ESPN.com's Field Yates cited sources as saying that the NFL's salary cap for the '18 season "has been set" at $177.2M per team, up from $167M last year. This is the "fifth straight year the salary cap has increased" by at least $10M. But the 6.11% increase is the "smallest percent increase for the cap from year to year" since a 1.99% jump in '13. The cap increase "could have been higher," but a new $1.5M per-team "veteran performance bonus pool was added" (ESPN.com, 3/6).
TIME TO GET IT RIGHT: SI.com's Ben Golliver wrote the NBA by sticking to its West vs. East playoff format has "often short-circuited the ideal Finals matchup." Before the league gets "sidetracked with end-of-season play-in tournaments or other convoluted anti-tanking measures," it needs to "address this central flaw." To NBA Commissioner Adam Silver’s credit, he last month during All-Star Weekend "publicly acknowledged the issue." The scope of the current format’s shortcomings "shouldn’t be understated given that the fix is so simple, at least on paper." Tradition, as Silver has "stated publicly, isn’t a good enough answer," and travel concerns "shouldn’t be either" (SI.com, 3/7).
READY FOR A REVAMP? FORBES' Dave Caldwell noted NASCAR last year added stage racing in order to "spice up the middle of races, which was certainly a good intention, but reaction from fans has been mixed, maybe even more negative than positive." The "worst part" of the format is that a "caution period follows each stage, which bunches the field back up, and they start all over again." Kevin Harvick "dominated" Sunday's race in Las Vegas, leading 214 of 267 laps, "comfortably winning both stages and the overall race." But Harvick’s job on Sunday was "much harder than it had to be, or should have been." From an entertainment standpoint, it "might be time to drop the curtain on stage racing" (FORBES.com, 3/5).