ESPN's Chris Mortensen has a nice look at the proposed items in the new CBA as the discussions between the players and owners to end the NFL lockout continues. The obvious caveat is that the two sides don't have a deal yet so nothing in his report is set in stone.
But he does report that one portion of the rules on free agency are expected to revert back to what they were before the uncapped (and unusual) 2010 season.
If and when there an agreement is reached, all players with four or more years of experience are expected to be unrestricted free agents, according to sources familiar with the talks. Certain tags will be retained but that still is being discussed.
If you remember, we were looking at the Chiefs possible free agents back in March. There were a number of players who had a big question mark next to their name because, under one set of rules, they would be unrestricted free agents and, under another set of rules, they'd be restricted free agents.
The problem of course is that we didn't know what the rules would be. If that nugget in Mort's report ends up being included in the next CBA, then we have some clarity on a number of Chiefs.
Guys like QB Brodie Croyle, TE Leonard Pope, LB Corey Mays and C Rudy Niswanger, among others, would have been restricted free agents and available for a tender under the 2010 set of rules. Under the rules in Mort's report, these guys would be unrestricted free agents.
In the rules reported by ESPN, CB Brandon Carr would remain a restricted free agent. (Whew)
So, three years or under and it looks like players will be restricted. These are the guys who will receive what's called an "RFA Tender" which is more or less a one-year deal. Four years and above, and they'll be unrestricted and available to sign with anyone.
Financially, this is an important distinction because quality players desired by other teams would be more expensive if they're entering unrestricted free agency. Someone like Carr could demand a lot more than the first round tender the Chiefs reportedly offered him.
Also of note is that ESPN also reports that the franchise tag is expected to make it into the next deal. This means that linebacker who Chiefs fans think is pretty awesome, Tamba Hali, would remain with the Chiefs for 2011. Things can change, but that's the way it's looking now.