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Spending and the CBA: salary floor does not go into effect until 2013

I've been seeing some discussion on a possible spending floor more and more often in recent weeks, so I thought it would be useful to put up a story about it. To clear things up: there will be a team-specific spending floor, but it won't go into effect until 2013, and even then it will be limited in its effectiveness. I'll go over the specifics quickly.

There is a leaguewide spending floor of 99% of the salary cap this year, and 95% in the coming years. This floor doesn't affect the Tampa Bay Buccaneers directly, as it only governs leaguewide cash spending. Because of the way contracts are structured in the NFL, with large signing bonuses paid out in the first year of contracts, reaching this cash spending floor for the league shouldn't be a problem. The Bucs will not be forced to spend money because of this rule.

There will be a team specific spending floor of 89% of the salary cap from 2013 onward, but it will be accounted for in two four-year periods: 2013-2016 and 2017-2020. Reaching 89% of the salary floor in cash spending won't force the Bucs to drastically increase their spending, mostly because it's a fairly weak floor. Not only is 89% of the salary cap not a huge threshold, but the fact that is accounted for as an average over a four-year span makes it less effective than if it had been a per-year minimum. The Bucs can still spend well below the cap in individual years, as long as they make up for it in later seasons.

So: the Bucs will not be forced to spend money until 2013, and even then the real spending can be delayed until later seasons.