Baseball has a salary cap, which many don't know, but it is a "soft cap" which means that a team can spend over the cap, but they have to pay a luxury tax on the extra money they spend. Each year teams with a lot of dough like the Yankees and the Red Sox, spend more than the cap. Who cares about a cap when the owners have more than enough money to do so? The cap doesn't mean much to the millionaires that own the teams. Don't get me wrong, there needs to be a brain in the heads of the people with the money and the teams still choose who they want to spend money on, but there isn't much scrambling or deciding who is more important than who if you can pay for everyone.
The NBA and NHL also both have caps, but both include exceptions when resigning a player that is already on the team. So technically, the teams can both spend more if the opportunity presents itself.
And then there is the NFL. The NFL has a "hard cap" in which no team can pay more than any other. There is a set limit, the upcoming season's limit is $116 million, and no team can go beyond it. Never. No exceptions.
That said, it's hard to have a franchise player in football. There is too much shuffling under the cap, trying to figure out who the team can afford and who is worth what. Sometimes good players and hometown favorites go even if they and their fans hope they are there all of their careers.
Photo (cc) by Barry Chin of The Boston Globe, and is republished here under a Creative Commons license. Some rights reserved.