The NFL is ruthless at this time of year, especially for veterans who make a lot of money.
When the current Collective Bargaining Agreement between players and owners of the NFL was agreed upon after a holdout before the 2011 season, veterans and the NFLPA made it a point of emphasis to make sure veterans got their due when they hit free agency. This was assured by setting a cap on the amount of money a team could spend on newly drafted rookies.
This was a necessary measure as veterans were getting less money in free agency because team’s salary caps were inflated by the high number that rookies were commanding on their contracts. It was a classic “rob Peter to pay Paul” situation.
Not only that, but the No. 1 overall pick in the NFL Draft had become a burden instead of an asset. Teams who owned the top pick often tried to trade out of the spot to avoid paying kids who had never played a down in the NFL huge contracts lined with unheralded amounts of guaranteed money, like the huge six-year, $78 million deal with $50 million guaranteed that the St. Louis Rams gave to Sam Bradford in 2010.
While this seemed like a huge step in the right direction — and it was — the NFL front offices found a loophole in CBA, or merely took advantage of the newly cheapened labor coming into the NFL through the draft, depending on how you look at it.
Since the new CBA was established, the word “cap casualty” has become a household term. Those veterans who got paid in free agency due to the newly cheapened labor in the NFL Draft also become expendable for the same reason.
Why carry a player who costs you $5 million against the cap for one year when you can bring in a rookie to do the job and have the same price tag over the span of five years?
This is why we are seeing big name players being cut at a rapid rate this offseason. It doesn’t help that the 2014 NFL Draft class is considered one of the deepest in years.
With all the veterans being cut in the past few weeks, I have been inspired, with a little help from the Sun-Sentinel’s Omar Kelly, to create an “NFL All-Cut” team.