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NYDN: - NFL hopes to run delay on 'season' - start of Free agency

inmate running the asylum

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This could mean a delay in the start of free agency until April 1st, but I dont know how much credence to lend to this New York article, but here it is anyway. The reason is I read the same thing four days ago on Pro Football Talk, which is copied below. Being that this New York writer doesn't name his source, I hope his source wasn't Pro Football Talk. :doh:

I thought this was of too much interest to bury on the back pages.


NFL hopes to run delay on 'season'

BY GARY MYERS - February 14, 2006


The NFL free agent market is scheduled to open March 3, but it could be pushed back until April 1 if there is enough progress made in the next couple of weeks in negotiations for an extension of the collective bargaining agreement.

According to a source with knowledge of the talks, there have been advances in some areas since the Super Bowl ended 10 days ago that could lead to a delay in free agency. The NFL and the union still have a very long way to go, but the sense of urgency has intensified. The dance, for now, hasn't changed: One step forward, two steps back.

The sides met yesterday in New York. "The only good news is there is a lot of talk," the source said last night. "That is usually a good sign. Both sides are feeling pressure to get it done within a reasonable time period."

If the market opens without a CBA extension, it would make contract negotiations much more complicated. Signing bonuses can be prorated for only four years instead of what is usually a maximum of seven in the first year of a new CBA. With no extension, 2007 will be an uncapped year. As a result, the money in all new contracts, other than signing bonus, would be subject to the "30% rule" going into an uncapped year. That means if a player signs a deal for $1 million in base salary and roster and reporting bonuses in 2006, he can't get more than $300,000 (30%) increases in succeeding years.

The biggest names scheduled to be unrestricted free agents are league MVP and rushing champion Shaun Alexander and Colts running back Edgerrin James.



POSTED 9:15 a.m. EST, February 10, 2006


Word is that a series of meetings between representatives of the NFL and the NFLPA has created progress toward an agreement on a new Collective Bargaining Agreement. We're told that these talks have given rise to a "small possibility" that the free agency signing period will be delayed this year from March 3 until early April.

The mere talk of bumping back the opening of free agency confirms that the recent efforts to iron out the issues between management and labor are aimed at getting a new deal in place before the annual shopping spree commences. As it now stands, signing boni can be spread over only four years, and any incentives earned in 2006 automatically count against the salary cap in 2006. This will make it harder for teams to add new players and, in turn, less lucrative for the players.

A new deal also would undoubtedly increase the salary cap for 2006, giving teams more money to spend on their rosters. This is good news for teams like the Redskins and Jets, who reportedly are facing some tough salary-trimming decisions under the current '06 cap.

But even if the free agency period is pushed back by a month, there still will be some intrigue come March. For example, Terrell Owens' contract must be terminated by the Eagles on or before March 5. So if the free agency launch is bumped to April and no new CBA is in place before Owens is released, he'll have to decide whether to take any offers that might be on the table under the current CBA -- or whether to wait until a new deal is in place.

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