Under the amnesty provision, each team can waive one player and remove him from the salary cap — creating room to sign another player and potentially saving millions in luxury-tax penalties.
The money does not disappear. The player must still be paid. But the provision could give a few teams some relief and put an extra jolt in the free-agent market.
"I don’t think there will be very many at all," said one team executive, who asked to remain anonymous while the lockout remains in effect.
At most, three to six teams will take advantage of the amnesty clause this year, the executive said — a view that was echoed by others around the league. The reasons are varied and complicated.
Some teams are so far above the cap that removing one player will not provide room to sign free agents. A few teams have such low payrolls that they would dip below the minimum-payroll requirements. At least 10 teams have no obvious candidates for amnesty.
And many teams might simply hold onto their amnesty card for a future year. According to a draft of the rule, a team can use the provision in any off-season, subject to two restrictions: the player must have been signed before July 1, 2011, and must be on the team’s current roster.
In other words, a team cannot sign or trade for a player now and apply for amnesty later. The provision is meant for past mistakes, not future cap calamities.
-Howard Beck, New York Times