I don't see how you can say that. The cap went up by about the same percentage in the last CBA over the same amount of time ($39 million to $56 million). And that was without all of the outdoor games and with a crappy TV deal.
And no one batted an eye with Zubrus because he's better, and as everyone else has said, the Devils are not a cap team. That the Flyers will have to do cap juggling to sign someone who no one else wanted until the day before camp opened is not no big deal, but you're right, it's not the end of the world either.
The players % of revenue climbed as revenues went up under the old CBA. The opposite is happening under this one - I don't know exactly how Make Whole works with regard to the cap, but it's acting as somewhat of a limiting factor. Yeah, the cap's going up a lot. It's not going up by that much.
Cleary and Zubrus are about equal and the Flyers were going to have to do cap juggling anyway.
Not to mention the Devils actually, you know NEED Zubrus while the Flyers already have 3476 forwards. The Flyers getting another forward when they have no defense would be baffling if it were anyone else but with Holmgren it's typical.
The Flyers don't have a lot of forwards this year. Without Cleary, they have Hartnell, Voracek, Lecavalier, Giroux, Simmonds, Schenn, Couturier, Talbot, Read, and then either young players who may or may not be ready or 4th line garbage types. With the centers shaping up as Giroux/Lecavalier/Couturier/Talbot, this only leaves 5 wingers for the top 9 forwards. Enter Cleary.
It's really this simple ^^^^ Rag on the Zubrus (or similar) type signings all you want but we didn't have to rearrange our finances and dump players to make his contract work for us lol. It's really that simple, and that's really why people are scratching their heads at this Flyers signing..
The Flyers will be able to fit Cleary in under the salary cap. The reason they can't sign him now is that they are at the 50 contract limit.