Part of the discussion between NFL general counsel Jeff Pash and the two Mikes on ESPN Radio centered on the rookie wage scale. Pash pointed out that the NFLPA’s proposal on a rookie wage scale included a three-year path to unrestricted free agent, with no franchise tag or other restriction on getting to the open market.
There’s no way the NFL would agree to that.
But the conversation reminded us that several league sources believe there’s no way the NFLPA will agree to increase the current path to unrestricted free agency from four years. The fact that, in the uncapped year, the limit bumped from four years to six has created an assumption that the next system will feature a five-year or six-year service requirement before a player can walk.
The union realizes that this would represent a major concession, and it’s highly unlikely that the league would offer anything of sufficient size to prompt that concession.
So once a new deal is done, look for the four-year requirement to apply once again.