Yes. But also encourages using up your roster spots with non-expiring deals - I think an unforeseen consequence, that suppresses free agent pools.
What peril? As you noted real difference makers rarely make it to free agency.
Does it though? It opens up the roster slot to be able to assign a better player - but if the best players are out of your reach due to having too many open roster spots, what's the benefit in that?
I agree about the lack of extensions, it is key to making sure the free agency market is vibrant. Of course, you still end up with only a few difference makers, and the teams that let the least free agents walk can take those guys no problem. So, you see, teams that let the most free agents go to free agency (thus making free agency more interesting) get punished but having their bidding ability suppressed.
I agree that teams who are capped out in terms of years are either going to be very good or very bad. How would you be punished in free agency? You'd have just as much money, on average, per slot you need to fill, as everyone else. Right now, teams who let their free agents go and give the league more flexibility and fun in free agency are the ones being punished.
Agreed. Max free agents (and let's address this as the best available in free agency, since the top players will never hit free agency) will definitely be looking for the most money (years). So why do teams with the most money to give likely having their bidding ability suppressed?
Yes, of course. Unless someone plans poorly. Nonetheless, the top players available in free agency are significantly better than the guys that go for $1, and can make a big difference to a team.
But I'm not allocating money per roster spot - cap space is determined based on salary (years) committed. Exactly as it is in the NBA. The current system is the one that allocates money based on available roster spots, effectively, as the "cap hold" ($1) for each empty spot decreases the team's ability to bid on the big name free agents.
There are consequences to spending the entire $200. So let's assume all players have the same reservations about not having waiver wire money, and keep back $10. Now Team B's $190 beats Team A's $189. Same situation. Reality is, all other things being equal, both teams being willing to take the same risks on waiver wire budget, whatever amount that may be, Team B has an unfair advantage in free agency.
My thinking is not flawed. You are interpreting it incorrectly. I am not saying that teams will ALWAYS have cap proportional to their roster slots. I'm saying, in general, teams with more roster spots open will have more cap space available. There will obviously be exceptions. And that's the entire point - free agency should NOT be determined by roster spots available, since they are not explicitly tied to the cap (and if it were, it should be in the opposite way that it is now).
That's this year as it stands, in non-dead salary (no waived players). See? There is clustering, and there are exceptions, but the general rule holds - more roster spots = more salary committed.
You're a great example - you have 14 players and 30 years assigned - exactly in line with the trend line created.
Anyway, see those two dots at the low end? They have very little salary or roster spots combined, and will have the least bidding power come Oct 26th. Why are those teams being punished?
Consider the following, to address the point that teams locked into bad salary get what's coming to them. Team C has 15 mediocre players on their roster. Team D has 15 mediocre players on their roster. Team C has them all signed to short term deals, smart move. A couple of two year deals, and the rest 1 year deals, looking to upgrade over them in free agency the next summer. Team D signs all of their players to three year deals, except 6 (the 6 he feels are the worst) - he gives 3 of them 2 year deals and 3 of them 1 year deals.
Next summer comes along. Both teams re-sign the two best performing expiring contracts. There are a few decent free agents, but not many. Which team gets rewarded with the top free agent? Team D has $200 to spend on the player of his choice. Team C has something like $190. Clearly Team D gets the top free agent. Of course there are other teams, probably having more to spend than Team C, who had a lot of expirings. So to get another of the top free agents, Team C needs to outbid the other teams, meaning that they will (read: might) get one top free agent, and then be stuck with mediocre pickups.
Team D signs his top free agent long term. Done. Team C signs their second-tier top free agent long term, and their mediocre players for 1 year, looking to upgrade the following year. Flash forward a year. Once again, Team D has 3 expirings, of which he keeps the best two. Team C has a bunch of expirings, of which he keeps the best two. Once again, going to free agency, Team D gets to take their pick of the litter, and Team C is stuck with the leftovers.
This pattern applies over the entire league - the players who are most foolhardy and tie up the most cap long term will TEND to have the least roster spots available, and thus the highest likelihood of landing a top free agent. It's a troubling pattern, and as teams notice it, you'll see more and more players aiming to have those situations come up where they have only 1 open spot, allowing them to pick up whoever they like in free agency. Of course, the side effect of this is an extremely suppressed free agency, since less and less players will be let go at the end of each year.
That's just a side effect though - the main issue is the competitive advantage given to teams who will tend to be in the worse cap situation. It's fine, it's just not at all like the NBA, where the second tier free agents (max or near max guys who don't really deserve it, see Parsons, Hayward, etc, which aligns pretty well with our "best guys who don't get re-signed" in Dynasty) don't just go to winners - they go where the money is greatest.