Looking Ahead....My Thoughts On The Upcoming Labor Talks
The biggest agenda for the NFL this offseason will be the outcome of labor talks between the NFL Players Association and team owners.
The report is there's a very strong possibility of 2010 being a "no salary cap" season and 2011 being a lockout season.
Simply put, I predict both sides will come to an agreement before March 2010. The alternative is a lose-lose situation for both sides.
For the players: It extends the time frame of being a restricted free agent (six years). For some positions, mainly running back, a player is past his prime by then which prevents him from ever getting a high paying contract. Also, the number of franchise tags allowed will go from one to three. With no cap to worry about, a good player on a bad team is very likely stuck there.
For the owners: If a team makes the playoffs, they limit the chances to tweak their roster for the following season. Non-playoff teams won't have the opportunity to sign young talent entering their prime because they'll be restricted still. The most available free agents will be six year plus veterans in their late 20s and possibly 30s. That would be a high risk investment.
Overall, having no salary cap would be very primitive for the NFL (it's been almost 20 years since Reggie White left for Green Bay when the current Collective Bargaining Agreement was put in place). Such a structure would cause more rookie holdouts due to the team that drafted.
If Roger Goodell's job is to "protect the shield", he must ensure the CBA continues to exist. I'm sure he doesn't want a lockout to occur on his watch.
My Prediction: An agreement is made on the CBA before March 2010(mid-late February). The salary cap will be approx. $133 million.
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