Key piece of Final Eight Plan is finalized

The uncapped year begins in fewer than 48 hours.  And one of the strange tweaks to the rule comes from the so-called Final Eight Plan.

Two levels apply.  For the final four teams (Saints, Colts, Vikings, Jets), they may sign their own unrestricted free agents (e.g., the Colts may sign linebacker Gary Brackett) but they may sign an unrestricted free agent from another team only after losing one of their unrestricted free agents (e.g., the Colts may pursue Vikings running back Chester Taylor only after Brackett signs with another team).

For teams No. 5 through No. 8 (Chargers, Ravens, Cardinals, Cowboys), the Final Eight Plan carries with it an exception.  A big one.  One unrestricted free agent may be signed for a first-year salary above a certain number, and an unlimited amount may be signed at a first-year salary below a certain number, with limited growth in the future.

The numbers have been finalized, finally.

For the former category, the first-year salary is $5,807,475.  For the latter, it’s $3,861,823.

So the Cowboys, for example, can break the bank for one guy, as long as he gets at least $5,807,475 in 2010 — and then they can round up as many guys as they want at $3.86 million in year one and 30-percent growth each year thereafter.

We’ll be summarizing all of the rules of the uncapped year, with links back to the more detailed items on the subject, later today.

10 responses to “Key piece of Final Eight Plan is finalized

  1. Does that mean that they can’t sign anyone for any number between $3.86M and $5.08M in the first year?

  2. Buschman – sounds like that’s correct (well technically the top end is 5.8, not 5.08, but you’ve got the concept). Anyone in that $3.8-5.8m range, and anyone over 5.8 after the first, needs to be matched with a corresponding lost free agent. Seems kinda stupid to set it up that way instead of the first one just being “unlimited” but stupid appears to be par for the course with these types of labor negotiations.

  3. Well that doesn’t seem like a very restrictive rule at all. Fact is that teams 5 through 8 just have to juggle the numbers a little bit more than teams 9 through 32 would. I still wouldn’t expect the Cowboys to be very active in free agency. They don’t have many glaring needs that could be met in free agency. OT. Maybe a kicker.

  4. Only a lawyer and/or a liberal could think of something so convoluted and stupid.

  5. So I guess Jerry Jones finally got around to telling Goodell what the numbers would be?

  6. So now, if a team in the number 5-8 slot wins the Super Bowl next year, we can all claim the NFL threw them a bone and gifted them a Super Bowl.
    After all, isn’t that what Viking fans have claimed against the New Orleans Saints?

  7. Lost in this otherwise fine analysis is that rounding up “as many guys as they want” will be challenging given the relative lack of UFAs.

  8. So all that is really going to happen is to penalize the teams that played in their conference championship games.
    Another side of this is that given these restrictions you would think that those top 4 teams would commit even more of their resources to their own free agents, such as the Vikings and Chester Taylor.

  9. Jeeez, what’s the point of these insanely complicated rules? It can’t possibly be helping to level the playing field.
    Sounds like some nerd found a way to keep his job by coming up with asinine & complicated rules and the result is he got his friends NFL jobs as capologists.

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