Thursday, March 13, 2008

Bye Bye Brown

All sports have salary caps, it's just all in the details.

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.

So why all the salary cap/franchise player talk? According to The Boston Globe, the Patriots are choosing to forgo offering veteran wide receiver and one of the few franchisers in the game right now, a place on the team next year. Brown, who was drafted in 1993 by the Pats, was told by the team that they don't have plans to keep him and that if he plans on playing next year he should begin looking to other teams.

Troy Brown is a class act who has been in the league for 15 years now. He has discussed retiring before, but now with the Pats cutting ties, it looks like the retirement might happen sooner than later. I personally would like to see Brown retire as a Patriot. He is a standout player and human being, who took less money to play in New England a few years back. He belongs in New England and gave Pats fans unbelievable memories.

We will see what Brown does, he could always continue his spectacular career with another team, but it's sad to see him leave the Patriots. Number 80, with his quick feet, versatility and love for the game, will always be a Patriot in my eyes.

Photo (cc) by Barry Chin of The Boston Globe, and is republished here under a Creative Commons license. Some rights reserved.

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