caponomics
n. The economic and financial practices a team must follow to keep their players’ total salaries below the league’s salary cap. Also: cap-onomics. [Salary cap + economics]

Example Citations:
In the NFL’s era of “caponomics,” where salaries have to fit under a salary cap, the Lions got a younger player whose contract averages $ 600,000 a year less — $ 2.1 million for Pyne vs. $ 2.7 million for Glover.
—Mike O’Hara, “Lions Notebook: Glover calls move business decision,” The Detroit News, February 22, 1998

“Number one, there is no salary cap right now,” said Mohns, referring to the fact the CFL’s cap is calculated at season’s end. “There are constraints — we know what the cap is going into the season — that’s called caponomics
—Rob Klovance, “Blair latest big free agent scooped up by B.C. Lions,” The Vancouver Sun (British Columbia), March 11, 1999

Earliest Citation:
Here now, a primer on caponomics:

The Celtics are $ 5 million over the $ 15.175 million salary cap. They once were some $ 10 million over, and they got that way because teams are allowed to exceed the cap when re-signing their own free agents.

Because they were over the cap when Lewis signed his major contract extension, the worth of Lewis’ cap slot reverted to the final year of his former contract. This is a built-in penalty for teams who exceed the cap; it is known as base-year compensation.
—Michael Arace, “ At face value, board makes Celtics pay for their success,” Hartford Courant (Connecticut), November 14, 1993

Notes:
A Word Spy salute goes to subscriber Keith Gillespie for suggesting today's word.

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