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Arbitrator increases NFL salary cap

New Jersey pro football fans may have heard that National Football League players will be earning more money when the 2016 season kicks off in the fall. The NFL Players Association has been campaigning for the league-wide salary cap to be increased, and the details of an arbitrator's ruling published on Feb. 23 indicates that it got what it was asking for.

The salary cap limits how much of a team's revenue may be used to pay players, and it is designed to keep fans interested in the sport by ensuring parity. However, some funds are excluded from salary cap calculations, and the union's contention has been that teams are setting more money aside than the current NFL collective bargaining agreement allows. The arbitrator hearing the case was persuaded by the arguments made by the players, and the salary cap for the 2016 season is expected to increase by approximately $50 million.

An NFL representative referred to the adjustment as a technical adjustment, but the arbitration award will lead to the largest increase in the salary cap in a decade. Before news of the decision was released, most observers were predicting an increase of no more than $10 million. The NFL business year is scheduled to begin on March 9, and the new salary cap figure is expected to be announced before then.

Alternative forms of dispute resolution such as arbitration and mediation have many advantages over traditional litigation. Lawsuits can be ruinously costly and lengthy, and courtroom communications generally become part of the public record. Arbitration proceedings are private, and attorneys with experience in this area may suggest this method to clients that are seeking to settle contentious legal disputes quickly.

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