Over the weekend I talked with Andrew Brandt of the National Football Post regarding the situation with the Chiefs and safety Jarrad Page, who has yet to sign his restricted free agent tender and report to the Chiefs. Brandt is the president of the National Football Post (a partner of SB Nation so be a nice person and check them out).
He's also a former agent and former team vice president of the Packers from 1999-2008 so he has experience on both sides of the issue here, which I think is important.
Brandt points out that Page is one of the "limbo" free agents who would normally have been unrestricted free agents if not for the lack of a new labor deal. He says players and agents are "trying to rustle up some angst" in front offices by trying to force long-term contract negotiations in a time when teams are hesitant to do so.
"Page is unsigned so he does not incur fines by sitting out. If he sits out through Week Ten, he will not be allowed to play in 2010. As for an accrued season, that issue appears to be secondary, as most assume that if and when a new free agency system is restored, the minimum free agency requirement will be four years, which Page has."
That last point is interesting, I think. In theory, Page could sit out the entire 2010 season without losing anything but his salary. Some players need another accrued season in order to become unrestricted free agent but, as Brandt speculates, Page likely won't be affected by that when the new labor deal gets done.
Brandt's guess is that Page will eventually cave.
"Like a handful of players around the league, my sense is Page will try to push his discontent up until late into training camp when, realizing the team is still not reacting, he will sign his tender and report," he said.
The Chiefs have declined interest from other teams in Page so I suspect, like Larry Johnson last year, they're aware of the danger of setting a precedent with upset players.
Ultimately, we won't know for sure until Sept. 13 when the Chiefs line up against the Chargers.