View Full Version : Expect Free Agency to be Hectic

06-30-2011, 08:00 AM
At this point how valuable and how much will any free agent be able to contribute this season to a new team, especially a skill position player? No time to learn systems or schemes. Will this keep a lid on overspending to get marginal returns or will the compressed period lead to a feeding frenzy and overpaying?

NFL Lockout: Expect free agency to be hectic
Thursday, June 30, 2011
By Ray Fittipaldo, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Steelers cornerback Ike Taylor is an unrestricted free agent.NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith took a break Wednesday from labor negotiations to speak to rookies at a symposium in Florida, raising expectations that the lockout could be settled soon.

One of the first orders of business for teams once the lockout ends will be to sign free agents. The free agency signing period usually is in March, but it was put on hold when the owners locked the players out.

One agent who spoke Wednesday to the Post-Gazette believes an agreement in principle between the owners and players will be reached by Friday or early next week. Then the lawyers for both sides would finalize the deal over a two-week period.

"They don't want to go past July 4th because they don't want to have the judges come back from their July 4th vacations to rule on this," said Joel Turner, who represents Steelers safety Ryan Clark, among other players. "They want it to be done."

Turner isn't the only agent who is optimistic about a settlement. Eric Metz, an agent with 27 years experience, said he has been getting more hopeful by the week as the talks between the two sides have continued.

"A month ago, I was very concerned that we were at risk of losing the entire season or half the season," Metz said. "Now I'm much more optimistic after the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals made their ruling. I still think there is a ways to go, but I am more optimistic that we can get this done in July."

Judge Susan Richard Nelson ordered an end to the lockout in April, but the NFL appealed that decision. The Eighth Circuit granted the owners appeal, but both sides were urged to come to an agreement without the court's involvement.

Turner said he was told by a person familiar with the negotiations that the goal is for the deal to be official by July 15. He also said it is his understanding that the free agency period would begin July 18, with a 48-hour signing period for undrafted free agents to follow. Then veteran free agents would go on the market July 20.

"It's going to be wild," Turner said. "That's going to leave only 5-7 days before most teams report to camp."

Metz said he heard a similar time line to the one Turner laid out, but he does not expect there to be a separate period for undrafted free agents. His expectation is for everything to happen at once.

The new collective bargaining agreement is expected to roll back unrestricted free agency from six years to four. If that's the case, the Steelers would have 14 unrestricted free agents, including starting cornerback Ike Taylor and Willie Colon, the starter at right tackle before an injury forced him to miss last season.

The other unrestricted free agents would be running back Mewelde Moore, tight end Matt Spaeth, offensive linemen Trai Essex and Jonathan Scott, defensive linemen Chris Hoke and Nick Eason, linebacker Keyaron Fox, cornerback Anthony Madison, punter Daniel Sepulveda, place-kicker Shaun Suisham and long snapper Greg Warren.

Reserve quarterback Dennis Dixon and offensive lineman Tony Hills would be restricted free agents.

Outside linebacker LaMarr Woodley, who would have been a free agent, was designated as the team's franchise player.

Metz represents some well-known players who would be unrestricted free agents, including receiver Steve Breaston, linebackers Barrett Ruud and Stewart Bradley and offensive lineman Lyle Sendlein.

"We're very fortunate to have a lot of great players who will be in high demand," Metz said. "You're a little more optimistic in those situations. The major concern is the volume of players in the market, just the number of players who are going to be out there."

Some players believe undrafted rookie free agents might have a difficult time making teams because they have not been able to learn systems during the lockout, but Metz disagrees. He said now more than ever owners want to hire cheap labor.

"Who's going to want to pay $1 million dollars to an eight-year guy at the end of his career when they can get a guy for $330,000?" Metz said. "You can have three impact special teamers making what the veteran at the end of his career is making."

