The NFL Salary Cap Problem

The NFL Salary Cap Problem

The new wave of contracts could be an indication of trouble down the road
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Within the span of just over a month, the NFL has had three players become the highest paid ever at their respective positions with Fletcher Cox, Andrew Luck, and Von Miller already signing on record breaking deals this summer. Muhammad Wilkerson’s surprise extension this past Friday, making him the third highest paid defensive player ever, almost seems like an afterthought in the midst of this precedent setting chaos. After his breakout 2015 campaign, Josh Norman even set contractual records earlier this spring. Heck, there was even a brief time period earlier this year when Joe Flacco became the richest man in NFL history, but no one seems to remember that.

Of course, this is what has come to be expected. After all, just a year ago Ndamukong Suh had just inked a blockbuster deal with the Dolphins to make him the highest paid non quarterback ever. AJ Green, Darrelle Revis, Trent Williams, and Luke Kuechly all signed precedent setting contracts to make themselves the richest players ever to play their positions. Even in 2014, we were all talking about Aaron Rodgers new deal to become the highest paid player in league history at $22 million annually. Now, that figure is used as a bargaining tool for the next generation of superstars under center.

The fact of the matter is that whenever a top tier player is up for a new contract, they will inevitably become one of, if not the, highest paid player ever at their position. This particularly holds true at the premium positions: quarterback, receiver, left tackle, pass rusher, and cornerback. The reasoning for this is simple: in a massively popular sport, the salary cap is growing at an unprecedented rate.

The salary cap has exploded with each passing year. Since 2005, the salary cap has nearly doubled from $85.5 million to $155.3 million for the 2016 season. The last four years in particular this growth has been more pronounced. The cap was set at $123 million in 2013, $133 million in 2014, $143 million in 2015, all the way to the current number of $155.3 million. That’s over 25% growth over just four years, with an average annual increase of over $10 million per year. That, for reference, is the difference between adding an additional star player to their rosters.

Because of this extra money teams have to spend, the market for each position tends to reset itself on an almost annual basis. For example, let’s take a look at how inflated quarterback contracts have become in recent years. In 2012, just before the start of the recent cap growth, Drew Brees was the highest paid quarterback in the league after winning his Super Bowl with an annual salary of $20 million per year. Save for Peyton Manning, no other player even sniffed that $20 million figure. Then, Joe Flacco won a ring of his own and signed an extension to make all others before it look silly. Aaron Rodgers did the same. Fast forward to this summer and Andrew Luck is earning nearly $25 million per year and eleven quarterbacks are making more than Brees’ in terms of average salary on a now outdated deal.

Not only did this change affect the top of the market, but also the misty middle market of quarterback purgatory. In 2012, the second tier of quarterback contracts sat at an average of around $10 million per year, with players the likes of Alex Smith, Jay Cutler, Matt Ryan, Matt Cassell(remember when he wasn’t a joke?), and Tony Romo all in that ballpark. Those days are gone. Today, unproven commodities like Brock Osweiler, Sam Bradford, and Kirk Cousins are making almost double that.

The beefed up cap isn’t just affecting contracts among signal callers. With the exceptions of outlier deals signed by dominant players like Calvin Johnson and Adrian Peterson, the value at almost every position has been skewed dramatically in the past five years. The $11.5 million annually that would have once gotten you peak period Darrelle Revis at cornerback is now worth just a quality starter in Jimmy Smith. The $10 million that would once fetch Ravens Lynchpin Terrell Suggs will only get you Mike Daniels.

The reality of the situation is that as long as the cap continues to grow, any new deal will be made redundant within a few years. This begins to beg some uncomfortable questions that could determine the trajectory of franchises over the next decade.

If the market continues to reset itself at this pace, do star players have any incentive to sign contracts longer than three or four years? Sure, some players would enjoy the security of a longer deal, namely running backs, but high-end talents are now potentially shortchanging themselves on millions of dollars when the market for a player of their caliber resets so quickly.

With this in mind, is there any reason for teams to wait to lock up their core talent? Sure, teams usually enjoy using the duration of a player's contract to assess their contributions, but is that worth the millions of dollars it could cost them when the next big name player signs a benchmark setting deal? I’m sure the Eagles are kicking themselves that they didn’t get the Fletcher Cox deal done a year ago.

Can team's plan on the cap to continue to grow at this rate? When planning the salary cap over multiple years, do teams have the luxury of knowing they’ll have extra room to work with a year or two down the road?

Of course all of these questions will be answered in due time...
Cover Image Credit: Philly Sports 247

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I'd Rather Be Single Than Settle – Here Is Why Being Picky Is Okay

They're on their best behavior when you're dating.
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Dating nowadays described in one word: annoying.

What's even more annoying? when people tell you that you're being too "picky" when it comes to dating. Yes, from an outside perspective sometimes that's exactly what it looks like; however, when looking at it from my perspective it all makes sense.

I've heard it all:

"He was cute, why didn't you like him?"

"You didn't even give him a chance!"

"You pay too much attention to the little things!"

What people don't understand is that it's OKAY to be picky when it comes to guys. For some reason, girls in college freak out and think they're supposed to have a boyfriend by now, be engaged by the time they graduate, etc. It's all a little ridiculous.

However, I refuse to put myself on a time table such as this due to the fact that these girls who feel this way are left with no choice but to overlook the things in guys that they shouldn't be overlooking, they're settling and this is something that I refuse to do.

So this leaves the big question: What am I waiting for?

Well, I'm waiting for a guy who...

