“Right of first refusal” for free agents still a hanging issue


With the rookie salary cap essentially in place, the NFL and NFLPA* can move on to other issues when they reconvene Friday morning.  One of the trickiest items still on the table remains the concept of right of first refusal idea for this year’s free agent class.

Mark Maske of the Washington Post and the Breer/La Canfora team from NFL.com both write that the owners are still seeking the right of first refusal for up to three free agents for 2011.

NFL.com calls it an issue on which “the players won’t relent.”  (And they shouldn’t.)

Perhaps ownership is still just using it as a bargaining chip, hoping to get something back for giving the issue up.  (Florio believes that’s the case.) It appeared that it was the ownership’s turn to relent on closing the rookie wage scale, and that happened on Thursday.

We can only hope for Friday to bring similar progress.

26 responses to ““Right of first refusal” for free agents still a hanging issue

  1. They all need to just stay in these meetings until a deal is done. When white smoke emits from the building, we will all know that a deal is in place.

  2. I see what you did there with the picture…Hank doing the “Are you ready for some football???” thing. Love the optimism, founded or otherwise.
    And since you asked, yes we all are!

  3. Could someone please explain right of first refusal to me like I,m a six year old.

  4. Nice pic – way to toy with my emotions.

    (I paraphrase the Big Worm: “Playin’ with my [football] is like playin’ with my emotions!”)

  5. Why should the players refuse this ?? The FA system has worked for the NFL. The players AND the owners waited until someone was getting hurt, in this case the fa classes of 2009-10 to begin to negotiate ?? The players chose to de-certify instead of negotiating ??? I don’t get this….the players made their beds, now they should have to sleep in it…

  6. I have been on the owners side this entire time but as I am understanding it this only applies to 3 guys. That doesn’t seem to make much sense. The rules should apply equally to everyone. Let the bidding for Peyton between the Cardinals, Vikings and Redskins begin.

  7. Drop it owners, this is a request that will hurt teams(needing FAs) as much as it helps teams(wanting to retain them).

    All teams had their chance to extend contracts while the players were under contract. This is something the owners should drop IMHO in pursuit of a deal.

  8. Could someone please explain right of first refusal to me like I,m a six year old.


    The owners are asking for the players to allow the right of first refusal. What this means is that each team would have the ability to pick 3 guys and those three guys would be “tagged” they can go out and shop deal but before they can sign a deal with a new team the team with the tag on them could match the offer to retain the player.

    That help?

  9. I don’t get why the players are fighting this? Often times, an opposing team may intentionally drive up the price on Player A knowing that the original team will match it and doing so would limit their ability to sign other free agents.

    Also, what does it matter anymore?? Owners HAVE to spend money because of the raised Salary floor! Every team will HAVE to spend between ($110-$123 Million). Anyway you cut it, the free agents will get paid…

  10. Yep, it’s already AGAIN starting to look like Lucy Brown (the owners and players) are going to yank the football away from Charlie Brown (the fans). Another “issue” to use to stall a deal. This has now become just downright sickening! A fourth grader could solve all these “issues” in about 10 minutes. But let “the parties” and their LAWYERS get involved and, schazzaaam, more “issues” congeal to block a deal and delay the preseason even further. Disgusting!

  11. So Jerrah didn’t re-sign Doug Free and now worries that his LT is going out the door and his shiny new draft pick won’t be ready to play LT because of Jerrah’s own stupid lockout. Ditto for Jerry Richardson and Charles Johnson / Deangelo Williams. The owners haven’t allowed fourth year players to go to the open market for two years and now want to have first refusal on the guys they stiffed in the wallet so that Goodell & Co could have extra leverage for their lockout. Yeah this is how trusting partnerships in business get created.

    And to the next person who decides that they think the owners are making concessions and not the players; try thinking about why it is the owners making the concessions. They have had to abandon their previous positions because the previous positions were indefensible not because they are the reasonable ones just trying to cut a deal. They have only offered to burn the chaff they generated to try to leverage the players (eg. Goodell fining players with no right of meaningful appeal, offseason workout time, unilateral regular season expansion etc). Being a dick for two years before negotiations begin so you can be slightly better behaved later on doesn’t mean that you haven’t been being a dick for the majority of the last two years.

  12. IT is not just about getting paid. If you play for the panthers for instance and want out they can force you to stay.

    It is restricting the players movements even though the teams already have RFA tags, Franchise tags and Transition tags.

    This is potentially 96 more players “off the market” and able to be forced to play where they may not want to.

    Put yourself in this position from an employment perspective. You want to move jobs find a great offer in a city you want to move to and your wife wants to move to from a job you do not like….

    Then your old employers says “Nope I will pay you the same to stay in this job you want out of”

  13. For those who can’t understand why the players would care about this I think it might just be that some care about more than money.

    Players have earned the right to free agency by accumulating the requisite number of years of service. The right of first refusal is not free agency. Just because the owners were too cheap to extend players that would clearly become free agents after a new CBA doesn’t mean they should get a free pass now. The Patriots made Brady the highest paid player in league history going into this year, if they could do that then every other team could have done the same.

  14. Consider this perspective from the owners view.

    The owners are saying I dont want to lose my three guys, but I also dont want a shot at 93 other guys.

    This allows them to keep 3 of their own, but also not be able to get someone elses.

    So its not as simple as “Jerry doesn’t want to lose his left tackle.” The other owners are negotiating to prevent themselves from being able to take Jerry’s left tackle.

    Most teams would find better talent in the pool of 93 then the 3 they lose.

  15. @readingram:

    I hear what you are saying, but think of it from the owners view too… They have to pay a player through their first few years of their contracts even though they may not be great players yet. Essentially they invest in those players while they are going through their “growing pains”, and when it should be time to get a big return on those players as they get into their prime, they just up and leave…

    If this goes through, the players will still get fair compensation and owners can kep their investments through the prime of their careers…

    This isn’t a great analogy but the best I could come up with… Would you like it if you invested a lot of your money in a low priced stock, and then just as its about to blow up in value you would be forced to sell it or it is taken away from you?

  16. I honestly do not see a deal being done without this, nor would I want it. Maybe the owners will have to compromise on the number instead of 3 knock it down to 2. I dont see what the big deal is, either way the player gets paid. And its only on players that were restricted under the 2010 rules, so it won’t stop some team from going after Asomougha.

    Prehaps all those teams that want to load up on these guys should draft better and they’d have “RFA” of their own to worry about losing to.

    I dont want that much player movement. High roster turnover is never good in football and the proof of it is in the pudding because teams that completely revamp their roster never succeed. Having that many players available will only make already watered down football worse.

  17. Having said all that, PFT has an obvious motive for wanting all these guys on the market at the same time. Its money in the bank for you guys. More stories to write. More people interested in Free Agency. More page hits. More dough from the advertisers.

    Just saying dont push your agenda off like you want whats best for anyone but you. A crazy free agency might actually benefit blogs like PFT more than it benefits the players themselves.

  18. For anyone that doesn’t understand what they mean by “right of first refusal,” it would basically give the owners three transition tags to use on their unrestricted free agents, all but assuring they remain with the team. The dearth of off-season activity would make this a slap in the face to fans pining for an exciting free agency period. It would more than likely take the biggest prizes ( Santonio Homes, Sidney Rice, Johnathan Joseph) off the table.

  19. This must just be a bargaining chip by the owners. I would bet at least half the teams wouldn’t want this. This is going to be the biggest FA class ever, it’s basically a double class, after 4th year players last year weren’t FA. At best I say give teams 3 days to negotiate exclusively with their own players.

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