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No cap looks to benefit Bolts

Discussion in 'Chargers Fan Forum' started by Johnny Lightning, Mar 2, 2010.

  1. Johnny Lightning

    Johnny Lightning Go Bolts

    Feb 7, 2006

    No cap looks to benefit Bolts

    Big Four under the control of team

    Tuesday, March 2, 2010

    INDIANAPOLIS — The Chargers, with arguably the finest class of restricted free agents in the NFL, could be considered the biggest beneficiaries in the short term from 2010 being the final year of the current Collective Bargaining Agreement.
    They are keeping players at a reduced price (for now) or, at worst, will become rich in draft picks.
    With no new CBA agreed to — and there being almost no chance whatsoever one will be consummated by 9:01 p.m. PST Thursday night — 2010 will be an uncapped year. One of the side effects of that — a poison pill, so to speak — is that players who would have been unrestricted free agents after four seasons are now required to have six seasons before gaining that status.
    That is why Malcom Floyd, Vincent Jackson, Marcus McNeill, Shawne Merriman and seven others are under Chargers’ control rather than having already been signed to a long-term deal or readying to hit the open market. (Right tackle Jeromey Clary is also a restricted free agent but would have been so even under normal circumstances, as he has just three accrued seasons.)
    For now, rather than having to commit perhaps as much as $50 million in guaranteed money to keep Floyd, Jackson, McNeill and Merriman with long-term contracts, the Chargers are on the hook for less than $13 million in 2010 if all are on the roster.
    The Chargers have made it known to agents and players that they intend to put the first-and-third-round tender on Floyd, Jackson, McNeill and Merriman.
    That ostensibly guarantees the Chargers a first- and a third-round pick in next month’s draft if one of those players signs with another team.
    A source familiar with the Chargers’ plans cautioned “things could change” depending on the ability to work out long-term deals and other factors. But all four players are expecting the first-and-third tender.
    Guaranteed a 10 percent raise, Merriman will get $3.269 million in 2010. Based on his five years in the league, Jackson will get the prescribed $3.268 million. Floyd and McNeill, both with four years’ service, each will receive $3.168 million.
    That is a raise for all, but it is far less than they would make (in salary and bonuses) if they were unrestricted.
    The Chargers will have to pay the big bucks soon enough.
    There was speculation among agents here at the NFL Scouting Combine whether the Chargers letting Darren Sproles become an unrestricted free agent was a sign of the team cutting costs. To some extent, the answer is yes. But that appears to be prudent, not cheap, given they would have had to guarantee Sproles $7.27 million. Plus, the Chargers have a lot of top-dollar players who will be due big money in the next year or two.
    Salary cap or no, there is only so much money to go around.
    The aforementioned Big Four restricted free agents will all be unrestricted at the same time — likely after 2010. Re-signing tight end Antonio Gates is the Chargers’ No. 1 priority. And inside linebacker Stephen Cooper, like Gates, is due to be unrestricted after ’10.
    The highest possible tender, according to sources, is deemed by the Chargers to be the only way to make sure the Big Four are not pilfered.
    And there still is no guarantee another team won’t deem one (or more) of those proven players worth working a trade for. A first-and-third tender is merely a starting point. The two teams could work out a trade for less — such as a first-rounder this year and a third next year or, really, whatever the Chargers were willing to accept.
    The possibility of that actually happening appears dubious.
    While Giants General Manager Jerry Reese acknowledged, “It’s going to be interesting to see how people move with the restricted free agents,” most GMs at the Combine said they don’t expect a dramatic increase in the number of restricted free agents changing teams.
    “We’re looking at guys we’re projecting to be tendered by other teams and try not to spend a lot of time on those guys,” said Jets GM Mike Tannenbaum.
    Still, with 212 players who would have been unrestricted now restricted, the class of unrestricted free agents is pretty thin. Will a team decide a proven receiver (Jackson) or left tackle (McNeill) is a safer bet than the lottery the draft can be?
    “Free agency is going to be completely different this year,” said Browns GM Tom Heckert. “It’s going to be a little bit of a wait-and-see approach for everybody … Everybody’s thinking ‘Our first five picks are going to be Pro Bowl players.’ No one wants to give up draft picks. That’s just the way the NFL works. You’re so excited about the draft guys coming out that you’re saying, instead of giving up a second-, third- or fourth-round pick, you think you can get a better guy in the draft.”
    That’s why there is never much movement among restricted free agents.
    In fact, last season, for the first time since the current CBA came into being in 1993, not a single RFA changed teams out of the 54 that could have.
    Over the four years before that, just 14 of 345 available RFAs changed teams. That is compared to the 639 unrestricted free agents (out of 1,621) that have moved on over the past five offseasons.
    Germane to the Chargers’ current situation, no RFAs given the first-and-third tender have changed teams over the past five seasons.
    The aversion to RFAs is because not only does a team have to give up draft picks, but also believes it has to work out a long-term deal with the player. (If not, it would have spent a draft pick for one season.) So it’s like paying double, which looks even worse when compared to the relatively cheap labor provided by a drafted player.
    “Obviously there’s a financial difference in what you’re paying second- or third-round guys and you’re probably going to have to go after restricted guys (and agree to a contract) just to get ’em,” Heckert said. “I would think there would be a little more movement just because the number (of unrestricted free agents) is less, but people just don’t want to give up draft picks.”
    • Like Like x 1
  2. PowderLove

    PowderLove Former Mod, Current Slacker

    Jul 12, 2007
    The NFL is going down the pooper quicker than you can say "that's a helluva log" if they don't work out a new cba. And all you guys know you've said something like that before. Possibly some women out there too, I'm not judging though.


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