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The Cards’ place in the rule of eight

Posted by Darren Urban on February 11, 2010 – 11:00 am

As free agency creeps closer, I wanted to clarify the Cardinals’ spot in the relatively confusing “Final Eight” plan. While it does technically prohibit those teams from getting a big-name free agent until those teams lose one first, there is a fairly significant loophole for the teams that lost in the Divisional round — the Cowboys, Chargers, Ravens and of course, the Cardinals. For those teams, they can sign as many free agents as they want as long as the first-year salary doesn’t exceed $3.7 million. UPDATE: According to the CBA, the teams that lost in the divisional round can ink one player for a first-year salary of $4.92 million, which, with the increase in money for players over the past few years, is about $5.5 million now.

Now, that hamstrings a team to a point, because there is also a rule that says the salaries can’t increase by more than 30 percent each year. So if you max out at $3.7 million, you can’t suddenly give the guy $10 million in year No. 2 to make up for it. In theory, a team could just throw more money into the signing bonus, but I am guessing — given the economic and labor climate — not many teams are going to be willing to do that.

But here is the other kicker: With the rules in place that will make many, many guys who were supposed to be unrestricted instead restricted, there aren’t going to be a whole lot of guys out there worth more than $3.7 million in salary anyway.


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40 Responses to “The Cards’ place in the rule of eight”

  1. By Tbru on Feb 11, 2010 | Reply

    When does the FA signing period officially start?

  2. By Tbru on Feb 11, 2010 | Reply

    Has it been determined if loosing Berry & Warner affect our FA signing status?

  3. By CardsDNA on Feb 11, 2010 | Reply

    as a fan I hope we can add some good def depth, but I also totally understand not wanting to waste a lot of cash for someone that is going to be locked out in a year.

    darren: does the time on the contract stop if there is a lock out and the continue aftter it ends or does it count the time played only?

  4. By darrenurban on Feb 11, 2010 | Reply

    Tbru —

    Free agency begins March 5. And losing Berry/Warner does not matter when it comes to free agency.

  5. By darrenurban on Feb 11, 2010 | Reply

    CardsDNA —

    Very good question. I would think the contract continues to run, since the players would be locked out and not receiving their salaries.

  6. By Johnny V on Feb 11, 2010 | Reply

    Darren,

    Can you give Cards fans any reason to think the team will resign Karlos? Has he been around the facility? Is it thought that he wants to come back?

  7. By darrenurban on Feb 11, 2010 | Reply

    Johnny V —

    Barely any players have been around the facility. They have to return soon enough — now is the downtime. As for Karlos, he’ll go wherever he is offered the most money, I believe. Could that be Arizona? I suppose if contract offers were equal and it was here and, say, Buffalo, he’d think about staying. But he’s from the south, so those teams would be attractive to him. And in the end, I think some team will money-whip him.

  8. By James on Feb 11, 2010 | Reply

    Darren,

    What our your thoughts on Antonio Pierce? Now that hes been released could he fit into our scheme as an ILB to help replace Dansby (assuming he leaves)?

  9. By darrenurban on Feb 11, 2010 | Reply

    James —

    I don’t see Pierce filling Dansby’s shoes. He could maybe be what Gerald Hayes is, but you still have Hayes.

  10. By Josh on Feb 11, 2010 | Reply

    Darren,
    I just read that the Giants released Antonio Pierce. You think its possible the Cards will go for him if they can?

  11. By darrenurban on Feb 11, 2010 | Reply

    Josh —

    Not really. He’s older and has played in a 3-4 for a long time. It doesn’t seem like a match.

  12. By Ottis Anderson Fan on Feb 11, 2010 | Reply

    I think it’s interesting to note that if there is no salary cap in 2010, then there is also no salary floor (i.e. minimum amount teams must spend on players). While most speculation about the capped year has revolved around certain owners spending crazy money, there hasn’t been much talk about penny-pinching teams dumping a large number of expensive players to reduce their payroll and cashing in on the reduced payroll expense. That could be a big x-factor regarding restricted free-agents. While a player’s current team has the option of matching any contract offer made to their player, they are also under no obligation to match the offer if they don’t want to (and hence reduce payroll).

