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Navigating Financial Line of Scrimmage

MCT/Zuma Press

For the people who run NFL teams, getting to the Super Bowl becomes a matter of solving an extravagant jigsaw puzzle. Not the kind of puzzle you buy at the museum that has a little print of Monet's haystacks on it, mind you, but one of those 5,000-piece monsters that forces you to recreate every inch of Michelangelo's Creation of Adam.

Because the NFL has rules that limit spending, each franchise starts with virtually the same resources. So the challenge is to figure out how to arrange all the pieces to put the best possible team on the field. Do you splurge on a once-elite quarterback who is just returning from multiple neck surgeries? Or is it better to divide that cash for a linebacker, a tight end and a pair of beefy tackles?

The point, here, is that...

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