In recent years, the networking community has put a significant research effort in identifying new ways to distribute content to multiple users in a better-than-unicast manner. Scalable delivery is more important now video is the dominant traffic type and further growth is expected. To make content distribution scalable, in-network optimization functions are needed such as caches. The established transport layer protocols are end-to-end and do not allow optimizing transport below the application layer, hence the popularity of overlay application layer solutions located in the network. In this paper, we introduce a novel transport protocol, the Shared Content Addressing Protocol (SCAP) that allows in-network intermediate elements to participate in optimizing the delivery process, using only the transport layer. SCAP runs on top of standard IP networks, and SCAP optimization functions can be plugged-in the network transparently as needed. As such, only transport protocol based intermediate functions need to be deployed in the network, and the applications can stay at the topological end points. We define and evaluate a prototype version of the SCAP protocol using both simulation and a prototype implementation of a transparent SCAP-only intermediate optimization function.