    Ross Tucker at SI.com touched on that point this week…

    http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2010/writers/ross_tucker/02/09/five.things.for.2010/index.html?eref=sihp

  13. By Shannon Robinson on Feb 11, 2010 | Reply

    Gotta say I wrong about free agency rules in the uncapped year. Sorry for the bad dope. I don’t know how many 3.7 million dollar free agents are around and worth the contract. I think there may be less movement of players this year than in a long time and maybe more trades. Look at the roster of 71 active players, add seven draft picks and maybe one comp selection plus one veteran QB signing and eight or so rookie free agents who the Cards work with till the draft choices sign and that’s our camp roster for 2010. Mr. Graves is already working his magic.

  14. By Mr. Know It All on Feb 12, 2010 | Reply

    THEY MIGHT HIT THE PAUSE BUTTON IN 2011, (DOUBT IT)
    BUT FOR NOW I’M MORE INTERESTED IN THE MANNING CONSPIRACY!!!! THE SAINT’S LOST TO CHICAGO THEN PEYTON GOT A RING. THE SPYGATE PATRIOTS LOSE TO THE NY GIANTS ELI GETS A RING. NOW BRING NEW ORLEANS MUCH LOVE WITH BRETT FAVRE AND PEYTON 2 LIFE LONG LOYAL FANS OF THE SAINTS THROWING GAME SEALING INT’S!!!!!! WELL ARCHIE YOU HIT THE JACK POT THE TRIFECTA THE TRIPLE CROWN!!!! THE HISTORIC STORY LINES WILL BE NFL LORE.

    DARREN DOES MY THEORY MAKE SENSE OR WHAT?????

  15. By BornAZ on Feb 12, 2010 | Reply

    Just Keep Karlos!!! and hopefully Adrian as well as Dockett, and yeah, DRC too, he’s real good!! Build from them! Everyone else should follow their lead…no matter how much anyone is getting paid…Players, you will always make more than those who go to home games and support you! Just have fun…play the game if you can! because when you can’t…you’re only wishing…well?

  16. By darrenurban on Feb 12, 2010 | Reply

    Mr. Know —

    You cannot be serious.

  17. By Andrew on Feb 12, 2010 | Reply

    Dansby is gone. Q might be following him as we get closer to the draft. Rookie LB’s have proved an ability to step in and be great in year one so that is probably going to be our gameplan there. Breaston and Doucet have shown they can do the job but…

    Will the Cardinals step up and pay Darnell Dockett? Are they even thinking about breaking their “wait until one year left” rule for him? What do you think will happen with him???

  18. By darrenurban on Feb 12, 2010 | Reply

    Andrew —

    I would expect some talks to happen, but that doesn’t guarantee anything. Since Darnell is under contract, that will go on the backburner until after free agency, I would think.

  19. By Roy on Feb 12, 2010 | Reply

    I expect DRC to be back at Pro Bowl form, but what do you expect us to do about the other side of the field? i see why they only signed McFadden for 2 years now. Knowing us I could see him getting the Rod Hood realese if we can upgrade.

    I don’t know about other plans but I consider and upgrade at corner a top 3 priority so Darren what move do you think we will make if any? Drafting will take a while to develop a player. Free agents are slim pickings this year. Trade?

  20. By Seeing Red....Birds on Feb 12, 2010 | Reply

    Darren,

    The Cards just signed Stevie Baggs from the CFL. Is the expectation for him to be a starter or more of a role player? Also, how much focus are you expecting the Cards to spend on the defensive side of the ball this draft?

    I for one would like to see the Cardinals make Dockett a top priority this off season and get Rolle’s deal worked out as well. Dansby is a super nice guy and a great player, but maybe now that Porter has been released, we can get him in for less than Dansby and draft a LB like Brandon Graham from Michigan. LB’s like RB’s seem to be able to come in and contribute right away. I’d love to have a defense that teams fear.

    Waht do you think?

  21. By KINGOF THESTREETS on Feb 12, 2010 | Reply

    Yo Urb-
    I read this above but can u go into further detail as to why Kurt and Bert salaries dont apply to what we can go after in free agency since their money will be off the books.

  22. By Brandon on Feb 12, 2010 | Reply

    Hey Darren,

    Now that Joey Porter is a free agent i think he would be a physical presence who can rush the passer very well. With us most likely losing Dansby and only having younger guys on the ends is there a chance the cards will make a play for him?

