According to reports, the NFL Players Association plans to have a discussion with the league’s owners on Saturday in South Florida. They will be attempting to reconcile their differences in order to establish a new Collective Bargaining Agreement.
The NFLPA requested that this meeting occur. I believe they made this move because of the urgency for players–the younger ones in particular–to have a CBA in place. The average NFL career is 3.5 years, so having to wait four years to be an unrestricted free agent is already risky.
Adding two years of restricted free agency, in addition to no salary cap discouraging teams from franchising guys, would put more than one hundred would be unrestricted free agents at risk of ending their careers with little to no guaranteed money.
Hopefully, an agreement is made before March 5, 2010. Not just for the players, but the owners and fans also. The sooner a CBA is in place, the sooner the threat of a lockout goes away.
Having said all of this, an uncapped 2010 NFL season is still very possible. Instead of approximately 50 restricted free agents, there would be over 200. With no salary cap, the majority of these players (if not all) will probably receive a high tender. Being that most teams don’t want to give up draft picks, these players likely will remain with their respective organizations.
This leaves teams with a very small amount of unrestricted free agents available. On top of that, the majority of UFAs will likely be labeled as “has beens." Nevertheless, if put in the right situation,
even a “has been” can rejuvenate his career and help his new team.
One positive thing the Philadelphia Eagles got out of losing their Wild Card game to the Dallas Cowboys is the fact that there are no limitations in signing free agents. If they made it to the Divisional Round, they could only sign a free agent if they lost one.
With the current likelihood of no CBA in place for 2010, it would be wise to key an eye on the guys who will be unrestricted free agents no matter what. Here are 10 scheduled UFAs to keep an eye on in Philly.
Peppers is an obvious choice. Despite his age (30), he’s still one of the best ends in the league. He can play on either side of the line. With Peppers and Trent Cole, the Eagles wouldn’t have to blitz as much. Reports are out that the Panthers are unlikely to re-sign him or spend $20 million for a second franchise tag. That would leave Peppers asking price as the last obstacle. It would be a big obstacle, but it could very well be worth it.
With the uncertainty of both Shawn Andrews and Jamaal Jackson, the Eagles need to ensure they have quality starters and depth on the offensive line. The O-line was uncharacteristically a weak link for the Eagles in 2009 due to injuries. Amano’s versatility (plays center and/or guard) and starting experience could help the line regain stability.
The linebacker corp was another weakness for the Eagles this past season. Even before 2009, the Birds haven’t had a good strong side starter since Carlos Emmons (Chris Gocong just isn’t a good fit). Dansby is a guy who could make the defense better. It has been said that the Cardinals are unlikely to re-sign him. Dansby will command top dollar, but like Peppers, he’d be very productive. He’s also on the right side of 30(28-years-old).
Kampman will likely make it to free agency because he had trouble fitting into Green Bay’s new 3-4 defense. When he seemed to pick up the new scheme, Kampman tore his ACL, ending his season. A 30-year-old coming of a knee surgery should be very cheap. The downside is it’s a high risk situation because of the uncertainty of Kampman’s recovery.
Vanden Bosch’s sack total has been on the decline the past two seasons. It’s possible that he could just use a change of scenery. Vanden Bosch is known to have a high motor and give 100 percent effort on every play. The knock against him is he’s suspect against the run.
It is very likely that the Raiders will franchise Seymour. After all, they gave up a 2011 first round pick to get him. I don’t think they would make that move for just one year of production. But, if by chance he were to make it to free agency he’d be a great addition to the Eagles' defensive line.
With starters Jeremy Maclin and DeSean Jackson and the likely retention of Jason Avant, the Eagles are set at wide receiver right? Wrong!
Injuries and lack of production by Kevin Curtis and Reggie Brown forced Jackson and Maclin on a fast track to success. That said, the Eagles lacked depth at the wideout position. They were extremely thin after the trades of Hank Baskett and Brandon Gibson.
Walter’s numbers as a starter the past three years (178 rec, 2,310 yds, 14 TDs) are mainly due to the attention Andre Johnson receives. If the Texans allow him to walk while trying to improve their No. 2 WR slot, Walter’s size (6’3", 218 lbs) and possession skills would be great for the Eagles in the red zone.
I wanted the Eagles to pursue Bodden last season after the Lions cut him, but he ended up in New England. His size (6’1", 193 lbs.) along with his ability to be physical with receivers would fit well with the Eagles defense. Unfortunately, it has been reported that he would like to remain a Patriot. Given the fact that he performed well for them, it’s likely that he will resign there.
Brackett’s status is worth keeping an eye on. The Colts would be foolish to let him walk. If Indy focuses on making Peyton Manning the highest paid football player, Brackett could possibly slip from their grasp. If (a big IF) that were to happen, a starting linebacker crew of Will Witherspoon (WILL), Brackett (MIKE) and Stewart Bradley (SAM) wouldn’t sound too shabby.
Before you laugh…Okay, okay…Go ahead…Let it out…Are you done with the giggles? Good. Now, let me explain. If by chance the Eagles were to trade both Donovan McNabb and Michael Vick, it would be imperative to have a competent backup for Kevin Kolb. Pennington has a career QB rating of 90.1 and could step right into the Eagles offense like Jeff Garcia did in 2006.
Currently, he is adamant about signing with a contender where he can be the starter. Not only will teams likely pursue McNabb and Vick first, but Jason Campbell and Daunte Culpepper are also likely to be available. If these guys are chosen over him, Pennington may realize that being Kolb’s backup in Philly wouldn’t be such a bad idea.