Though I feel like I’ve got a good handle on the football business, I know I’m completely out of my depth on the salary cap. It’s something I’ve always wanted to become more knowledgeable of, and I’ve looked for a book that might illuminate that.
Along comes the book, Crunching Numbers: An Inside look at the Salary Cap and Negotiating Player Contracts, written by Jason Fitzgerald of Over The Cap and football biz veteran Vijay Natarajan.
Vijay is a longtime friend and ITL client, so I reached out to him when I heard he’d co-authored his first book. I shipped over a few questions, and he and Jason teamed up to answer them. Their responses are below.
Whose idea was the book? Why did you decide to do it?
“A few years ago, we were pretty much chatting about salary cap stuff and realized that there was a common interest and kept in touch from there. The decision to co-author Crunching Numbers was easy. Take a topic that you really enjoy that had no resources available outside of the CBA. It seemed like a natural idea for a book.”
How long did it take to write it?
“We worked on and off on Crunching Numbers since late summer of 2013. A good portion of the book was written by the end of 2014 but with so many changes in the NFL contract landscape and rules, not to mention front office changes, we found ourselves updating constantly to keep things current. This was good because with the added time, and no firm deadline, we expanded the book to include a number of (new) things we probably did not intend to originally have in there – such as small bios on the people behind the scenes (i.e. contract negotiators) around the NFL. Basically, every time we would go to update we would realize, “hey, wouldn’t it be good to have this in the book?” and then add a new portion to a chapter or sometimes an entire new chapter. Each time you add something there is a great deal of research involved. We have over 300 citations in the book, so it was a time-consuming process to do it correctly.
“Since this book is the first of its kind in this field, it was really important to take the time and do it right and not do a rush job. The last few months have really been spent in the editing process and working with some (cap) people in the NFL just to make certain we didn’t miss anything.”
Besides selling plenty of books, what would you like to accomplish with this book?
“Really, the main goal of the book is to educate more people about a very important side of the NFL. Every year, between December and March, the talk about the salary cap and contracts dominates the NFL, but so much of what you hear on the radio, see on Twitter, or read is incorrect or uninformed.
“There is nothing worse than listening to a popular sports radio host answer a question on the salary cap and respond, “it’s too hard to understand and explain to you.” That’s nonsense! Even if you go to work in the NFL, it’s trial by fire when it comes to learning. This book, we hope, gives people the fundamentals to succeed much faster.”
Thursday, we’ll talk more with Jason and Vijay about their perception of how well the cap is understood, even by NFL teams; who seems to ‘get’ the cap and who doesn’t; and how easy it is to go from cap novice to expert in Thursday’s edition of SIF. In the meantime, I hope you’ll check out the book’s Website.
I enthusiastically endorse the book for anyone who reads my blog regularly, loves the business of football, and wants to have a fuller understanding of one of the main drivers of personnel decisions in the NFL.