SBD/6/Leagues Governing Bodies

WHEN IS A CAP NOT A CAP? NFL'S SALARY STRUCTURE EXAMINED

     The legitimacy of the NFL's salary cap is examined by the
BOSTON GLOBE's Will McDonough.  The league does have a cap, "but,
in reality, in name only."  Bills Owner Ralph Wilson said the cap
"is becoming a joke, and it's the owners fault.  No one else's.
Don't blame the players.  Don't blame the agents.  Blame us.
We're the ones ruining the system."  McDonough writes that teams
are sitting down with agents and working out ways to beat the cap
through loopholes.  Last year, the cap was put at $34.6M per
team, but the NFLPA reports an average payroll of $39M per club.
According to NFLPA "accounting, 17 teams were over the cap in
1994."   McDonough notes two problems that could occur from teams
subverting the cap:  Smaller-market clubs won't have the
financial resources to compete with teams with great stadium
deals, and possible "outrageous deals" when the current CBA
expires in '99.  A complete list of team payrolls is listed for
1994, according to the NFLPA.  In addition to these totals, each
team had to pay $4.4M in player benefits (BOSTON GLOBE, 3/5):
Redskins
$42,885
Chargers
$35,951
Vikings
$34,046
Cardinals
$42,257
Packers
$35,853
Rams
$33,774
Seahawks
$40,815
49ers
$35,386
Dolphins
$32,877
Patriots
$38,856
Jets
$35,303
Broncos
$31,397
Lions
$38,543
Falcons
$35,219
Cowboys
$31,389
Colts
$38,406
Browns
$35,056
Bengals
$31,194
Chiefs
$38,180
Eagles
$34,788
Steelers
$31,105
Saints
$37,363
Giants
$34,416
Bucs
$31,104
Oilers
$37,103
Bears
$34,363
Raiders
$37,004
Bills
$34,29

THE MAN FROM TROY: Cowboys QB Troy Aikman, growing upset about the loss of some teammates to free agency, said the salary cap is the reason why the team isn't staying together. Aikman said Cowboys Owner Jerry Jones "is doing everything he can to keep this going. ... Jerry would have kept the players that gave us the best shot at winning, if it wasn't for the cap." Aikman also "took a poke" at the NFLPA, "saying most players are probably making the same salaries they would be making under a non-cap system" (Mike Fisher, FORT WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM, 3/6). RUN THAT AGAIN: NFL owners will consider two versions of the instant replay system at their winter meetings in March. One idea is to use the same system that was rejected in '92, but only in the playoffs. The other proposal is an adaptation of the USFL rules, with each team having three "challenges for each half" (Gordon Forbes, USA TODAY, 3/6).
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