"In the NFL, outside of quarterbacks or maybe defensive ends, players are viewed as much more replaceable than in the NBA," Bartelstein said. "There's only five guys on the floor in the NBA. Contracts, like anything in life, are a product of the market. So if people want you enough, whether it's a big signing bonus or a long-term contract, that's what you're going to get. That's the way it should work: supply and demand."
But what happens when a 25-year-old star, in the prime of his career, signs a fully guaranteed, four-year, $68 million contract -– and then decides two years into the deal that he wants to be traded? Such is the situation with Paul and the Hornets, and this is where the NFL's model of signing bonuses instead of multiple guaranteed years might be useful.
"Everybody feared that with no salary cap, the NFL would fall apart," Bartelstein said. "Washington, Dallas and the New York teams would outspend everybody and it'd be chaos. Well, we had no salary cap this year and it didn't happen. ... If you have revenue sharing and good management, you don't need a salary cap, and the NFL just proved it this year."