Tuesday, January 04, 2011

free agency and the draft

Further complicating things for the Dolphins (and everyone else, to be fair) is no one knows what will happen this offseason.

Typically, the free agency period starts as the new league year starts - right around March 1st. But because there is no CBA, there is no new league year. Everything goes on hold as of March 4th. The CBA dictates who is a free agent, whether a player is eligible to become a free agent after his 4th, 5th, or 6th year in the league, who is restricted, what the "franchise" tag means, and so on.

So it may turn out that Paul Soliai is not an impending free-agent, or maybe he is. But that's up to the CBA, which hasn't been written yet.

And Ronnie and Ricky won't have anywhere to go right now, because no team can sign a player to a contract without a CBA in place.

In theory, that would mean that the free-agency period would have to happen after the CBA is ratified. And it seems unlikely that this will happen before the draft. So (again theoretically) that would mean that the draft would be held first.

Now, as I've detailed previously the NFL plans to hold the draft, regardless of whether there's a CBA. But there is always the chance that a rogue owner could break ranks, and wind up 'selecting' a player out of order, or a player could seek a court remedy to go where they want to go.

And the same could likely be said of the end of the league year. If a player is not under contract with team A, why couldn't the owner of team B go ahead and sign a personal services contract with the player? And what's to stop a player from suing to be able to move, under a restraint of trade or something?

So Miami's options for change at QB - or anywhere else - will be limited. I stand by my belief that the team you see now is more or less the one you will see take the field on opening day - whenever that may be. And that's because there won't be a draft or free agency until a deal gets done. And a deal won't get done until around the time the next season starts.

I guess we'll see...
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