As for the expected free agent frenzy: "After 27 years in this business, normal is the definition of crazy anymore," Metz said. "It's certainly going to be uncharted. But Plan B in the 1980s and early 1990s was crazy. In 1993, when free agency started, it was crazy. You learn how to deal with it."

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07-06-2011, 03:06 PM
Free agency could be an especially busy time for Ravens

Mike Wilkening - Senior editor
July 05, 2011

The Ravens would be left with some interesting decisions should players need only four years of NFL service to be unrestricted free agents in the new Collective Bargaining Agreement. In this scenario, OT Jared Gaither, FB Le'Ron McClain, CB Josh Wilson and OT-OG Marshal Yanda all would be free to sign elsewhere without the Ravens receiving compensation.

No other AFC North team might be more affected by this potential free-agent rule, which wasn't in place in 2010, the final year of the last CBA, than Baltimore. The Bengals also could be seriously affected, as CB Johnathan Joseph would be able to test unrestricted free agency, and the Steelers would have four players (CB William Gay, OT Jonathan Scott, P Daniel Sepulveda and TE Matt Spaeth) potentially hitting the market. (Steelers LOLB LaMarr Woodley, who is entering his fifth NFL season, signed his franchise tender before the lockout.) However, Gaither, McClain, Wilson and Yanda all have played important roles for Baltimore in recent seasons.

A daily team observer suggests Yanda is the priority re-signing of this group. Yanda can play right tackle or right guard. On a conference call with season-ticket holders in May, Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome said that the club "(realizes) that when Michael Oher was at right tackle and Marshal Yanda was at right guard (in 2009), it provided a very strong right side for us," but he didn't commit to any particular alignment the Ravens would use this season.

Gaither is a starter-caliber left tackle not short on talent, but he missed last season because of a back injury. Newsome said Gaither could be retained if 2010 free-agent rules were in place which would allow Baltimore to tender him as a restricted free agent and if he were healthy. However, a daily team observer suggests a change of scenery might be best for both sides.

Wilson plays a highly valued position, but the free-agent CB market is deep. Chris Carr, the Ravens' other starting cornerback a season ago, also is a free agent.

McClain made an impact earlier in his career as a ballcarrier but has had fewer touches the past two seasons with Ray Rice and Willis McGahee getting most of the touches and Baltimore usually having no other fullback on the roster. However, McGahee could be a salary-cap cut.

http://www.profootballweekly.com/2011/0 ... time-for-r (http://www.profootballweekly.com/2011/07/02/free-agency-could-be-an-especially-busy-time-for-r)

07-07-2011, 10:03 PM
nobody will have time to laugh at all the stupid moves the redskins are making this year...

07-25-2011, 01:51 AM
2011 free agency: It's going to be wild

Asomugha is the headliner; look for Redskins (again) to be among most active teams

By John Clayton

Get ready for the wildest free-agency period in the history of the NFL.

With the next NFL labor agreement nearly in place, here's a look at the top 10 free agents and where they might land. More than 400 free agents will be available if free agency begins Saturday.

(And remember, teams still must sign their own draft choices and scramble to sign undrafted free agents. Plus, trades soon will be allowed.)

1. Nnamdi Asomugha, CB, Oakland Raiders: Julius Peppers topped last year's market because of his ability to sack the quarterback. Asomugha, 30, the headliner of this free-agent class, closes off his side of the field to quarterbacks. Over the past three seasons, only 52 passes were completed against him. Like Charles Woodson, who left the Raiders to join the Packers, Asomugha has the type of body that could allow him to play until his mid-30s.

Leading suitors: Houston, Tampa Bay. Dark horses: Baltimore, San Francisco


Santonio Holmes: Will he remain a Jet or are the Redskins lurking for the free-agent WR?

2. Santonio Holmes, WR, New York Jets: His off-the-field issues led to the Pittsburgh Steelers giving him away for a fifth-round pick last year. On the field, though, Holmes is the type of stud needed to upgrade a passing offense. He is the Jets' main priority and will command top dollar. As loyal as he is to Rex Ryan and the Jets, he likely will go to the highest bidder, which is why you must look out for Dan Snyder and the Redskins.
Leading suitor: Jets. Dark horse: Washington.

