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Small Market Teams in Trouble?

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Mike Brown is wondering if the NFL will follow the MLB trend where large market teams use a smaller percentage of their revenue than small market teams. The new CBA, which Brown voted against, will see long-term implications that could reach a financial crisis.

With the Bengals spending nearly 70 percent of their $180 million in revenues on players and the Redskins paying about 40 percent of their $300 million, Brown fears the NFL is headed the way of baseball and small-market teams having virtually no shot on the field.

With revenues staying relatively the same, the cap has shot up to $120 million from $84 million just two years ago and is careering toward $130 million next year.

Last year, John Clayton found fault with Ralph Wilson because the Bills owner saw the new CBA as destructive to the league's little guys. Clayton says that Wilson "comes off as though he's waving the white flag of surrender" but also came "off like a Bills fan who hasn't gotten over the Norwood kick" after the vote. Clayton continues to rip Wilson for his tactics of appealing to politicians to take a look at the CBA.

Mark Curnutte breaks down:

Teams in top-third NFL markets, such as Boston, Washington, Dallas, Philadelphia, Chicago and New York, generate revenues on average of $256 million, according to Enquirer research. Teams in the middle third, such as Baltimore, Tampa and Seattle, have average revenues of roughly $199 million.

In Cincinnati, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Jacksonville and Buffalo — the league's smallest markets — average per-team revenues are about $177 million.

The average per-team revenue is $211 million, and each team is responsible for paying 57.5% of its revenues toward player costs, according to the collective bargaining agreement ratified 30-2 by owners in March 2006.

Is the league in trouble? When the initial agreement was signed, I was surprised how quickly, and in retrospect, how sloppy, it was rushed. Brown, taking after his father's visionary gene, saw this coming. As did Wilson. And grumblings from more owners are starting to build.

When Goodell became commissioner, he wanted to ensure small market teams know they're not forgotten. Wilson happy. Two months later, Wilson came out and accused the league of stalling.

"Hey, listen, don't talk to me about revenue sharing," Wilson said Sunday following the Bills 21-0 win over the Miami Dolphins."The high-revenue clubs are not going to give teams like Buffalo any revenue sharing. They haven't done it. They stalled it for years. And I'm sick and tired of hearing about it."

Is the future of the small market team in trouble?