The NFL and players have made strides toward finalizing a new collective bargaining agreement. Let’s look at some key recent developments that affect the AFC West:
Earlier Monday on "SportsCenter," ESPN’s Adam Schefter said San Diego receiver Vincent Jackson and New England guard Logan Mankins will likely play a key role in the talks this week. Jackson and Mankins are among the 10 players who are plaintiffs against the NFL in the lockout lawsuit. Both players have been franchised by their respective teams. Schefter reported both players could balk at that and try to become free agents.
It seems unlikely that Jackson will end up being an unrestricted free agent, although he’d love to be one. It’s a fluid situation that could be settled this week. Still, I expect Jackson to be in San Diego this season unless there is a dramatic turn of events.
Last week, ESPN’s John Clayton reported the salary cap will be at $120 million in 2011. The Raiders will be about $11.7 million over that. The number would rise when restricted free-agency tender numbers are counted.
The Raiders may be forced to cut a few players, including guard Cooper Carlisle. They will also have to restructure contracts to get under the cap. It may be unrealistic to think Oakland will be overly active in free agency unless it gets creative. Still, Oakland did a good job of tying up some key players before the lockout started.
Some fans may have been disappointed to see the NFL scuttle its proposal for teams to have the right of first refusal for up to three unrestricted free agents. The proposal would have given teams a better chance of keeping their own key players, but there wasn’t a strong chance that proposal was ever going to fly.
As part of the new rookie scale, 2011 No. 2 overall pick Von Miller will get a lot less money than Detroit’s Ndamukong Suh received last year. Suh, the No. 2 pick in the 2010 draft, signed a deal for five years and $60 million. Miller’s first NFL deal will likely be for four years and in the $20 million range.
It’s still good work if you can get it.