Owners are reportedly trying to ruin free agency

You had the chance to franchise Doug Free in February, Jer. Cut the crap.

Per Pro Football Talk:

Chris Mortensen of ESPN told 101 ESPN in St. Louis that, once the free-agency frenzy commences, the owners want to have a right of first refusal as to three or four players per team.  This would operate essentially as the transition tag, which provides a right to match but no compensation.  And, in cases where the current team chooses to match, it means that the team that pursued the player negotiated his new contract with his old team at no charge.

From an NFC East perspective, this would be a major blow to the Eagles, who have the cap space, and, from their own mouths, the want to be extremely aggressive in free agency.

Conversely, this proposed wrinkle would greatly benefit the Giants, who have the following players set to become free agents: Ahmad Bradshaw, Steve Smith, Kevin Boss, Mathias Kiwanuka, Barry Cofield, Chase Blackburn, Kevin Boothe, Keith Bullock, Deon Grant, Derek Hagan, and Dave Tollefson.  In a “free-for-all” situation, it would be very difficult for the Giants to corral all the players they’re interested in keeping, but the right of first refusal would settle down free agency for them.

Also of interest from PFT’s post:

Howard Balzer of 101 ESPN tells us that teams that didn’t apply the franchise tag to players with four or five years of service want to have the chance to do so.

This would be of immense benefit to the Cowboys, who stupidly did not place the franchise tag on Doug Free back in February.  I’d be shocked if Jerry Jones wasn’t spearheading this nonsense.  I covered this yesterday, and noted that there’s no way in hell the Cowboys should be bailed out here, as 10 other NFL teams knew full well to use their franchise tags on players that were eligible for a lesser RFA tender back in February, listed here:

Player Yrs in NFL Team
David Harris 4 Jets
LaMarr Woodley 4 Steelers
Ryan Kalil 4 Panthers
Paul Soliai 4 Dolphins
Tamba Hali 5 Chiefs
Kamerion Wimbley 5 Raiders
Chad Greenway 5 Vikings
Marcedes Lewis 5 Jaguars
Vincent Jackson 6 Chargers
Logan Mankins 6 Patriots

The upcoming free agency period was shaping up to be perhaps the most interesting and fun free agency period in the history of the NFL. The owners are apparently doing their best to ruin it.


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  2. AndrewM says:

    I thought the Cowboys didnt have a lot of cap space. Wouldnt that still be true here? So how would this be helpful for them if they dont have the money to throw at the player? Maybe im just missunderstanding

    1. You’re half misunderstanding, I think. There are two parts to this story:

      The part that benefits the Cowboys is if the league allowed every team another opportunity at franchising players they chose not to franchise back in February. It was a huge mistake not franchising Doug Free, so they would benefit greatly by having another shot at tagging him.

      The other part is the “right of first refusal” for 3-4 players per team. I don’t think that really hurts or helps the Cowboys all that much. Aside from Doug Free, they don’t really have much else to lose that would really hurt them significantly, while, as you noted, they aren’t likely to be big FA players since their cap is already so screwed up.

      1. AndrewM says:

        Ahhh I see what I did. Reading fail on my part. Im blaming being up absurdly early.

        If this happens the Cowboys are getting a major gift. That is if Jerry realizes he made a mistake. I would laugh so hard if he got the chance and didnt take it.

        The right of first refusal could really eff up a team though like your letting other teams decide your cap for you almost.

  3. plektor says:

    Not sure i’m getting this.

    If a franchise offers $10 millions to player P and P’s former franchise matches that amount, P HAS TO sign with his old club ?

    1. That’s the idea, yes.

      1. plektor says:



  4. fiftyfourd says:

    This article made me grin ear-to-ear! Hopefully, we can keep this streak going!


  5. greenage says:

    This rule would ruin FA. FA is not only a means for a player to get paid. It also gives the player an opportunity to leave a team they are not happy with.

  6. Steve D. says:

    This would essentially not allow a free agent to take less money to play for a certain team that he wants to play for (like a winning team or a home town team).

    Also, would poison pill provisions still be allowed? For example, the Eagles offer Doug Free a contract with a provision that says his entire contract is guarenteed if he plays 5 or more games in Texas in a season.

    1. First point is a very good one. If this rule applied in baseball, Cliff Lee would be a Ranger. Second point is up in the air – I’d have to imagine they’d put in a provision to not allow poison pills.

      1. Steve D. says:

        I definitely thought of Lee when I read this. I also think it could apply to Namdi. He has been on a losing team with the Raiders for so long, that under normal free agency rules, he could decide that he really wants to play for a winning team (i.e., the Eagles) and take a somewhat reasonable offer. If these rules were approved, he could not agree to a reasonable deal or the Raiders would say “thanks” and take him right back again.

        By the way, great blog!

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