In what is likely the least surprising news of the offseason, it was announced yesterday that the Riders exceeded the salary cap in 2013. To be accurate its not really a cap, there's just a maximum after which you must pay a luxury tax... but cap is just easier to say and type. We went over by $17,975 and will be fined an equivalent amount. It amounts roughly to 1 hour worth of booze sales at Riderville during the Cup so I'm sure we can dry our tears with stacks upon stacks of cash and of course Grey Cup rings. Seriously, $18k over is nothing (doesn't even amount to one player at league minimum) so its not like you can say we bought the Cup. If $18k was the selling price for a Cup any team that didn't spend that is dumb. Our bill for legal fees for 2013 was likely more than this fine.
And to heck with all this talk about the Riders not being true to the "spirit" of the Salary Management System (SMS). There are rules and those rules say that if you spend over $4.4M you get fined. We didn't circumvent those rules, we didn't hide any salary. We exceeded $4.4M and will pay a fine. Just like an O-lineman who gets called for holding. Its only cheating if he gets away with it. Besides, I would way rather my GM do everything in his power to win us a Cup (even if it involves a stupidly small fine) rather than spend under $4.4 and not win a Cup just to look good.
Back when the SMS was introduced I doubt anyone would have predicted the Riders would be the most penalized team under the system. Hell we were one of the biggest supporting voices. But this now marks the 4th time we have been penalized (compared to twice for all other teams combined). $76,552 in 2007, $87,147 in 2008 and $26,677 in 2010. But here's the thing to note: of the 4 times we've been penalized we have appeared in the Grey Cup 3 times and won 2 of them. If SMS fines are what it takes to get us Grey Cups, I'm all for it. I honestly am surprised more teams don't go over the cap. As long as you stay under 100K and don't lose picks, then the cost is pretty small.
Admittedly the small penalties don't give SMS much teeth and maybe the League should look at beefing up the fines if they really want to make it more than a salary guidelines. But overall I think the system is working at leveling the playing field compared to what it used to be back in the day. And as long as it results in a winning team I have no problem with the Riders (or any team for that matter) going over the cap and getting fined.