Free-agent implications for (presumed) CBA

June, 21, 2011
6/21/11
3:21
PM ET
Some of you might have seen Adam Schefter's report on the expected state of NFL free agency when a new collective bargaining agreement (CBA) is reached, presumably next month. In short, it will return the games to pre-2010 rules that made players unrestricted free agents after four accrued seasons.

Most NFL players with expiring contracts already knew whether they would be unrestricted or restricted free agents whenever the 2011 market opened. But this nugget is important to a handful of young NFC North players who have at least four seasons but were concerned that a future agreement could permanently raise the bar for unrestricted free agency to six years.

So if the CBA is written as expected, the players below would join the unrestricted ranks and be eligible to sign with any team for no compensation.

Chicago Bears
Detroit Lions
Green Bay Packers
Minnesota Vikings

Had any of these players been restricted free agents, their movement would have required the new team to compensate their old team. Most would have had no choice but to return to their old teams. But players like Jones, Edwards and Rice would now have a much, much better chance of cashing in with a new team.

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