The true makeup of the 2011 free agency pool is unknown due to the lack of a collective bargaining agreement, creating uncertainty as to which players are actually unrestricted free agents in 2011.
Under the old rules, players that have accrued four or five seasons are restricted free agents, six years needed to reach the unrestricted level.
While it’s no sure bet the league will operate under old rules, it’s likely the number of years needed to be eligible for free agency won’t rise.
Unfortunately, the current crop of unrestricted free agents is one of the weakest in recent memory. Add the fact that the draft happened before free agency, and many of the six year plus players are at a disadvantage in terms of finding a new home next season.
Furthermore, salary structure is unknown for the next league year, making it tougher to accurately project how a given team will structure salaries in 2011.
With so much uncertainty surrounding next season, I’ll try to keep it simple and identify 25 of the top unrestricted free agents and one, or a few, likely landing spots them.