Withheld Ticket Revenue By NFL Should Result In An Even Higher 2016 Salary Cap Number


At some point during the next two weeks the salary cap number for the 2016 season will be set and released to the public. On Monday, however, a report in the Wall Street Journal stating that an arbitrator has found that NFL owners have been mischaracterizing millions in ticket revenue by creating improper exemptions, could result in another $50 million for the players and thus a possible salary cap increase of $1.5 million per team.

“They created an exemption out of a fiction and they got caught,” NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith told Matthew Futterman, who went on to report that the league called the mischaracterizations a “technical accounting issue under the CBA involving the funding of stadium construction and renovation projects.”

With Monday’s news, we could now see the 2016 NFL salary cap number come it at around $156.5 million. Heading into this week, many have speculated over the course of the last two weeks that the 2016 number would be $155 million.

Following the retirement of tight end Heath Miller on Friday and the signing of defensive lineman Roy Philon on Monday, the Pittsburgh Steelers Rule of 51 number (top 51 cap charges in addition to dead money) should be right around $146.8 million. That number, however, does not include a projected rollover of $3,000,327 in unused cap space from the 2015 season. If you were to count the number, the Steelers could be nearly $12.7 million under a $156.5 million cap number. When you factor in projected offseason roster bonuses and a projected cap credit payback charge in 2016, the Steelers would still be roughly $11 million under a $156.5 million cap number.

On Wednesday, Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert will be the first NFL team executive to meet the media at the 2016 NFL Scouting Combine and it will be interesting to see if he’s again asked about the team’s current cap situation as the team prepares for the new league year.


The Steelers are expected to announce a few contract restructures once they return from Indianapolis and those moves will result in even more cap space for 2016. The team also figure to be able to re-sign a few of their own free agents over the course of the next few weeks.

  • PittsburghSports

    Wow they found some money that didn’t fit anywhere, so it should’ve gone toward the salary cap, but instead they made up a fictional category so they could absorb it. What a bunch of scumbags.

  • vasteeler

    Such a dirty business and the players receive crumbs compared to these greedy owners

  • Carlos

    And yet cities build stadiums that are payed with tax money…

  • vasteeler

    How in the world is the NFL tax exempt????

  • Carlos

    I could understand it back in the 60’s but now it’s ridiculous

  • 58Steel

    The NFL is no longer tax exempt. The teams have always payed taxes on their revenue. It’s just been the “league office” that has been tax exempt. Yes, I know, legal b.s. at work.

  • philipag

    True – but large part of blame goes on players and their weak union. If they were nearly as strong as MLBPA they would get more AND have guaranteed contracts – it’s a joke that they don’t compared to the other sports.

  • The Chin

    Excited to maybe make some splashes (ripples) in free agency once some money has been reallocated through extensions and restructures. With that said, I’m hoping LeVeon is locked up in that mix.

  • Jefferson_St_Joe

    I heard that the found money was a confusing rebate scheme initiated by the Browns.

  • vasteeler

    That’s partially true but the owners have so much leverage at this point they could send teams full grandmother’s in helmets and still make money, the sponsors and tv are more to blame, they essentially mandate things with a whisper in the ears of owners

  • philipag

    But networks can’t make the players play. If they strike and refuse to play the networks will not pay the NFL for games with replacement players.

  • Craig M

    They are corporations and therefore qualify for loopholes in hiding income. I’ve often wondered if they depreciate a players contract for tax purposes, like a company would get a depreciation allowance for a forklift. Since they do not open the books we will never know. One player made them open some of their book keeping for the purpose of a lawsuit against the Eagles and it was found that the owner was getting a consultation fee when he said he was losing money on the team. Greed is an ugly monkey to carry on your back but a lot of people go out of their way to accommodate it.

  • Craig M

    On their reported revenues? Are they allowed exemptions for expansion purposes or putting monies aside for salary payments, like creating an account to pay deferred payments off of interest earned?

  • Craig M

    And maybe Eric Weddle of San Diego- I hope.

  • vasteeler

    I would like to agree with you but the fact that college kids compete in a billion dollar industry and receive no monetary compensation debunks that theory, Even with horrible replacement refs their revenue continued to grow

  • philipag

    I’m pretty sure that the networks put language in their contracts now regarding strike situations and replacement players – they clearly don’t want to pay top dollar for scabs.

  • vasteeler

    I highly doubt it, one thing I’ve learned is to not underestimate the power of the NFL, if the networks really had control and power they wouldn’t constantly be waging bidding wars amongst each other, they would get the matchups that they wanted when they wanted and many other things, fact of the matter is they’re just pawns of the nfl machine

  • philipag

    You may be correct. But it’s also true that the players have always caved before the point of actually inflicting pain on the owners. The baseball players killed half a season and a World Series – it would take that kind of resolve. I don’t think the NFLPA has the stomach for that.

  • 58Steel

    I won’t pretend to know all the ins and outs of that. Just that the individual teams have paid taxes on their revenues for a long time. I guess the league offices did not, and now they will.

  • vasteeler

    I think you’re right but I think that they’re afraid replacement players would take their spot, it’s no telling what’s being said by these billionaires behind closed doors, we love football so much they probably figure we’ll support whoever dons the black and gold

  • Rinell Vincent

    Yes I agree with Bell. Lock him up now at a decent number before he has a huge year stays healthy and costs much more.

  • William Weaver

    Crumbs? Perspective may be in order. Understand your argument but that is a little funny.

  • vasteeler

    Your reading comprehension is severely lacking, yes it is crumbs when COMPARED to the owners smh trolls

  • William Weaver

    Grow up, I ain’t no troll. I told you I understood your argument. Keep fighting for those poor millionaires Robin Hood. Lol