When Robert Kraft was asked about Rob Gronkowski's new deal on Wednesday, he hinted at something he's hinted at before: the NFL's salary cap will grow, but slowly.
Were trying to always plan ahead for the future, do our strategic planning, Kraft told the Boston Globe. In this age of salary cap, whats going to happen in the next few years with the cap, you have to have a core group of players that you can plan around as the foundation of your team.
The NFL cap has been a point of contention between the NFL and the NFLPA. The players believe that the cap will spike in 2014, the first year of the new netowrk TV deals. Owners, Kraft chief among them, disagree.
How would a slowly-growing cap help the Patriots? It would keep Gronk's cap number relatively low later in his deal. For a player who will likely be a huge piece of New England's offense, that's a big deal.
Gronkowskis deal has salary-cap numbers of 2.66 million in 2012, 2.75 million in 2013, 5.4 million in 2014, and 8.65 million in 2015.Although Gronkowskis cap number nearly doubles in 2014, it will still remain relatively low for a player who has become such a key part of the offense, until 2015 . . .
. . . In the end, the cap will grow, or not grow, based on a variety of factors, including the ongoing ability, or inability, of teams to sell all of their tickets to games. But to the extent that any 2014 increases in broadcast revenue wont be reflected by the 2014 salary cap, Kraft is correct. The salary cap comes not from revenues in the current year, but from revenues in the prior year. So any spikes in cash flow in 2014 wont be reflected in player salaries until 2015.