3. Charles Johnson, DE, Carolina Panthers: Johnson's 11-sack 2010 season might make people think he's a one-hit wonder, but consider the circumstances. Johnson played on the other side of Peppers during his first three seasons and registered 10 sacks total. Often, defensive ends on the other side of superstar ends get the sacks because the star gets double-teamed. That Johnson had a career year with Peppers gone says something.

Leading suitor: Carolina. Dark horse: Cleveland.

4. Ray Edwards, DE, Minnesota Vikings: Edwards is a bigger name than Johnson because he has played on a high-profile Minnesota Vikings team, but he hasn't had a double-digit sack season yet. He's had eight and 8 sacks in the past two seasons. Still, he has 10-sack potential, and for teams with desperate needs for a pass-rusher, Edwards could be the answer.

Leading suitor: Seattle. Dark horse: Atlanta.

Sidney Rice: Will he stay a Viking or will Redkins, Rams come calling?
5. Sidney Rice, WR, Minnesota Vikings: George Edwards, who coached Vikings receivers for years, talked the organization into drafting Rice when he was 20, noting that Rice would become a top receiver in three years. Edwards was right. Even though Rice doesn't have great speed, he's a big-play threat, particularly in a West Coast offense. Rice averaged 15.8 and 16.5 yards per catch in his two seasons with Brett Favre as his quarterback. There are some who believe Rice might be willing to leave the Vikings for the right price, and the price is going to be high.
Leading suitors: Minnesota, Washington. Dark horse: St. Louis.

6. DeAngelo Williams, RB, Carolina Panthers: Williams was one of the league's top backs in 2008 (1,515 yards) and 2009 (1,117). The Panthers still plan to be a run-oriented team and will do everything to keep him with Jonathan Stewart as a one-two punch.

Leading suitor: Carolina. Dark horse: Miami.

7. Braylon Edwards, WR, New York Jets: Edwards might go through periods in which he drops the ball, but he's still a top receiver. Not only does he still have 70-catch potential, but his career 15.8-yards-per-reception average is impressive. If he ends up with a run-oriented team, he has the body and the ability to help out as a blocker. If the Redskins can't get Holmes, they might turn their attention to Edwards.

Leading suitors: Jets, Washington. Dark horse: Chicago.

Cullen Jenkins: Will Redkins swoop in for the Packers' free-agent defensive end?
8. Cullen Jenkins, DE, Green Bay Packers: Jenkins is one of the better 3-4 defensive ends in the game. However, because he's 30, the Packers are expected to replace him with a younger option. Most people around the league believe he's going to be the main target of the Redskins, who are expected to be the big spenders in free agency. Jenkins has a high motor and would speed the Redskins' transition to the 3-4.
Leading suitor: Washington. Dark horse: Buffalo.

9. Brandon Mebane, DT, Seattle Seahawks: Mebane is considered the best 4-3 defensive tackle on the market, which will make him popular in places such as Chicago, Denver and Cleveland. Former Seahawks general manager Tim Ruskell now works with the Bears and will probably push to sign him. Mebane also played for Mike Holmgren and could help the Browns switch back to the 4-3. The Seahawks can't afford to lose him, but the price could be high.

Leading suitor: Seattle. Dark horse: Chicago.

10. Johnathan Joseph, CB, Cincinnati Bengals: With more than $50 million to spend in free agency and re-signings, the Bengals can't afford to let Joseph slip away. Joseph and Leon Hall form one of the league's best cornerback combos. But the teams that don't get Asomugha might come quickly after Joseph, who is an excellent man-to-man coverage corner.

Leading suitor: Cincinnati. Dark horse: San Francisco.

John Clayton, a recipient of the Pro Football Hall of Fame's McCann Award for distinguished reporting, is a senior writer for ESPN.com.

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