The NFL and NFL Player Association collectively bargained a new agreement before the 2011 season following a player lockout throughout the offseason and into the preseason. Included in that agreement was the requirement that NFL teams and the NFL itself will meet a minimum salary floor, ensuring each team spends above a certain percentage of the salary cap.
Originally, it was believed that, starting in 2013, every NFL team would be required to spend no less than 89% of the salary cap, with the league required to spend 99% of the cap, each year. However, the CBA does not require that every year, but over a four year span.
According to the CBA's Article 12, Section 9:
A) For each of the following four-League Year periods, 201 3-201 6 and 2017-2020, there shall be a guaranteed Minimum Team Cash Spending of 89% of theSalary Caps for such periods (e.g., if the Salary Caps for the 2013-1 6 and 2017-2020 are$100, 120, 1 30, and 1 50 million, respectively, each Club shall have a Minimum Team Cash Spending for that period of $445 million (89% of $500 million)).
If a team fails to meet that standard, the CBA continues:
B) Any shortfall in the Minimum Team Cash Spending at the end of a League Year in which it is applicable (i.e., the 2016 and 2020 League Years) shall be paid,on or before the next September 15, by the Team having such shortfall, directly to the players who were on such a Team's roster at any time during the applicable seasons, pursuant to the reasonable allocation instructions of the NFLPA.
The NFL is expected to set the 2013 Salary Cap at $121 million, which will be the first year of the first four year period.