After the Lockout

There hasn't been of late any real reason to feel good as football fans owing to the lockout, icky, the lockout; its like a bad word to me. Well at any rate it sure reminds me of the old saying, "all's well that ends well."

As miserable as it has been waiting for any little tidbit of news concerning the end of the lockout, the most recent news updates give me reason for optimism. As miserable as it has been waiting for any little tidbit of news concerning the end of the lockout, the most recent news updates give me reason for optimism, and here's why.

According to, among others Albert Breer, most of the major issues have been worked through now, leaving more legal tedious details to be sifted through, mainly by lawyers and financial teams representing each side. Among the key components of the new CBA are some very Kansas City Chiefs friendly terms, namely; The salary cap.

According to everything I can gather, the players compromised on significantly reducing the rookie salary cap and the owners have agreed to use the excess revenue from those savings to pay deserving veteran players more money.  

Also, the NFL salary cap has been set at $120 million dollars per team, if I understand things correctly, which is down from $128 million in 2009. The new CBA also requires that all owners spend a minimum of 90% of the salary cap each season. Now, this is where things should start to get a little bit interesting for Chiefs fan.

Why? Lets take a look.

First we need to know a few facts; the figures I am going to use are based on averages, simply because depending upon which source I used, there were variances in the numbers. They were close enough that I was able to take the average difference between the figures to come up with some numbers that would represent a median of the variances. In other words, these may not be EXACTLY correct figures, so you do not need to point that out to me. Anyway, here goes.

The salary cap in 2009 was set at $128 million and it was $116 million in 2008, increasing by $7 million from 2007 to 2008.

In 2008 the Chiefs were $30 million under cap, good for 3rd in the NFL.  Again in 2009 the Chiefs were right $30 million under the salary cap. Although I've never been able to completely figured out if there was a 'true' salary cap in 2010, it's safe to assume those numbers were relatively accurate.

Now, with teams being obligated to spend 90% of the $120 million dollar salary cap that means the Chiefs, just like every other team will have to spend a minimum of $108 million dollars in salary this year. From the figures I could find, the Chiefs in 2010 apparently spent somewhere in the mid to high $80 million dollar range on salary. If that's even close to correct then we would have at least $20 million more revenue that we will HAVE to spend this year to meet the 90% minimum spending requirements for the salary cap. 

So, if you allow for some small variance in the figures, this basically means that true to form, the Chiefs should be heading into the 2011 season with about the same $20 to $30 million dollar cap space they usually end up with.

Now, this is where teams like the Chiefs have a real advantage going into the 2011 season as far as player acquisition is concerned. Lets face it, teams like Dallas and Washington are going to really struggle to stay within reason of the salary cap; they spend a fortune in payroll as it is. On the other hand owners whose team salaries are significantly lower going into the 2011 season will have more breathing room to spend money, whether they like it or not, they must spend that 90%. 

This is the perfect opportunity for the Chiefs brass to do something special; special for us and for them. Look, there are two basic ways that GM's and owners fill the seats every Sunday; you either bring in high profile guys like Chris Johnson or Larry Fitzgerald or even Joe Montana as the Chiefs did under Carl Peterson. These type players draw huge crowds of desperate fans in the hopes that this player will be the one piece to put their team into the Superbowl. That was the Carl Peterson way.

The other way is to put out a consistently great product, year after year, despite which players come or go i.e, the New England Patriots or the Pittsburgh Steelers, and even the Baltimore Ravens. There is also the Jerry Jones way, but we are never going to be in that position, so it does not apply here.

With the new CBA requirements, owners and GM's like Clark Hunt and Scott Pioli will face a unique opportunity to bring in some higher profile, higher cost players like a Larry Fitzgerald or a Sidney Rice. This will draw fans to Arrowhead and will drive up ticket sales, increasing profitability for the owners. 

This can also be the perfect chance to really upgrade the team at critical positions of need such as wide receiver and nose tackle, giving our coaches the tools they need to be great. Look, to me its a no brainer from every angle; we get some elite talent because we have to spend the money either way, we fill the seats at Arrowhead once again and the owners make money, because happy fans spend money!!

I'm excited at the possibility of seeing someone like Sydney Rice line up with Dwayne Bowe, which would give Jonathan Baldwin time to develop. With those additions, we could take a real step forward this year on offense if we target some superior talent at key positions once free agency opens up.

That means I'm allowing myself to envision the Chiefs actually pursuing some very special players this season in FA. If they do, its going to be an even more exciting season for me. I can't wait to pace the floor and scream and curse and cheer all season long. I can't wait to wake up on Sundays and start prepping the BBQ grill for the game time cookout. I can't wait to see what this season brings us.

You know, I think this new CBA may end up being just what we needed, and that is reason enough to feel good!

GO CHIEFS!

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So will Chiefs fans come back strong after the lockout?


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