Brisbane admit they can't do so this year.
And AFL chief executive Andrew Demetriou says the Lions are not the only club in that boat.
"If you are talking about having an equalised competition, you need to get to a situation where all clubs have got the capacity to compete," Demetriou told reporters.
"And part of that being able to compete is having the capacity to pay 100 per cent of your cap."
The AFL met key officials from all clubs on Wednesday amid fears a growing rich-poor divide is threatening the league's equalisation strategy and could eventually lead to waning supporter interest.
The AFL's four biggest and four smallest clubs were last year an average of $7.3 million apart in net revenue sourced themselves, from areas such as sponsorship, membership and match receipts.
That means poorer clubs are consistently spending much less on their football departments, prompting fears they will miss out on the intended equalisation effects of the draft and salary cap.
AFL chairman Mike Fitzpatrick said clubs agreed more equalisation measures were needed, but differed widely on the form.
"There was a general view among clubs that we'd try to close the gap," Fitzpatrick said.
"The question was: How do you do it? Where do you find the revenue? Do you impose taxes?
"Everything was on the table, everything was debated and there were some terrific submissions.
"We've just got to take those away and work our way through them."
The AFL plans to return to the clubs with recommendations in September, with a view to making changes for next season.
"It is absolutely about a fan being able to go to the footy and having some expectation his team can win and, over a period of time, that his team can win a flag," Fitzpatrick said.
"In the end, if we don't have a competition that looks like that, the fans ultimately will fall away.
"If that means some money shifts from various clubs or more likely that the pot the AFL controls is allocated unevenly, that's what has to happen."