With the news today that the NFL is 80-85% done on compiling a new CBA & news that Sidney Rice plans on testing the free agency market when this godforsaken lockout ends – its time to breakdown what will happen if Sidney is allowed to be an unrestricted free agent having 4-years of service. In a nutshell, expect him to receive a megadeal quickly from a team and it may not be the Vikings.
Consider the following… In March just before the NFLPA decertified, Roger Goodell proposed a $141 million salary cap for 2011. It’s widely believed the new CBA will include a salary cap and a salary floor (which in 2009 was 87.5%). For the sake of the blog lets work off of those figures.
Revisiting the uncapped 2010 season teams utilized that year to do 1 of 2 things – Got payrolls down drastically without a salary floor in place AND/OR restructured most of an overpaid players guaranteed contract into that year. Going into 2011 most teams payrolls guaranteed money commitments are low with a total of 17 teams below the assumptive $123 million salary floor (87.5% of $141 million is approximately $123 million). The Tampa Bay Buccaneers spent just over $80 million last year. They were a team that nearly made the playoffs, have a solid young core of playmakers and could be forced to spend a quick $40 million in the free agency period… And they’re one of 17 below a floor! Fortunately the Vikings are one of those teams with Brett Favre’s $13 million coming off the books, but it’s also anticipated that Adrian Peterson’s contract will be restructured and a long-term deal will have to be reached with Chad Greenway instead of just playing one season on a franchise tag.
The likes of Nnamdi Asomugha, Tyson Clabo, DeAngelo Williams and Sidney Rice available would recreate a flurry of instant bidding wars and quick deals. The NFL will also be interested in expediting the free agent process considering it’s now summer and teams will start preparing for training camp soon. And then there’s the fact that a new CBA is almost certain to contain a rookie wage scale, leaving even more money for veteran players.
You don’t think Drew Rosenhaus realizes this? You don’t think agents and possible free agents are salivating realizing this possibility? As painful as it was to stomach as a fan, there are financial reason Sidney turned down his first offer from the Vikings.
Hopefully Rick Spielman is aware of this as well. Afterall, the Vikings say they have contingent plans as to how they will handle the free agency period. Let’s just hope the checkbook is already out and the front office is prepared to go a week without sleep if our prized wide receiver makes the free agency rounds.
Jon Merckle may be followed on Twitter @thevikingpig