As free agency creeps closer, I wanted to clarify the Cardinals’ spot in the relatively confusing “Final Eight” plan. While it does technically prohibit those teams from getting a big-name free agent until those teams lose one first, there is a fairly significant loophole for the teams that lost in the Divisional round — the Cowboys, Chargers, Ravens and of course, the Cardinals. For those teams, they can sign as many free agents as they want as long as the first-year salary doesn’t exceed $3.7 million. UPDATE: According to the CBA, the teams that lost in the divisional round can ink one player for a first-year salary of $4.92 million, which, with the increase in money for players over the past few years, is about $5.5 million now.
Now, that hamstrings a team to a point, because there is also a rule that says the salaries can’t increase by more than 30 percent each year. So if you max out at $3.7 million, you can’t suddenly give the guy $10 million in year No. 2 to make up for it. In theory, a team could just throw more money into the signing bonus, but I am guessing — given the economic and labor climate — not many teams are going to be willing to do that.
But here is the other kicker: With the rules in place that will make many, many guys who were supposed to be unrestricted instead restricted, there aren’t going to be a whole lot of guys out there worth more than $3.7 million in salary anyway.
Tags: CBA, free agency
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