Thursday, April 16, 2009

Conspiracy Theory: Green Bay Packers Salary Cap

I enjoy conspiracy theories. Did one back in November. Here's #2:

The Packers operate under a lower (self-imposed) salary cap number than the rest of the NFL.

Let's clear something up right away:

1) This isn't an excuse for going 6-10. Not at all.

2) And this isn't to compare the success/failures of Ted, Sherm and Wolf. Just looking at the financial numbers. The Benjamins, as they like to say on rap videos.

Here are the numbers from 1998-2008 pulled from various website (actual research? On CH?). And if it's on the web, it must be true. Couldn't find anything pre-1998 and didn't include this year because not sure how the rookies and coaching staff factor in. I'm pretty sure they were over the cap in 1997, but can't confirm.

The 5th column is most significant. The percent over/under the Packers cap number is compared to the NFL cap number. In seven of the eleven years, Green Bay is at least %9.6 under the cap and three times a whopping %24 under. The only years it's been over was 2001 and 2003, when The Shermanator held office. And check how they slashed payroll by $19 million after the 2001 season! You think the Packers executive board said something like: "Um, Sherm. We know you're busy being coach and GM, but can you bust out a calculator and check your cap number please?"

Of course, things have changed in Packerland the last 11 years that could effect the finances: The Lambeau Field renovations, huge NFL broadcast paydays, different GMs, local sponsors, free agency spending, free agency inactivity, high draft picks, low draft picks, etc. But one thing that's been pretty consistent is the Packers salary cap number being well below the NFL's cap.

So, what does all this mean? Could it play a factor in free agency? Is it the reason the Packers never trade up into the top 5 of the draft? Is it why they don't trade for high priced players (Julius Peppers) who are on the market? Perhaps. Is this why I always overserve myself at Packer games and lose my voice whenever Aaron Kampman gets a sack? Perhaps not.

Go Pack Go!


woziszeus said...

First of all Brad, I don't like the fact that we (you) are doing research here now. Not one bit. I prefer slyly sarcastic points loosely based on overheard statements in bars/restaurants.

Two, WTF? Good work with the numbers, but let's clear this up: Are you trying to start a rumor that the Packers (maybe because of the fact they are the only publicly owned team in pro football) aren't allowed to "spend" as much as other teams because the league has a lower cap number for them?

brad said...

No. Sorry, I should have clarified. It's a self-imposed number....sort of like how Pirates management doesn't let them spend money like, say, the Cubs do.

Just Some Guy said...

The Packers organization would love to win the Super Bowl every year. They really would.

But their first goal as an organization is survival. They have a tougher time surviving than other organizations because of the small metro area as well as the lack of a rich owner. That's why when they both 1) survive and 2) win the Super Bowl, it's just an amazing feat.

They realize that success on the football field really sets them up to survive financially. But if it's just not going to happen on the football field, like it does in some years (the entire decade of the 70s and 80s), surviving is their main goal.

Their business is to stay in business first, and to win football games second.

AP said...

You'd have to compare it around the league to call it a conspiracy, and I wouldn't ask you to do that. If you looked and saw that every other team spent 100% of its cap, and the Packers spent only 90%, you'd be on to something.

However, most teams operate under the cap. Looking at the numbers you have there, it looks like we have been about $10MM under the cap on average over the last 5 years. One month ago in the middle of March, there was a collective $488MM of unused cap room in the NFL, which is about $15MM per team on average. The Packers aren't an outlier; they are right in line with the majority of the league.

This is like how every call-in sports talk show in the state features somebody who says the Packers are "sitting on a TON of cap room" or they should "spend the money, Ted." Then you look around the league and there are like 12 teams with more cap room and 4 or 5 teams are over the cap. It's a perception/reality thing.

Matt said...

I'm sorry, I have no facts to back this up with, but based purely on speculation and conjecture on my part the Green Bay Packers organization is a cash cow right now. Much more so than most (not all, clearly) organizations. Yeah, the Cowboys and Giants and Redskins and Patriots print money too. But it's not like Green Bay is Buffalo, playing games in Toronto for cash just to survive.

Every Judy and Nancy in the state walks around with their Packers denim jacket on and their beads on during football season. They could sell out Lambeau three times a game with all the people on the season ticket waiting list.

They're doing fine. Except that their GM blows.

Anonymous said...

matt, theyre doing fine becuause theyre always under the cap.

wv23 said...

the packers are the 16th most valuable nfl franchise, according to forbes, worth $1 billion with annual revenue of $218 million ($47 million in gate receipts) and operating income of $21.9 million.

that's well behind the cowboys and redskins on operating income, but ahead of the steelers, colts, broncos, 49ers, chargers, vikings and others.

in other words, they certainly can spend more on player salaries.

Anonymous said...

They get paid enough the way it is

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