  23. By darrenurban on Feb 12, 2010 | Reply

    Roy —

    They have high hopes for Greg Toler to develop opposite DRC. They will no doubt look at the position in the draft and FA, but they may use the trio of DRC/Toler/McFadden another season.

  24. By darrenurban on Feb 12, 2010 | Reply

    Seeing Red —

    Baggs will have a chance to make the team. It’s way too early to talk about his chances of starting. If he were starting material, he probably would have been in the NFL by now. Porter will be a possibility, but only at the right price.

  25. By darrenurban on Feb 12, 2010 | Reply

    King —

    Well, the Cards have more money available, that’s true. But in terms of the rules for top 8 teams, Berry and Warner aren’t FAs nor will they be signed by another team, so they can’t “help” the Cards in that regard.

  26. By darrenurban on Feb 12, 2010 | Reply

    Brandon —

    There is a chance.

  27. By Rodney on Feb 13, 2010 | Reply

    Dan,

    Do you see the cards drafting a qb just in case Leinart struggles and doesn’t meet expectations in the shadow of Warners retirement? Or signing a veteran qb to back up Leniart?

  28. By darrenurban on Feb 13, 2010 | Reply

    Rodney —

    I assume you are asking me this question. I think the Cards will draft a QB in the middle rounds and sign a veteran. They need to; Warner is gone and St. Pierre is a free agent unlikely to return, I’d think, so they need two QBs with Leinart just to fill the roster.

  29. By DakotaCardsFan on Feb 13, 2010 | Reply

    Darren,

    Does the retirement of Kurt and Bertrand give the Cardinals compensatory draft picks, or does that pertain to players lost via free agency only?

  30. By darrenurban on Feb 13, 2010 | Reply

    Dakota —

    Retirements don’t aid the Cards at all, unless you consider, in Kurt’s case, that they won’t spend $11 million on him this season. But no, they don’t factor into compensatory picks next year.

  31. By ben on Feb 14, 2010 | Reply

    Do you all know if the cardinals are going after brandon marshall

  32. By Jim on Feb 15, 2010 | Reply

    A linebacker like porter would make perfect sense in this situation because you still want to try and get the second round pick form last year (cody brown?) into the line up. I think Pierce would end up being a better fit for Carlos than most people want to admit. He may not be able to make all of the athletic plays that dansby does, but he is also a lot more consistent and makes very few mistakes. There is always room for a smart player that can still contribute.

    This would also be a good time to give Q his wish, as much as I like him, and send him somewhere else. The patriots perhaps? They have 2 second rounders this year and a need for a receiver. The offense will become more running based anyway, like whiz envisioned when he came here, simply because of the different skill sets of Kurt and Matt. I think they should take some of that money they are saving on Kurt and get DD extended immediately after the draft.

    Speaking of the draft, If Tony Pike is available in the third round they should pounce on him. I would even get him in the second If we end up trading Q and use our 2nd pick in the second for him, then hope Gronk from UA falls to them in the third.

    This sure ended up being a longer post than I anticipated. Man am I winded!

  33. By fighting bird on Feb 15, 2010 | Reply

    I think that we should let the cards fall where they may,if dansby leaves so be it why cant he live on what he gets now and with a coach like whiz im sure he wont let things fall apart.he has brought players in that has been great and he knows how to build,rebuild,start over or what ever ive been a card fan since i was 7 and beleive me i know what loosing is so i think the team will be ok if we trust in the whiz ,i think he knows what is what so we need him to stay around and the players that we can keep and let the ones go that we cant and bring in other players be it free agency ot the draft.

  34. By fighting bird on Feb 15, 2010 | Reply

    I think that we should let the cards fall where they may, a coach like whiz im sure he wont let things fall apart.he has brought players in that has been great and he knows how to build,rebuild,start over or what ever. i think the team will be ok if we trust in the whiz.As for the QB situation sign D.Mcnabb and get another off the free agency marketand use our draft picks for the D side of the ball.

  35. By darrenurban on Feb 15, 2010 | Reply

    Ben —

    No, the Cards have no interest in trying to get Brandon Marshall.

