Due to the economic crisis, the unresolved future of the Collective Bargaining Agreement and other reasons, the NFL could be pondering major changes to its offseason schedule, according to Mike Holbrook of Pro Football Weekly.
Citing “multiple inside sources,” Holbrook writes that league insiders would like to move the NFL draft to late February with the free agent signing period to be held late in March.
“They need to get the draft put ahead of free agency,” a league source said.
Of course, that would accelerate the rest of the scouting process, including the Scouting Combine and all-star games like the Senior Bowl.
And it would decrease teams’ reliance on big free agency spending in another potential cost-cutting measure for a league that has been cutting jobs and expenses.
Such a change would also probably create a lull in the NFL from May to June.
According to a top executive, that’s exactly what NFL employees need.
“Some way, somehow, the NFL needs to find a way to give the league more of a break,” the unnamed executive said.  “It’s like a treadmill that keeps getting faster and faster.  They need to have a bigger window between the draft and free agency, regardless of which one comes first.”


  1. 2 months between free agency and the draft as it is. if they need a bigger window, maybe they’re in the wrong profession.

  2. I’m sure the players won’t be having this in the new CBA. You’re absolutely right in that if this happens, the free agent pay days would definitely go down and the players would cry about it for a long, long time.

  3. the idea of this is kind of weird. I understand that this would minimize free agent spending because you could get everything taken care of at the draft. The reason why they put the draft back till the end of april was so that they could get better looks at the players. If you look at the draft classes, the numbers of busts have decreased. So this idea of moving the draft up and the free agency period back is not too logical. Free agents are proven commodities. Rookies are not. Ask the niners how the feel about all the money they paid to alex smith. Moving the draft up would increase the amount of draft busts. Maybe if there wasn’t clowns like dan snyder, jerry jones and al davis, free agency spending would not get out of hand

  4. A lull between May and June? Are you kidding me? How will the world (or Florrio) survive without the NFL for a whole month?

  5. The only way this would work is if it went hand in hand with a rookie salary cap. The union would never allow it otherwise. Period.

  6. Absolutely hate this and think it will screw the playoff and SB teams bigtime. They will have little time to prepare for the draft after the season. I suppose that helps with parity but I don’t think its a good way to go and could artificially create bad drafts for playoff teams.

  7. Moving the draft much earlier is the best idea I’ve heard in years.
    For those interested in parity, it also gives an advantage to the worst teams by giving them more time than others to evaluate college talent. Those teams making it to the Super Bowl will be in a major time crunch to evaluate before the draft.
    I love it.

  8. Wait they’re complaining about having to work full time? And the disconnect between the NFL and the average fan grows larger…

  9. the nfl employees need months off? is this not a career? the rest of us have to work year round.

  10. Anything that happens against the Patriots or Brady gets a rule change, who’s in charge Robert Kraft?

  11. All this will do is cost veteran players a job. A few years ago there was such a focus on veteran players by allowing minimum salaries not to count as heavily against the cap. By moving free agency behind the draft, teams then won’t need to sign the older players.

  12. I don’t like it.
    They should just move the draft to March. Because this waiting is ridiculous between the combine and the draft.
    After the Superbowl (since the probowl will be before it) the universities should just go right into the pro days and get it out the way through the month of Feb. Then have free agency start as is (last week in Feb) or start of March and have the draft kickoff at the end of the month of March. The go to the offseason workouts when you have ALL your players together for April. Then take June and part of July off before training camp.
    Having free agency after the draft is ridiculous. It’s wasting money. I mean you could pick up a proven player in free agency before you waste a insane amount of money on the draft. Look how much the mock drafts have changed during free agency. You can’t put all your money into the draft (Bears!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) and then hope you can pick up players in free agency later. If teams fill all their needs in free agency they can trade out of high picks in the first round and get more picks to add depth for less money than one big player that might be a bust in 2 years and you stuck with them. At least in free agency you can cut them the next year and act like it never happened (Raiders)

  13. RedskinPete says:
    March 22nd, 2009 at 12:56 pm
    Anything that happens against the Patriots or Brady gets a rule change, who’s in charge Robert Kraft?
    I thought that was the Colts and Bill Polian that had the NFL in their hip pocket?

  14. Does the Union have a say in when the draft is? Some of you mentioned it, and I’m curious…the players being drafted aren’t part of the union yet, so couldn’t the NFL do whatever it wanted?

  15. As a Patriots fan, I hate the idea of putting the Draft before Free Agency.
    Belichick has been very successful using free agency (without spending Dan Snyder money) to assemble teams that are more or less complete and competitive well before the draft, thus allowing the Patriots to be more flexible and selective with their picks (very little drafting for immediate need).
    I just don’t see the need for this change. I don’t see how it helps any team get better.

  16. Great idea for cost controls by the NFL! Probably frowned upon by the NFLPA though, since teams will be less likely to overspend in Free Agency and will have their younger, cheaper draft picks already on the team (bird in hand theory). Teams will be in a better position to know which vets get blowed up [thanks Emmitt] prior to FA too.
    It would not penalize teams in the playoffs or super bowl as much as you think, since a team’s draft position is relative [thanks Saban] to their performance the prior season. Sock puppets like Kiper and McShay, along with a team’s own scouting department, will have War Rooms prepared for the draft. There is no unfair advantage in this scenerio.
    We may all work full time, year round, but we can usually schedule vacations when we want. That’s not the case for team and league employees.

  17. This is a really bad idea.First, it really does punish teams who are successful and extend their season deep into the playoffs.Also it does punish existing players who have already proven themselves in the NFL. If they want to save money they absolutely should institute a rookie cap. Too many college players hold their teams ransom and then turn into busts.

  18. I like this idea, because teams that are talented and on the cusp (say carolina) that draft talented players (like a qb) but miss on a WR can turn around in Free agency and aggressively go for players that they want to help them “make the run”. The teams like Detroit will not spend so much but will instead make solid decisions. I don’t think this will affect the overall pay structure since teams like Dallas will still overspend and drive up prices (and the Skins).

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