5. Fewer trades
Finally, the heartbreaking reality (mainly for me) is that this likely means that there will be very few trades in this situation.
With cap space already hard to come by as it is, the teams offering compensation for players will probably be much lower than normal because you are going to have to take on/negotiate contracts that will be a much larger portion of your salary cap than agents and GMs imagined when they agreed upon the deals initially.
Just think, the Houston Texans gave up two 1st round picks and a 2nd round pick, just to trade for Laremy Tunsil who they then paid over $19 million in AAV. At the time, Houston thought that the cap would go up to $240 million in 2021 and that it would be that difficult to stomach.
However, if the cap goes down to $198 million, then that is a much different story. That goes from being 8% of your cap space to 9.6% of your cap space and that is a massive difference.
So if you can’t afford to pay a player on their new contract, are you really going to be willing to make a move and give up a top-100 pick for a player that won’t be on your roster in 2021? The overwhelming consensus will probably be “no” which is definitely going to take some fun out of the season.
Still, situations like Yannick Ngakoue’s maybe so broken that nothing can fix them, so maybe there will still be some big trades this year. However, it is hard to feel like those are more likely to come right now than they were a month ago.