The NFL is perfect. That is my opinion. My reasoning is simple. It doesn't matter how big "my" city is. It doesn't matter what television deal my team has. This all could change. We have all heard it. If the NFLPA and the Owners do not hammer out a new collective bargaining agreement, or CBA, 2010 could be an uncapped season. Money will be flowing and players will be striking it rich. Jerry Jones and Dan Snyder will be buying anything that isn't nailed down.
Right? Not exactly. There is a ton of interesting side pieces to the mythical uncapped season. I have laid out some issues that will hopefully give fans a better idea what the "uncapped" season can mean to the NFL.
This has been discussed before, but I think that I should touch on it again. Under the current deal, if a player accrues 4 NFL seasons, the player could be eligible for free agency. Without the new CBA, that number then jumps from four seasons to six seasons. That takes out a massive chunk of players that would be free agents. Players from the 2005 NFL draft that signed 5 year contracts (Braylon Edwards) or guys from the 2006 NFL Draft that signed 4 year contracts (D'Qwell Jackson) would not be available. Great for those teams, but it thins out the rest of the market. Other players that this effects is DMeco Ryans, Eric Wright, Sidney Rice, Steve Smith, LaMarr Woodley, Elvis Dumervil amongst many others. The free agent class starts to look a little thin.
As of now, your team can only use one tag every off-season. Franchise (the average of the top 5 players at the position) or the rarely used transition (the average of the top 10 players at a position). That's it. If the uncapped season happens, every team will be allowed to use three tags. So even if a player has put in six seasons, the team has three tags in which to keep its veteran players. This, further dries up the already thin market. It is quickly looking like it isn't the cash grab that so many fans, players and agents envisioned.
No Salary Cap/No Salary Floor:
There is a reason why many players are clamoring for a new CBA to be reached. Desmond Clark, a decent player, but not a superstar, has laid out the reasons in his own words. Teams like the Jaguars and Lions, two teams that have had issues selling tickets this season, may not see a reason in paying for lesser players. Today, a fourth year veteran is paid a minimum of 510k. Next season, why should an owner who is struggling to sell tickets, pay ten back-ups 5.1 million (510k x 10 players)? In stead he can sign ten players from the UFL or off the street for 100k. A minor move like that would save an owner over four million dollars and it would cost 10 players a job, just because of time served in the NFL.
Who should the NFLPA be listening to? The Mario Williams type player who could be on the verge of a major pay day, or the hordes of Blake Costanzo's? After all, the majority of NFL players do not get paid the "big" dollars. The salary floor has stopped the NFL from having Florida Marlin like situations. Without it, there would be nothing stopping an owner from cutting all costs.
Final Eight Restrictions:
This is where it really starts to get funky. Imagine for a second that the final eight teams in the playoffs this season are the Pats, Steelers, Colts, Chargers, Cowboys, Vikings, Saints and Cardinals. Since these would be the "final eight" teams the NFL would not allow these eight teams to sign any free agents, UNTIL they lost a player of their own.
For example. Let us assume that the Browns decided to sign free agent Steve Breaston. The Browns signed Breaston for 4 years and 25 million. The Cardinals would then be allowed to sign ONE free agent and only for 25 million dollars. Other teams would use this info, and bid against the Cards knowing that Arizona had no wiggle room.
This clause of course was to discourage owners to splurge to try and fix that final hole to win a Super Bowl. Sounds good if you are a Browns fan, but if you are a Pats fan this should scare the hell out of you. Granted these teams will have all three tags to use on players, but some players would be left hanging.
It is widely believed that this will be the last cash grab for draftees. Many agents, owners and players think that the days of the 50 million dollar bonus for a number one pick is nearing its end. That means that this years draft will be full of underclassmen that may not be ready, but enter anyway to make sure that they get a piece of the pie. Don't be suprised to see a lot of juniors make the jump even if they are thought to be only 2nd or 3rd rounders.
I really hope we never see an uncapped season. I think that if the owners get a taste of an uncapped season, we as football fans will never get it back. After all, why would Jerry Jones share his wealth with Green Bay? The NFL could be headed for a baseball type system. I personally think that baseball is ruined. I have lost all love I had for the sport. No longer can I watch as my favorite players are sold to the highest bidder. Why such a stupid system is in place when a much better, equal, fair system has turned the NFL into the king of all American sports? Let us hope that cooler heads will prevail and a CBA will be reached before the dreaded "uncapped" season is here.
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