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Does the Weber Offer Sheet violate the "spirit and intent" of the CBA?

July 20, 2012, 1:53 PM ET [297 Comments]
Paul McCann
Nashville Predators Blogger •Predators Radio Network • RSSArchiveCONTACT
It is fascinating how nature abhors a vacuum. In the absence of any real information, the media has decided to create its’ own narrative. Weber was being shopped, the Predators can't afford to match and my personal favorite, Weber signed an offer sheet so he wouldn't have to play in Nashville any longer. I still can't wrap my head around that one...

So… in that spirit… I want to add something to the narrative.

The offer sheet the Flyers submitted violates the spirit and intent of the CBA regarding cap circumvention and the NHL needs to review it carefully.

There... I said it.

I’ve been chatting with a lot or people about this since the offer sheet was announced, wondering if there was a case to be made for invalidating the offer due to circumvention reasons… Before I had a chance to do the research on it, the excellent blog McSorleys Stick did it for me… and after reading this cogent analysis, I agree that you absolutely can make a strong case that this offer sheet violates the spirit and intent (if not the letter) of the current CBA.

OK, before you flame me for wearing Pred colored glasses on this issue let me say this…

I am.

It’s the reason I was wondering about this subject in the first place… but that is why my source for this information isn’t a Predator related blog… it’s an LA Kings related blog, frankly from a fan base that would love to not see Weber four times a year or in the playoffs. In other words, this blog doesn’t have a dog in the hunt.

I also am on record that I believe offer sheets are not the intrinsically evil things some are making them out to be. It is part of the game and I hold no ill will toward any franchise that uses all the tools available to them. It is an underutilized method to improve your team. That being said... challenging the offer sheet as a circumvention of the salary cap may be a tool that Nashville can and should use in this situation.

So… why does this offer sheet violate the spirit and the intent of the CBA? Some key points from McSorley’s Stick
• The CBA states that a player’s salary in any single season may not be more than 20% of the Upper Limit as set in the year in which the player signed his contract.

• Using the signing bonus mechanism to pay Weber $14MM in season one and another $13MM on 7/1/2013 has, literally, the effect of paying him $27MM in season one.

• You could argue that paying Weber $27MM between late July 2012 and July 1 2013 violates the spirit and intent of the rule that caps compensation at 20% of the Upper Limit, which, I might add, the contract exceeds by almost 200%.

The CBA does allow for signing bonuses however, the set up of the front-loading may violate the spirit of the CBA. How? You can argue that the $27 million to be paid in one calendar year would change the structure of how you count yearly salary. If that argument is accepted, you can say that the intent and spirit of the “100% Rule” has been violated. Please read the blog for the excruciating detail on that one… it’s worth it.

The most impactful part of the blog’s argument regards a different (and honestly, accurate) interpretation of the offer sheet…
One interpretation of Philly’s offer sheet is that they’re trying to make it actually impossible for Nashville to come up with the money. They’re not trying to force Nashville into a cap-crisis (which is a strategy the CBA anticipates). They’re trying (if you believe this interpretation) to force more money into season one of the deal than is allowed by the CBA, for the (arguable) purpose of undermining Nashville’s ability to compete.

That is strong stuff…

Congratulations to McSorley’s stick on using actual facts and a solid understanding of the CBA to build their story. I will be curious if this offer gets examined by the NHL and after reading this excellent analysis… I believe they should… but I won’t hold my breath.

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The events that occurred last night in Colorado have me with a heavy heart today. I send thoughts and prayers to the family of Colorado blogger Jessica Redfield, who lost her life at the hands of a cold blooded maniac. #RIPJessica

Events like what happened today puts things in perspective. When you go home tonight… hug your family and hold them close, you never know how long you have them.

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ROAD TRIP!!!!!

SlapShot Radio has circled the date... February 9th at the Verizon Center in DC for our next SlapShot Radio Road Trip... we are working out details and will forward as we get them. Keep an eye on the SlapShot Radio page on Facebook for details.

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Random Notes

- I have to address the silly talk about “rebuilding” in Nashville. Ryan Suter is gone, so Roman Josi moves up to the top pair to take his place, either Jonathan Blum, Ryan Ellis or any number of great blueline prospects takes Josi’s place, or perhaps an inexpensive vet gets added... done. Now, if the Preds don't match Weber...

- The always outspoken J.R. (no, not that one...) NHL on NBC analyst Jeremy Roenick has commented on the Weber offer sheet on nbcsports.com saying “There comes a point when somebody has to start looking after the dynamics of the game… It is beyond stupidity to me.”

- Great pieces by Mark Spector on Sportsnet.ca and Scott Burnside on ESPN.com give a realistic picture…

- Remember that Weber’s agent is still new to this game… he was the one who trumpeted Weber’s accomplishments on his website last year, complete with misspellings and inaccurate information. Frankly, if I were Weber… I’d tell him to shut up before he really says something that the captain can’t walk back.

- I think it is interesting how offers from other teams that were coming into the Predators is being interpreted as Weber being “shopped.” Excuse me, but if I am an NHL GM and call Ray Shero with an offer to acquire Sidney Crosby it doesn’t mean that Shero is shopping Crosby.

- Thanks to Kevin Callahan of the Courier Post in South Jersey for the quotes in his column. Kinda nice to be quoted in the paper I grew up reading. Here’s the link if you are interested.

- I wonder… does Shea Weber’s concussion from last season enter into the decision making equation at all?

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