We’ve been saying for weeks now that, if/when a new labor deal is reached, the minimum number of years for unrestricted free agency will move back to four years. Adam Schefter of ESPN reports that, indeed, the pre-2010 rules will return.
It’s no surprise. The limit moved from four years to six in the uncapped year. For more than 15 years prior to that, the limit was four.
As a practical matter, it means that plenty of money will be flowing once the market opens, and those restricted free agency tenders applied to players with four year and five years of service, such as Vikings defensive end Ray Edwards, become meaningless.
In other words, things will be crazy whenever the NFL re-opens for the business. And we’ll be here to give you the latest on player movement, once the movement is allowed to happen.
UPDATE: As also expected, the franchise tag will remain in place, allowing players with four or more years of service and an expired contract to be held in place on a year-to-year basis. That said, there could be further limits applied to the device, such as a total number of times that it could be used on any one player.