Andrew Brandt has an interesting piece on the approach that the NFL's biggest spenders - the Dallas Cowboys and Washington Redskins - are taking in this uncapped season. He says that both teams are taking more conservative approaches to their payrolls by structuring big deals with their sights on the future.
Brandt mentions that some of the smaller spenders are tens of millions below last season's salary floor:
Teams have used the lack of a spending floor to reduce player costs, pay off debt and prepare for the next system, whenever that may be. Teams like the Buccaneers, Broncos, Jaguars, Cardinals and Chiefs have used this uncapped year to reduce Cap spending - if there were a Cap -- to roughly $90 million or less. Compared to the last capped year, 2009, where the Cap spending floor was $109 million, this is striking.
But his key point is that the Cowboys and Redskins are taking bigger hits this season so spare themselves the damage once the new system is in place. The Cowboys, for instance, are taking Miles Austin the hit now:
As part of his new contract, Miles Austin will make $17 million in 2010 from the Cowboys. They have frontloaded the money from a cash and - acting as if there were one - Cap standpoint, limiting hits against future Caps.
Kudos to two teams protecting their Cap future that have not previously operated with such forethought. The uncapped year, of all things, has spurred the Cowboys and Redskins to operate more prudently in their Cap management. Who knew?