In his recent post at the National Football Post, fellow agent Jack Bechta reconfirmed what I have been saying for months now regarding NFL team salaries in the uncapped (2010) year: with no minimum team salary, some clubs are going to use the Pittsburgh Pirate/Florida Marlins model and flood the team roster with first, second and third year players (low base salaries) in exchange for releasing (or to a lesser degree trading) veteran players who are making higher amounts in the terms of base salaries, bonuses and incentives.
Per Bechta: "... some small-market teams will take their player payrolls to as low as $50-$60 million in 2010 from the current minimum floor of $109 million per team."
Remember the minimum salaries for players will still be in effect for the uncapped year. First year players in 2010 will generally make $320,000 and 2nd year players $395,000 -- while the four-to-six year vets will be owed minimum base pay of $630,000 and seven-to-nine year vets $755,000. But like the baseball model, teams in 2010 will not be required to spend a minimum overall team salary. So if I'm an owner in Jacksonville or Tampa or St. Louis -- and my team is going to stink and/or no draw well anyway -- and I have no idea what the new CBA will eventually be like economically -- do I really have much to lose if I cut marginal vets (higher coin to pay) for a bunch of younger guys?
Another way to look at this is that the possibility of teams curtailing their overall payroll with the release of veteran players -- coupled with a lockout year -- could be a boon for a new football league (can you say "UFL?").