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League not commenting on cap implications of Luck using Irsay’s plane

Andrew Luck, Jim Irsay

Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay, left, introduces quarterback Andrew Luck, the first pick of the NFL football draft by the Colts, in Indianapolis, Friday, April 27, 2012. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)


In response to the report that Colts owner Jim Irsay has offered to let quarterback Andrew Luck use Irsay’s plane to travel across the country to work out with Luck’s new teammates, former NFL player Ross Tucker made a great observation on Twitter.

At what point is this circumventing the salary cap?” Tucker asked.

It’s a great observation (I think I already said that), so I posed to the league office the question of whether any use of Irsay’s plane violates the cap.

“No comment,” said the league.

Perhaps the league didn’t comment because the league doesn’t need to. Article 13, Section 4(a) of the CBA defines “salary” to include “the compensation in money, property, investments, loans
or anything else of value” that any player receives. Letting Luck use a plane has value to Luck, who otherwise would have to buy a plane ticket or charter a private jet or pay for some other means of transportation.

And so the value of using Irsay’s plane, if Luck indeed uses it, would count as salary and eat into the team’s salary cap -- and, more importantly, its far more limited rookie pool.