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Thread: Impact of CBA on Free Agency

  1. #1
    Hall of Famer Iron Shiek's Avatar
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    Impact of CBA on Free Agency

    An interesting breakdown of what the potential opting out of the CBA will do to free agency. I suppose this has no major impact on the Steelers since they don't take the stance that many teams do and bring in many big free agents. But this will severely limit the amount of quality guys available. One specific point brought up is 3 tags instead of one. So no we could overpay 3 backups instead of 1.

    Also it was unanimous vote by owners to opt out of the CBA, just reported a few minutes ago.



    http://www.nfl.com/news/story;jsessi...o&confirm=true

    Uncapped years would actually limit free agency
    By Pat Kirwan | NFL.com
    Senior Analyst


    There's a lot of talk about the NFL owners choosing not to continue the collective bargaining agreement past its current six-year term as early as this week. There would still be all of 2008 and 2009 to negotiate a new CBA before the "trigger" points that are in place to encourage negotiations would fire and things wouldn't be as we know them today.

    The one factor fans have heard the most about is that 2010 and 2011 would be "uncapped" years. But there are three main trigger points that will go off in 2010 if there isn't a new CBA in place, and they may offset the fear of life with no salary cap. Theyt are: 1) free agency will require six years of service (instead of four years in 2010 and five years in 2011); 2) teams will have three tags to use to restrict free agents instead of one tag, as they do now; and 3) teams that go deep in the playoffs could have some spending restrictions.


    Lisa Blumenfeld / Getty Images
    DeMeco Ryans would be a highly sought after free agent if he hit the market in 2010.

    Let's take a look at the practical side of these three concepts to get a better understanding of just what they mean to the players and the clubs:

    Longer to hit free agency
    To get a clearer picture, let's see what this year's free-agency period would have looked like if players needed more than four years of service to reach the open market.

    Let's start with the Tennessee Titans. They lost defensive ends Travis LaBoy (Arizona) and Antwan Odom (Cincinnati) as well as guard Jacob Bell (St. Louis). The three players signed for a combined total of $87.5 million ($32 million guaranteed). If the extension on time to free agency was in place, none of these players would have been free. All of them had just four years of service and would have remained Titans for upwards of two more years. The Titans would have probably changed their draft strategy and not gone after defensive linemen Jason Jones or William Hayes and could have taken a receiver or a corner.

    Other players that never would have seen a big payday: Michael Turner, who signed a $34.5 million deal ($15 million guaranteed) with Atlanta, would still be LaDainian Tomlinson's backup in San Diego; Gibril Wilson would still be a Giant; D.J. Hackett a Seahawk.

    Teams have gotten very smart about the type of players they pay in free agency. They target young players four or five years removed from college that are approaching the big second contract in their careers. That group would be eliminated if teams vote not to continue the current CBA and it gets to an uncapped year in 2010 and 2011.

    All you have to do to realize how lean the free agent market will be is go back and look at all the players from the 2005 draft who signed five-year deals, all the players from the 2006 draft who signed four-year deals and even players from the 2007 draft who signed four-year deals. None of these players, under the non-CBA trigger points, would be eligible for unrestricted free agency when their originals contracts expire. Here are some examples of whom it might affect if the owners choose not to continue the current CBA and a new CBA isn't negotiated:

    Second-round picks from 2006 such as DeMeco Ryans, D'Qwell Jackson, Rocky McIntosh, Thomas Howard, Deuce Lutui, LenDale White, Cedric Griffin, Marcus McNeill, Greg Jennings, and Tarvaris Jackson should be the core of the free-agent market in 2010, but unless they have the ability to "void" their contracts, they will not be free as planned. They would stay with their teams as restricted free agents and it might mean two more years of service before they experience the big payday.

    The 2007 draft, especially in the second and third rounds, already has a number of budding stars such as Justin Blalock, Trent Edwards, Eric Wright, James Jones, Tony Ugoh, Samson Satele, Sidney Rice, Steve Smith, David Harris, Zach Miller, LaMarr Woodley, Brandon Mebane, and Arron Sears, to name a few. All are scheduled to be free in 2011, but all would fall short of the five years of service required under the trigger points.

    There are at least another 30 to 50 quality young players from later rounds of the '06 and '07 drafts who will not see free agency -- players such as Elvis Dumervil, Willie Colon, Dawan Landry, and Antoine Bethea from 2006, and Marshal Yanda, Kevin Boss, Michael Bush, Cliff Ryan, and Tanard Jackson from '07.

    Three tags instead of one
    Currently, a team can put either a franchise tag (average of the top five salaries at his position) or a transition tag (average of the top ten salaries at his position) on any one player on the club to protect the team from losing the unrestricted free agent. If the NFL gets to an uncapped year in 2010 and 2011, teams will have use of one franchise tag and two transition tags. So not only would none of the young players with less than six years of service be free, but now the top three players who are eligible for free agency on a roster can be protected.