  36. By Buschman on Feb 15, 2010 | Reply

    Can you clarify the Final 8 for me? According to ProFootballTalk.com this morning, the Cards could sign 1 free agent over $5.5 million http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2010/02/15/final-eight-plan-limitations-apply-to-trades-too/

    Now I read the link to your arcticle (via PFT), and you state that Divisional Round losers could only sign players up to $3.7 million.

    Which version is correct?

    Thanks

  37. By darrenurban on Feb 15, 2010 | Reply

    Buschman —

    Here is what the CBA says on the subject. It does seem to say one player is available, before losing one, for a first year salary of $4.925 million, which, due to percentages increasing since the CBA was locked in in 2006, is about $5.5M:

    Section 3. Next Four Teams: Each of the four playoff Clubs that lost in the
    immediately preceding playoff games to the four Clubs that participated in
    the NFC and AFC Championship games the Prior League Year shall not be
    permitted to negotiate and sign any Unrestricted Free Agent to a Player
    contract, except: (a) any Unrestricted Free Agent who acquired that status
    as a result of the NFL waiver system; (b) any Unrestricted Free Agent who
    was under contract to such Club on the last date of the last League Year of
    the player’s most recent Player contract; (c) any Unrestricted Free Agent
    signed pursuant to Section 4 below; and (d) any Unrestricted Free Agent
    as follows:
    (i) One such player for a Player Contract that has a first year Salary
    of $4,925,000 or more; and
    (ii) Any number of such players for a Player Contract that has a first
    year Salary of no more than $3,275,000 and an annual increase in any future
    contract years of no more than 30% of the first contract year Salary, not
    including any amount attributed to any signing bonus. In addition, each
    such Club and each such player entering into a Player Contract pursuant
    to this Subsection may not renegotiate to increase the amount of Salary to
    be paid during the term of the Player Contract for a period of one year after
    the signing date of such contract.
    Section 4. Replacement of Free Agents Signed by Other Club: Each of
    the eight Clubs subject to the provisions of this Article shall be permitted
    to negotiate and sign one Unrestricted Free Agent to a Player Contract
    (“New Player”) for each Unrestricted Free Agent who was under contract
    to such Club on the last date of the prior League Year, who has signed with
    another Club (“Previous Player”), so long as the Player Contract for the
    New Player shall have a first year Salary of no more than the first year Salary
    of the Player Contract signed by the Previous Player with the New Club,
    77
    Article XXI, Final Eight Plan
    and an annual increase in any future contract years of no more than 30% of
    the first contract year Salary, excluding any amounts attributable to any
    signing bonus. In addition, each such Club and each such player entering
    into a Player Contract pursuant to this Subsection may not renegotiate to
    increase the amount of Salary to be paid during the term of the Player Contract
    for a period of one year after the signing date of such contract.”

  38. By Hotrod on Feb 16, 2010 | Reply

    Hi Cards,

    What about the outstanding play of Antrel Rolle, not get his full time at Freesafety because you were moving him to nickel / safety. But when you seem to leave him back to cover 3/4 of the field, I think he really did a great job.Especially playing with injuries, and when he is out to play with two safety each having a half of the field. But he seemed to roam from sideline to sideline. So I think, when you get a safety playing as well from cover, and then turns him into safety things only will get better for him and the cardinals organization. Sometimes when you put alot of rookie money on the backend, from a business standpoint the team has to bite the bullet. When you think of a player to run back 3 interceptions for touchdowns and plays his heart out, then the organizations needs to step up. Alot of times we get wrapped up in the guys that say the right things and do what you want to hear, but there are always great athlethes like Rolle whom has always maybe stay in the dark and just let his play show, or even look at alot of vets they don’t show up for non voluntary workouts, and some gets punished for it. Sign Rolle and keep this superbowls bids running.
    Thanks.

  39. By Andrew on Feb 16, 2010 | Reply

    Darren –

    What is likely to happen with Antrel Rolle? Will he be released and let go, released and resigned, or are they just going to pay him for this year and go from there?

  40. By darrenurban on Feb 16, 2010 | Reply

    Andrew —

    If Rolle is to remain, I think he’s going to have to renegotiate a long-term deal. If he is released, I don’t see him re-signing. I don’t see them saying, “OK, take your $12 million and you still become a free agent next season” either.

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