I would like to see the league shift to a more performance based pay scale, which would require a revised agreement between the players and the owners.
Many have criticized the current system in which free agents are paid for past performance and overpaid for their declining years. Meanwhile, younger cost-controlled players are woefully underpaid.
I'd like to see an entirely different paradigm, similar to the salary + commission you see in some sales jobs. Performance pay is currently negotiated in individual contracts. I'd like to see a mandated, and substantial, amount of money dedicated to paying for the actual performance in a season.
Having, say, 50 million dollars in pay (per team) dedicated to compensating the players who actually perform would serve as a de facto salary minimum (players should like this). A league wide formula mandating performance compensation based on playing time and production would increase the pay to precocious players and reduce the incentive to get top dollar in free agency. If the players currently asking for $100M + in free agency had been properly compensated in their early years there wouldn't be as much pressure to recoup the money lost during years of team control.
Obviously the performance metrics are key. You want to reward individual performance while maintaining an emphasis on team success.
I think a substantial floor of money dedicated to performance compensation would act to reduce the guaranteed salaries. Players should be ok with this as long as the performance pay is mandated, ensuring the money goes to the players. Lower guaranteed salaries would reduce the risk to teams of signing free agents, and, I believe, reduce fan animosity toward under-performing or injured players.
Right now, there are a few teams who can sign any player for any amount and complete breakdown is only an inconvenience. Small market teams would be completely crippled if they rolled the dice on a top FA and lost him to injury. Moving to a pay + performance system would allow more teams to bid on top players and, theoretically, increase free agent compensation by putting more teams in a position to bid. Yes, guaranteed pay might be less but with proper incentive pay top players should be compensated commensurate with team succes