    If this situation existed in 2008, a team like Pittsburgh -- which used a transition tag to retain OT Max Starks -- could have also tagged Alan Faneca with either a transition or franchise tag if it so desired. If every team in the league used one or two tags, not even the three they would possess, it could take another 40 quality free agents off the market.

    There is speculation teams would not overuse this trigger because so many of their quality younger players would not be free to depart.

    Playoff restrictions
    If the league gets to the point of an uncapped year, people are afraid that deep-pocket owners such as Jerry Jones and Daniel Snyder will come in and buy a championship. If the aggressive owners already have playoff teams, there will be restrictions on how much money they can spend. The formula may slide with the number of players they lose in free agency, but the plan is designed to not let teams buy a championship. The truth is, the first two triggers aren't going to leave too many players available to acquire anyway.

    Time will tell, but I think the NFL and the NFLPA will negotiate a new CBA before we ever get to 2010. I also believe a number of the players looking at the prospect of 2010 and 2011 being uncapped and preventing them from being free agents will try to sign long-term extensions with their teams in the near future.

    And don't think all the trigger points favor the clubs, because there are other things -- like the end of the NFL draft in 2011 -- which the league doesn't necessarily want to see. And the emergence of a new league could complicate matters. If the owners decide not to continue the CBA this week, all is not lost. There is time, and there are triggers in place, to get this solved.
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  2. #2
    Hall of Famer costanza2k1's Avatar
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    Re: Impact of CBA on Free Agency

    Playoff restrictions

    If the league gets to the point of an uncapped year, people are afraid that deep-pocket owners such as Jerry Jones and Daniel Snyder will come in and buy a championship. If the aggressive owners already have playoff teams, there will be restrictions on how much money they can spend. The formula may slide with the number of players they lose in free agency, but the plan is designed to not let teams buy a championship. The truth is, the first two triggers aren't going to leave too many players available to acquire anyway.
    this is what I was worried about, looks like they will have some controls in place for it.
    ours is not to wonder why just invert and multiply...

  3. #3
    Pro Bowler calmkiller's Avatar
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    Re: Impact of CBA on Free Agency

    If they got to a lock out I am going to be really pissed off.
    LETS GO MOUNTAINEERS!
    Here We Go Steelers!


    Draft 2.0

    1. Mike Evans, WR, Texas A&M
    2. Jason Verrett, CB, TCU
    3. Kareem Martin, DE, UNC
    4. Donte Moncrief, WR, Mississippi
    5a. Shaquille Richardson, CB, Arizona
    5b. Seantrel Henderson, OT, Miami
    6a. Kevin Pierre-Louis, OLB, Boston College
    6b. Glen Stanley, OLB, Albany St
    7. Beau Allen, NT, Wisconsin

  4. #4

    Re: Impact of CBA on Free Agency

    Quote Originally Posted by costanza2k1
    Playoff restrictions

    If the league gets to the point of an uncapped year, people are afraid that deep-pocket owners such as Jerry Jones and Daniel Snyder will come in and buy a championship. If the aggressive owners already have playoff teams, there will be restrictions on how much money they can spend. The formula may slide with the number of players they lose in free agency, but the plan is designed to not let teams buy a championship. The truth is, the first two triggers aren't going to leave too many players available to acquire anyway.
    this is what I was worried about, looks like they will have some controls in place for it.
    While I worry about trying to keep up with the Jones' at least right now a few years away the free agent crop is not that impressive, but things will undoubtedly change.
    He who forgets, will be destined to remember.

  5. #5
    Hall of Famer Iron Shiek's Avatar
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    Re: Impact of CBA on Free Agency

    The thing that worries me too is that if free agency really does take a nose dive, teams like the Steelers and Colts that typically build through the draft with some fair amount of success will be hurt because all the other teams will be forced to do the same (and some will most likely get better at it with their backs to the wall and no free agency to depend on).

    One thing that won't change: Al Davis will still be signing the only two available free agents to ridiculous contracts and outbidding himself.
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  6. #6
    J_C_Steel
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    Re: Impact of CBA on Free Agency

    Quote Originally Posted by shiek2134
    The thing that worries me too is that if free agency really does take a nose dive, teams like the Steelers and Colts that typically build through the draft with some fair amount of success will be hurt because all the other teams will be forced to do the same (and some will most likely get better at it with their backs to the wall and no free agency to depend on).

    One thing that won't change: Al Davis will still be signing the only two available free agents to ridiculous contracts and outbidding himself.
    Ah, but not all scouting personnell and front offices are built the same. The Steelers, though not the BEST at using the draft to improve, consistently rank among the top 5 to 10 teams in drafting and retaining starters.

    The Steelers use free agency pretty well -- they've brought in guys like James Farrior and Jeff Hartings, two key players in the 2005 championship squad. I think Justin Hartwig, if healthy, can correct the mistake that was Sean Mahan last year.

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