JUDGE DOTY RAISES NFL SALARY CAP BY $2 MILLION
U.S. District Judge David Doty agreed with the NFLPA's
objection to the calculations for the '96 salary cap and raised
the cap by $2M to $40.8M per team on the eve of today's opening
of the free agent season. Judge Doty set a hearing for next
Thursday to give the league a chance to argue for a reversal.
The '95 cap of $37.1M had risen to $38.77M after an independent
audit of team revenues, but the NFLPA objected citing added money
from the new expansion teams. NFL Dir of Communications Greg
Aiello: "We agree with the auditor's position." While the judge
offered both sides the option of delaying the start of free agent
signings until next week, Aiello said he expects signings to
begin today as scheduled (Larry Weismann, USA TODAY, 2/16). In
San Jose, Clark Judge notes Doty's ruling came just hours after
the 49ers had "successfully squeezed" under the $37.8M figure
through restructuring (SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, 2/16).