I was browsing the Espn.com blogs this afternoon and one phrase caught my attention:
New England is roughly $3 million under the cap, the source said. Thomas' cap hit would be $8.8 if the Patriots cut him under the current rules. Rapoport mentions left tackle Matt Light and receiver Randy Moss as other players the Patriots could consider trimming for financial reasons -- but not for another couple weeks.
Right now everyone is so focused on the draft and those players with 6+ years of service who can become UFA's. But what about those players who are either getting to the backside of their careers or have salaries that are overinflated for what they provide to their team? Or how about a team like the New Orleans Saints who have a lot of players that came off a pretty good year and are looking to get paid (see Jari Evans) or who are good players but have a high salary (Reggie Bush, Charles Grant) or how about multiple players eating up salary at the same position (See Jamaal Brown, Jermon Bushrod, Zach Strief).
Throw-in owners that are looking to dump salary for whatever reason (Economics, Bust the Union, move the team, etc.) and it there could be more movement than expected. National Football Post had this to say about the owners:
For the first times in years, or maybe ever, the league has seen revenues flattened because of the shaky economy. So owners, especially those with long-term debt on their stadiums, are ready to fight back and pick up cash where they can. The expiration of the floor will bring this opportunity for owners to cut spending and “get some of their money back,” as one GM put it to me.
Another indicator for this is Jerry Jones. Think about it, Jerry is one of the owners who is considered a free spender but today he mentioned that why would he Franchise Miles Austin when he can just tender him the highest offer and the implication was that he could keep Austin for about $7 million per year less than Roy Williams. Which brings me back to the point about overpaid players. Roy Williams did next to nothing for Dallas this year, so why not cut him and re-invest his $10 million in Austin and some other younger players. This seems to make sense from both the business and football standpoint.
Also, in an uncapped year, what is to keep teams from making straight up contract trades? Now, I'm no expert but this off season will be very interesting if it makes it to the uncapped status. Already we've seen or heard of some big name players that have hit the streets or will be soon (Joey Porter, LT, Jamal Lewis). I'm sure a lot of these players won't give you much but Pioli did have some success in New England finding veterans who could contribute and he's tried to do the same here. I'll be anxious to see if we can find a few like Chris Chambers who just need a little change of scenery to make a difference.
A great resource going into Free Agency is this site:
As of today they show 236 UFAs, come March 5th I wonder what that number will be? Stay tuned Sports fans.