As most of you know, I'm an avid follower of sports writer Vic Ketchman. Anyways, the last couple of days he's been toying with the idea of implementing a "quarterback cap," as he thinks the current salary cap idea has outlived its usefulness.
Julio from Riverside, CA:
I was thinking about the revenue-sharing issue. Would it not make sense to simply not tie in the salary cap to league revenue? Maybe tie the salary cap to the average of, say, the bottom four teams in terms of revenue?
Vic: Yeah, the players would agree to that. Julio, the salary cap is derived by taking the total revenue of the league and dividing it by 32. The resulting figure is each team’s salary cap for that season. Removing the top 28 teams from the equation would not be acceptable to the players. Honestly, I’m beginning to think the salary cap concept has outlived its usefulness. I know, I know, without it football will become baseball, right? I don’t believe that. Football careers aren’t nearly as long as those of baseball players. Barry Bonds was a rookie with the Pirates in 1986. Football players are much more replaceable than baseball players. Other than for the quarterback, it’s tough to even get return value for a player. The Seahawks couldn’t get a third-round pick for Shaun Alexander. Draft picks have always been more valuable than players. If you had a system that restricted or governed to some degree the movement of quarterbacks, I have no doubt the league could maintain parity with a wide-open approach to all of the other positions. America is loaded with football talent. Signing high-priced guys is no guarantee. Free agency is the perfect example of that. In fact, I think if you let the big-market/high-revenue teams spend as much as they want, they’d literally spend themselves into parity with the low-revenue teams that operated more conscientiously and with greater aplomb. Look at the Redskins. Quarterback is the only problem spot. There just aren’t 32 good ones to go around. You can win with a bunch of stiffs, as long as Tom Brady is your quarterback. That’s where the problem is. There are only a few quarterbacks of Brady’s caliber and they almost certainly will be signed by the high-revenue teams. The idea of a Peyton Manning playing in a small market such as Indianapolis would be ridiculous; it wouldn’t happen. Solve the quarterback distribution problem and the rest is easy. Either more quarterbacks have to be developed, or teams would have to find a way to devalue the position. Most people would consider this to be wild thinking, but as much as I love what the salary cap has done to level the playing field since 1993, I think it’s almost out of gas. The league doesn’t need a salary cap, it needs a quarterback cap. It’s time for the league to start thinking creatively, again.
Jon from Belle Chasse, LA:
“You can win with a bunch of stiffs, as long as Tom Brady is your quarterback.” Surely you jest. So the few big-money teams aren't going to buy the best left tackles, receivers, running backs, pass-rushers, linebackers and defensive backs that money can buy?
Vic: Those positions can be fortified rather quickly. Look at Brady’s wide receivers. They’re garbage. Where is there a correlation between spending in free agency and winning? Washington and Cleveland spent like drunken sportswriters last season. Their combined record was 9-23. The best teams don’t have the best free agents. The best teams have the best quarterbacks. Parity can be maintained by merely controlling the movement and distribution of quarterbacks. The league is spending way too much on the other positions. That’s why I think the salary cap concept is outdated. It was instituted to control spending. It’s failing.
What do you guys think? Good idea? Bad idea?