1. Wants to know my friends.

Blessed doesn't even begin to describe how lucky I am to have the friends that I do.

I want a guy who can hang out with my friends. If a guy makes an effort to impress your friends then that says a lot about him and how he feels about you. This not only shows that he cares about you but he cares about the people in your life as well.

Someone should be happy to see you happy and your friends contribute to that happiness, therefore, they should be nothing more than supportive and caring towards you and your friendships.

2. Actually, cares to get to know me.

Although this is a very broad statement, this is the most important one. A guy should want to know all about you. He should want to know your favorite movie, favorite ice cream flavor, favorite Netflix series, etc. Often, (the guys I get stuck on dates with) love to talk about themselves: they would rather tell you about what workout they did yesterday, what their job is, and what they like to do rather than get to know you.

This is something easy to spot on the first date, so although they may be "cute," you should probably drop them if you leave your date and can recite everything about their life since the day they were born, yet they didn't catch what your last name was.

3. How they talk about other women.

It does not matter who they're talking about, if they call their ex-girlfriend crazy we all know she probably isn't and if she is it's probably their fault.

If they talk bad about their mom, let's be honest, if they're disrespecting their mother they're not going to respect you either. If they mention a girl's physical appearances when describing them. For example, "yeah, I think our waitress is that blonde chick with the big boobs"

Well if that doesn't hint they're a complete f* boy then I don't know what else to tell you. And most importantly calling other women "bitches" that's just disrespectful.

Needless to say, if his conversations are similar to ones you'd hear in a frat house, ditch him.

4. Phone etiquette.

If he can't put his phone down long enough to take you to dinner then he doesn't deserve for you to be sitting across from him.

If a guy is serious about you he's going to give you his undivided attention and he's going to do whatever it takes to impress you and checking Snapchat on a date is not impressive. Also, notice if his phone is facedown, then there's most likely a reason for it.

He doesn't trust who or what could pop up on there and he clearly doesn't want you seeing. Although I'm not particularly interested in what's popping up on their phones, putting them face down says more about the guy than you think it does.

To reiterate, it's okay to be picky ladies, you're young, there's no rush.

Remember these tips next time you're on a date or seeing someone, and keep in mind: they're on their best behavior when you're dating. Then ask yourself, what will they be like when they're comfortable? Years down the road? Is this what I really want? If you ask yourself these questions you might be down the same road I have stumbled upon, being too picky.. and that's better than settling.

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Andy Ruiz Jr. May Not Look Like The Typical Boxer, But It Doesn't Make His Victory Any Less Deserved

Andy Ruiz Jr. just proved that dreams can come true.

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On June 1, boxing fans witnessed something special as Andy 'Destroyer' Ruiz Jr. defeated Anthony Joshua via TKO after going seven rounds in the ring at Madison Square Garden in New York City to become the first ever Mexican-American heavyweight champion of the world. Ruiz Jr. (33-1) was a heavy underdog (+1100) heading into the match-up with Joshua (22-1) but ultimately flipped the script to hand the British fighter his first professional loss ever. Surely the fight will go down as one of the greatest moments in sports history.

Some members of the media and fans have been quick to label the fight as a 'fluke' and 'rigged' which in the end is no surprise to me. That always happens in the sports world. Many did not believe we would get this result yet failed to remember the one rule of sports -- expect the unexpected. Over the past week, I've been coming to the defense of Ruiz Jr. in the wake of others choosing to call him a joke.

I was shocked and surprised to hear two of my favorite sports analysts, Stephen A. Smith and Shannon Sharpe, make fun of Ruiz Jr. and frame him as just a guy that looked like 'Butterbean.' When I viewed their tweets on social media it honestly made me upset. Sure, Ruiz Jr. may not have fit the mold of what a professional boxer should look like, but they simply should not have just judged a book by its cover.

Personally, I thought it was disrespectful for Smith and Sharpe to throw shade at Ruiz Jr. in the way they did. I felt like they should have done a better job of acknowledging the winner considering the result of the match. Yet choosing to bash someone because of their physical composition appeared like a low blow. The very foundation of sports allows people of all shapes, sizes, genders, races, and backgrounds to compete -- that's why most people follow them in the first place.

Smith was open behind his reasoning for his tweets in which I'd like to shed some light on. Smith was upset about how boxing time after time contains elements of corruption with fans having to wait years until promoters schedule big fights. He along with other followers of the sport were looking forward to the highly anticipated yet potential future match-up between Joshua and fellow heavyweight Deontay Wilder. Smith believes that by Ruiz Jr. beating Joshua it essentially diminished the chances of that fight ever happening with the same amount of buildup, but that still doesn't provide any excuse for mocking the new heavyweight champ.

Ruiz Jr. was there for a reason and ultimately seized the opportunity that was right in front of him -- that's not his fault for getting the job done. Just because someone doesn't look like the part doesn't mean they don't possess the same qualities and characteristics as their counterparts. The following pair of videos display the amount of talent Ruiz Jr. does have in the ring. Even fellow boxer Canelo Alvarez and former UFC lightweight/featherweight champion Conor McGregor acknowledge that and have come out to say something on their behalf.

Unfortunately, I don't expect much to change because most will stand their ground and continue to behave the same way. All I'm saying is I did not enjoy some of the top figures within sports media stereotyping Ruiz Jr. based on his looks. I would think that we would be better than that and recognize that anyone can accomplish something great in this world. It all just starts with a simple dream.

I understand and respect other people's takes on this subject, maybe I'm looking into things deeper than what they are, but it struck a chord with me and I felt the need to say something about it.

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