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Reality of uncapped year will hit 212 players hard

When the words “uncapped year” first started appearing in the media to describe the NFL’s 2010 season if the league and the union don’t agree on a new deal, they were used largely to describe a season in which NFL players would see massive pay increases as owners unconstrained by the salary cap out-bid each other for players’ services.

But now that an uncapped year is close to coming to fruition, players are starting to realize it won’t necessarily be so lucrative for them.

The Associated Press reports that 212 players will be restricted free agents — rather than unrestricted free agents — if there’s no new labor deal this off-season. Players currently need four years in the league to qualify for unrestricted free agency, but in an uncapped year they’ll need six years.

One of those players is Broncos quarterback Kyle Orton, and he said he and other players in his situation are starting to realize that an uncapped year won’t be a good thing for them.

”Free agency’s always been something for the players, always been a great thing. If you get one crack at free agency as a player, that’s what you dream of,” Orton said. ”How it stands right now … guys aren’t going to be able to have that dream, to be a free agent. That’s a shame for the players, I think.”

In addition to Orton, high-profile players who would have become unrestricted free agents but will be restricted in the uncapped year include Miles Austin of the Cowboys, Brandon Marshall of the Broncos, Elvis Dumervil of the Broncos, DeMeco Ryans of the Texans, Jason Campbell of the Redskins, Nick Collins of the Packers, Logan Mankins of the Patriots, Jahri Evans of the Saints, Shawne Merriman of the Chargers, Braylon Edwards of the Jets and Ronnie Brown of the Dolphins.

UPDATE: Brown has an unusual contract that ties the sixth year to the CBA process. Brown explained to the Miami Herald, “If they don’t come to an agreement for 2010, I’m under contract to the
Dolphins for another year
. I have to play another year under the old
contract because it becomes a six-year contract.”

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18 Responses to “Reality of uncapped year will hit 212 players hard”
  1. ICDogg says: Dec 30, 2009 3:32 PM

    Not to mention Leonard Weaver of the Eagles, who was a UFA this past offseason and signed a one year deal.

  2. hizzle1281 says: Dec 30, 2009 3:32 PM

    whats the difference between restricted and unrestricted free agents?

  3. Dennis says: Dec 30, 2009 3:35 PM

    See also would-be Pro-Bowler (if not for injury in the middle of a career year) Owen Daniels of the Texans.

  4. danielcp0303 says: Dec 30, 2009 3:46 PM

    Austin would’ve been resigned anyways…he’ll get a huge deal

  5. kazkal says: Dec 30, 2009 3:47 PM

    Broncos make out big because they can just high Tender Orton,Marshall & Dumervil and instead offering like a “record setting deals” to Marshall & Dumervil just offer them top 5 payed so either they can be payed top of position or only make 1-2million ….
    Beats paying them the 100million dollar contracts they’d probably get otherwise from the redskins if they were true FA’s

  6. reddog9 says: Dec 30, 2009 3:59 PM

    I really hope the league uses this leverage to stick it to the players union! The foolish players have been yammering on and on about how once there is a season without a cap then they will never want one again………perhaps they should realize that the cap benefits them. If there is no new CBA in 2010 there will also be no minimum. You think cheapskates like Mike Brown and Ralph Wilson will be the only ones to to hold onto their greenbacks? Sure, 10-12 owners will fight over a limited number of quality free agents and a few others will get overpaid, but most will end up taking less………good luck to the union! ha!

  7. AFWiredawg says: Dec 30, 2009 4:23 PM

    Cry me a river lol.

  8. GoBrowns19 says: Dec 30, 2009 4:23 PM

    This league is finished in the next decade. Goodell wants a team in England and he wants 18 games a season. Not to mention all that fun being kicked off by a strike in 2011.
    The 18 game season will cause teams to go half speed early in the year. They’ll have to or they will burn out easy. It will also allow for tons of late season snoozers. Granted, we have that now, where a third of the league is just playing out the string the final 3 or 4 games. Now up that to the final 5 or 6 games.
    The England thing will be the backbreaker though. That in of itself will turn alot of people off. Having a 1-17, 2-16, or god willing 3-15 team, perennially, playing overseas. We’ll lose alot of talented players over there. England will have the top, or near to top pick every year. When that player gets out there, he’ll drown. There will be no talent around him and he’ll be out of there as soon as his 5 years is up. Or he’ll simply not show up at all.
    What’s worse, is it will open up for other countries to lure teams will BILLIONS UPON BILLIONS of dollars. Tokyo, Dubai, India (where all our other jobs are going anyway) can all outbid any american investor by himself.

  9. rjgreen3 says: Dec 30, 2009 4:27 PM

    oh well, SHIT happens!

  10. Hap says: Dec 30, 2009 4:32 PM

    That lack of a labor agreement will prevent a bidding war for Jason Campbell.
    D-oh.

  11. Ravens Macg says: Dec 30, 2009 4:34 PM

    Once the players who can’t benefit figure all this out(or their agents……..most players can’t understand all the math) they’ll be pushing the union leaders to get something done. Especially if enough of them are high profile players. Kind of pathetic actually. Millionares, some of them 10x over, think they should get even more of the NFL pie. Greed rules!

  12. texasPHINSfan says: Dec 30, 2009 4:37 PM

    This is one time where it will be hard to find any fans that sympathize with the players. The players union played hardball with the owners under the guise of unlimited salaries in open free agency, even though that wouldn’t be the case.
    Time to sleep in the bed you made, NFLPA.
    If the players weren’t making millions, it might be easier for us to empathize.

  13. DemocratsAreStupid says: Dec 30, 2009 4:38 PM

    Uncapped year will suck. I’m just happy my team isn’t in the NFC east.

  14. Chapnasty2 says: Dec 30, 2009 4:40 PM

    Good Dallas will get Austin on the cheap

  15. raybin says: Dec 30, 2009 4:42 PM

    Millionare players vs. billionaire owners? Can’t say I find either group too sympathetic.

  16. Yeahmuggz says: Dec 30, 2009 4:43 PM

    Oh no whatever shall they do!?!? They are only gonna make $10 million instead of $20 million. I think all of us should have a food drive and a telethon to help out these poor poor players. (tear)

  17. Adam-Chris Scheftersen says: Dec 30, 2009 4:44 PM

    This is all Ted Thompson’s fault.

  18. dcfan-1212450 says: Dec 30, 2009 5:02 PM

    The baseball players RAPED MLB when they went on strike. The NHL hasn’t recovered from their lost season and lockout (no ESPN deal still, really???) and the NBA owners still lose money while the players make out. Now, why in the world would any true fan want to see that happen to the NFL. What makes this preventable is a salary cap and the restricted free agent aspect. In MLB, without a salary cap, there is a minimum. Not in the NFL. No minimum in an uncapped year. No guarenteed contracts. Restricted free agents. If the NFL players knew what is about to happen, they might consider changing some of their demands. Remember, plenty of NFL caliber players took deals to play in Canada and the new UFL and they get paid very little. Expect possible more of the same now from NFL owners in an uncapped year.

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