One problem we’ve encountered when coming up with the needs: Deciding how to factor in impending free agents. It’s difficult to know who may be re-signed, and who may not even be unrestricted based on how the CBA is worked out.
Colts G.M. Bill Polian has a simple solution when it comes to coming up with draft needs: Assume the free agents are gone.
“I think you have to go into the draft and say, ‘Anybody who’s out there [as a possible unrestricted free agent] is not coming back,'” Polian told ESPN.com’s Paul Kuharsky.
“Now, that’s for draft purposes. Don’t misconstrue what I am saying. That’s for purposes of evaluating players in the draft. We hope like the devil to get Melvin Bullitt back. I don’t know if we will or we won’t.”
Most teams will probably take a similar approach. It’s just another reminder that this year is very different, and teams have to adapt unusual strategies.
It’s also another way that this current crop of free agents will lose out. No matter how the CBA is settled, we don’t think impending free agents will be paid quite as much when some roster holes are filled by rookies.
Desperation equals dollars on the free agent market, and teams may feel less desperate after April.