The popular explanation for the unexpected quiet on the first day of pre-free agency is that teams were scared silent by a Friday memo from the league office, which threatens them all with little-used tampering sanction if they do what the new rules had plainly implied they could — reach agreements in principle with impending free agents.
But there’s another theory that’s making the rounds to explain the lack of leaks of numbers either offered or discussed. As one source with knowledge of the current dynamics tells PFT, agents aren’t talking because the dollars for their clients aren’t where they thought they’d be.
If that’s the case, it’s not really a surprise. With more and more teams facing cap struggles and many of the teams with cap space historically not inclined to splurge, the traditional early-day spending spree may not be as dramatic as in past years. Which means that players and agents with high expectations will quickly have to come to grips with the realities of the market and strike the right deal at the right time.
Otherwise, they’ll find themselves a week from now picking through the scraps of cap dollars or signing one-year deals, hopeful that there will be more spending in 2014.