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Minimum salaries still apply in uncapped year

We’ve mentioned several times that the disappearance of the salary cap also will result in the disappearance of the salary floor. And though we’ll be posting on Wednesday a full-blown look at the uncapped year, there’s an important point we need to make, primarily because we’re currently thinking of it.

The evaporation of the salary floor doesn’t mean that the NFL will be able to offer minimum-wage salaries to free agents. Even without a salary floor, the league and the union have agreed to minimum annual salaries that will apply even without a spending minimum.

So a spending minimum remains, as determined by the minimum annual salary for each player based on his total years of experience.

In 2010, it means that a player with no credited seasons will receive at least $320,000. For players with one credited season, the minimum salary is $395,000. For players with two credited seasons, the minimum is $470,000. For players with three credited seasons, the minimum is $545,000.

For players with four to six credited seasons, the minimum pay if $630,000.

Seven to nine? $755,000.

And for players with ten or more seasons, the minimum salary is $855,000.

That last number could end up hurting older players. Though the “minimum salary benefit” enabled teams to sign players with four or more years of service at a salary cap charge equivalent to the salary of a player with two years of service, it has no purpose or application in an uncapped year. In a season where the only cap will be the artificial limit known as a budget, teams could be more inclined to go younger -- and thus cheaper.