interesting:
There is an uncomfortable and eerie feeling in the agent community. More players than ever have been ask to take pay cuts and the amount of unsigned quality players still on the street has agents feeling uneasy. From one veteran agent: “I’m not sure if this is just an anomaly in the market place because of a flat cap this year, or if there is some informal collusion going on amongst owners, or if this is a trend that’s here to stay. If so, it looks like the back end of the second deal is just window dressing and the chance for a third deal is dead.” We won’t really know until next year.
First, I despise the word “collusion” when it comes out of an agent’s mouth only marginally less than I do when it comes out of the mouth of a representative of the player’s union. The NFL doesn’t need any more lawsuits, particularly from the union.
Having said that, I really doubt that its justified. Teams are spending to the cap. In fact, to some extent they’re obligated to spend to the cap. As long as they’re doing that, I can’t see how there can be a complaint. If they’re spending less cash up front its almost certainly because the cap won’t be increasing to accommodate the back end of those contracts like it used to. At least not for the next year or two.
My message to the players is “welcome to the real world”. Finances are tight all over and, to a certain degree, the NFL is probably feeling it. Your cap might be flat for the next couple years but be grateful you aren’t dependent upon government funding right now.
Brian Urlacher is really going to wish he’d taken that $2 million from the Bears. Its not that I’m unsympathetic to the players’ situation. But looking back on it, no one should be surprised.