Uncap This

NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith at the

while the Cowboys would like to sign him to a long-term deal, and Sensabaugh certainly wants one, having said at the end of the season he basically is done playing on one-year deals, the Cowboys are playing by the rules in place. So if no long-term deal is knocked out - and why would the Cowboys do that not knowing the rules they might be playing by either come this summer or next year? - here is another guy losing millions. 

And that brings us to Spears, one of two Cowboys' first-round picks in 2005. He just had his best season, and right on time to become an unrestricted free agent after playing out his initial five-year deal. 

But he too is restricted, and because the Cowboys could, they tendered him at original draft choice compensation, normally what happens to some reserve guy selected in like the fifth round or something, just as they did Pat McQuistan (seventh-rounder). Even though Spears is a former first-rounder (original draft round), his compensation becomes the second-lowest tender for a player with five accrued seasons, $1.226 million. 

That certainly is more than Spear's 2009 base salary of $735,000, but half as much as a first-round tender would cost you, $2.621 million, and again, stripped of a hefty signing bonus that went with his first NFL contract. While I'm not all that good at math, that's like more than an 18-percent rollback for this 16-game starter. 

That's just these guys. Remember, while the Cowboys tendered 11 restricted free agents, had this been a capped year, all but Junior Siavi would have been unrestricted, either forcing the Cowboys to sign them to deals prior to 11:01 p.m. March 4 or allow those 10 guys to become unrestricted free agents, able to play the market for the best contract. 

Around the league, there are 212 guys restricted today who would have been unrestricted in a capped year. And my guess is, while teams can issue offer sheets to all these guys, they certainly will not be offering the premium they would have if not also required to forfeit draft-choice compensation for their rights, too. 

Wonder what all these guys think of the NFLPA today, especially since the NFL vigorously disputes the NFLPA's contention, stating, "Those numbers that Mr. Smith used at his Super Bowl press conference are inaccurate. No current player needs to take a pay-cut as a result of our proposal." 

Oh, but wait, there were other poison pills in the CBA to detract from entering an uncapped year. Here are some items the NFL owners don't have to fund for the players during an uncapped year: 

Second-career savings plans (401K); annuity programs; health reimbursement accounts; severance pay; performance-based pay; and the tuition-assistance plan. 

Oh wait, there is another thing: While there has been a salary cap in place since the 1994 season, the CBA also capped the minimum a team could spend on salaries for any one season. Last year the minimum was $102 million. This year? Some team struggling financially might say, hmmm, we can only spend $80 million on salaries, and you know what, so be it. 

Is there a point of diminishing returns? 

So Smith can parade all the retired players he wants on stage for his press conference, as he did, but those guys have nothing to lose, including their pension plans the NFL promised to continue funding in an uncapped year. They aren't sacrificing salary for this cause, if you can call this a cause when we are dealing in millions of dollars. 

Wonder how many unemployed people in this down economy out there wish they had a union to stick up for their "cause?" They're nothing but private dancers at this time. 

Sure, yep, the Julius Peppers's, Kyle Vanden Bosches and Chester Taylors did all right by themselves, signing on the first day of free agency. But they all were unrestricted, although you have to ask, did teams sign them to more conservative deals since they have no idea what the future salary rules will be? And will that be a deterrent to future big-salaried signings? 

Uncapped? Woo-hoo? 

Has more the feeling of a sledgehammer year. Boo-hoo. 

Go ask a guy like Marcus.       

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