While all signs continue to point towards both the NFL owners and the Players Association ratifying a new CBA (collective bargaining agreement) in the next few days, the real funs begins once the ink is dry and the league reopens for business. The frenzy of player movement over the next few weeks will make past free agent signing periods look like a Sunday swap meet.
First, all 32 teams will be given a short window of time (most likely 72 hours)to first deal with their unsigned players by tendering a take-it or leave-it offer before they hit the general free agent market or by just letting them sign with another team. They will then have to decide which veterans no longer fit their roster or their budget and try to work a deal to trade them or simply waive them if there are no takers. The final piece of the puzzle involves all the undrafted rookie free agent rookies that are out there. The best of the best are usually swooped up hours after Mr. Irrelevant, the last pick of the draft, has been named. This year, because of the lock-out, all those diamonds-in-the-rough are still available, which could cause another feeding frenzy of player signings.
For all the die-hard fans as well as the fantasy football fanatics out there, tuning into ESPN or the NFL Network to read the bottom line scroll of NFL signings, trades, and releases will resemble a day-trader tuning into Bloomberg or CNBC to follow the stock market.
The biggest talent pool for teams to draw from will be the veteran free agent market. Some of the names topping the list in this group are CB Nnamdi Asomugha, WR’s Santonio Holmes and Sidney Rice, RB Ahmad Bradshaw, and QB Matt Hasselbeck. These names just scratch the surface as there are literally 100’s of players that are currently unsigned and stand a very good chance of playing for a different team this season.
The next group players that will be thrown into the pool are what I like to call the ‘cap casualties’. Along with the rules of the new CBA there is also a new salary cap figure that is actually a bit less than the old one. Some teams are millions of dollars over the new cap and will look to drop some high-price talent to bring them back in line. Some of the biggest names in this category are QB Donovan McNabb, DT Albert Haynesworth, RB’s Marion Barber and Reggie Bush, and DE Osi Umenyiora. This list will also rapidly expand once teams decide there is little or no trade value for some of their over-priced and under-productive veterans.
The final group of players could be considered the kiddies pool. This would consist of all the players with NFL talent, but still went undrafted this past April. The market for the best players in this group will be extremely competitive, but unfortunately because of the extended player lock-out, many of the other players may end up falling through the cracks this season as teams are forced to concentrate on getting the players they do have on their roster ready to go in a very short period of time. Some of the big names to keep an eye on that are on this list include North Carolina CB Kendric Burney, Richmond DT Martin Parker, Clemson S DeAndre McDaniel, and Kentucky RB Derrick Locke. Just as in the first two groups, there are 100’s of players on this list and quite a few that are more than capable of earning a spot on an NFL roster.
So sit back and enjoy the show as hopefully your team ends up punching its ticket to Super Bowl XLVI as a result of skimming all the pools for exactly what they need to get them there.
DJ is a freelance writer that concentrates on his true passion in life; the world of sports. He produces a number of articles each week for BangTheBook.com as well as a select group of other websites that specialize in providing the most up-to-date information for the sports gaming industry. His goal is to write insightful articles on a wide variety of sporting topics that can provide an edge to today's sophisticated online player.