Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The NFL is about to go nuts!

Good news however seems to be right around the corner. By most counts the NFL Lockout should end on July 21 barring any setbacks to the league’s recent CBA negotiating progress. And when that happens, events will unfold at an unprecedented pace.

Teams will have to secure new deals with a growing list of their own free agents; they will have to recruit and sign undrafted free agents; and then of course they will look to augment their rosters with veteran free agents.

This all promises to be very interesting and riveting from an observer’s perspective and undoubtedly only the strongest and most prepared organizations will emerge with offseason “W’s”.

Here are a few things to keep an eye out for…

* The new CBA will have a cap floor that will force thrifty franchises like the Bengals and Bills to spend more and spend it fast. If they are slow to the free agent party, these teams will have to cough up heavy dough for players who don’t deserve it in order to meet cap floor requirements. “B-type” free agents will earn more from these teams than they deserve. This could be a banner year for less than blue chip free agents.

* If the rookie wage scale is implemented as described and top picks like Cam Newton get about half of what the 2010 first round draft class received, look for possibly even slower than normal rookie signings. Agents will try to earn their keep and come up with creative ways to impress their clients and future clients. Eventually they will succumb to the slotting system which in future years will pave the way for faster rookie signings. But not this year!

* Speaking of rookies, the reduced wages will take some of the pressure off teams like the Panthers to put their rookie quarterbacks on the field prematurely. When the Rams paid Sam Bradford $50 million plus in 2010, there was little doubt that he would take the field as the starter. The economics almost dictated it.

Now you could see teams grooming young signal callers slowly like the Bengals did with former overall No. 1 pick Carson Palmer.