The competitive balance in the NFL is maintained in several ways. The salary cap (& floor), draft, and revenue sharing program all help uncompetitive teams make dramatic turnarounds into contending teams. The negotiations for a new Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) are likely going to drag on leading to an uncapped 2010 season. Kevin detailed what the implications of that mean to the NFL and especially the Bears.
Avoiding much mainstream attention is this story from the National Post in which the NFL:
will cut a $100 million annual supplemental revenue-sharing program that subsidizes lower-revenue teams.
That plan, which is a small portion of the $6.5 billion shared in full by all 32 teams, will be cut because the 2010 season will not have a salary cap.
What is the supplemental revenue-sharing program?
The program the league plans to terminate involves the top 15 revenue teams placing funds into a pool from which many of the lower income clubs can draw. It does not include television monies or box office revenues.
Nine franchises qualified to receive funds this year, although the league has not identified them.
I wonder who is in the top 15 in revenues, and has contributed to the fund?
Forbes link here on team valuations, sorted by revenues. So the Bears were 8th in 2008 in overall revenue at 241 million dollars. The Redskins were at the top earning 345 million, while the Lions were low man earning just 208 million. The Bears also ranked 8th in Operating Income (PROFIT!) at 41.6 million. The Redskins once again easily beat the field with operating income of 90.3 million. I wonder why they throw money at free agents every season? Easy answer: because they can.
This supplemental revenue-sharing took money from the top 15 revenue earners, which the Bears are always a part. It allows lower earners to draw from that pool of money to, in theory, spend money on players.
Supplemental revenue sharing was a key demand of the NFL Players Association in the 2006 Collective Bargaining Agreement to help the lower-earning teams keep paying both up to the theoretical salary floor (and cap) and keep signing and paying players in free agency and the draft.
With this program terminated, the bottom revenue teams might sit this free agency period out, or at least scale back their spending. The top 15 earning teams will have extra cash to throw around. No excuses for the Bears. Either buy some players, or buy-off your current coaches so we can get some new ones.