Monday, March 8, 2010

Free Agency Has Started!

NFL personnel finished interviewing and assessing college players at The 2010 NFL Combine.  For the rest of the month, NFL teams will travel to selected universities for College Pro Days to continue evaluating players.  This is all part of the process to determine whom they will draft and add to their roster, but adding players through the draft is not the only way that teams build their teams. 

NFL teams also look to improve their rosters by adding skilled veterans through free agency.  Free agency in the NFL started on March 5.  This is the period in which players whose contracts have expired begin negotiating with other teams.  These players are called free agents.  Some players will sign a new contract with their current team, others will go to new teams and some may not sign a new contract.  All free agents except a “franchise” player can negotiate with any team.  Franchise players can only negotiate with their current team.  When a team designates a player as a franchise player, they are agreeing to the greatest of the following three things:
1. Minimum offer of the average of the top five salaries at the player's position for the current year as of April 15.
2. 120 % of the player’s previous year’s salary
3. The average of the top five salaries at the player's position as of the end of last season

This is going to be a very interesting year because it is an uncapped season.  As a result, NFL teams are not limited on how much they can spend on salaries.  However, between the current economy and the uncertainty of what will be included in the next Collective Bargaining Agreement between the NFL and the NFLPA (the players’ union), I do not think that we will see teams go crazy spending money.

A few weeks ago, I attended Salary Cap 101, a webinar presented by J.I. HalsellJ.I. is an expert!  He has 4 seasons worth of NFL Salary Cap and Player Contract experience. For 2 seasons, he was the Salary Cap Analyst for the Washington Redskins, where he played a role in every player contract negotiation to occur during that period. Prior to his stint with the Redskins, he worked for 2 years for the NFL's labor relations department, the Management Council.  In the two-hour course, J.I. explained areas such as the components of player contracts, tactics used by teams to remain under the cap and how teams and agents determine the market value of players.  He also did an analysis of a sample contract. 

If you are interested in learning more about NFL player contracts, J.I. is conducting another webinar on March 13.  Visit Salary Cap 101 to sign up.  For all of you attorneys (or aspiring attorneys) interested in working with NFL players, this webinar will provide you with a good understanding of NFL contracts.

OK, I have good news for Washington, DC and Redskins fans.  Larry Foote is visiting Redskins Park today!  Larry is a Michigan Man who won a Super Bowl with the Pittsburgh Steelers.  Outside of one season with the Detroit Lions, he is a seasoned veteran who is accustomed to working hard and winning.  I think that he will be a great asset to the Redskins.  I hear that Arizona is really interested in Foote, so Redskins fans better pray that he is not sold on the good weather out west.  Considering that his old coach from Pittsburgh, Lou Spanos, is now the linebackers coach in Washington, DC, I think that the chances of him landing in our nation’s capital is pretty good.  Free agency is a crazy time, so we’ll see…


Heels Helmets

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