Learning about the labor situation

Posted by Darren Urban on February 18, 2010 – 4:35 pm

The NFL has created a blog/collection spot for news it is putting out about the ongoing labor uncertainty or various media reports on the subject. This doesn’t mean I’m going to ignore it and how it may relate to the Cards, but otherwise, you can go to to get updates. The last couple of entries are useful; one has a list of every team’s unrestricted free agents (scheduled as of now) and one explains how each team in the “Final Eight” is affected. For the Cardinals, they can attack free agency this way:

NFC Divisional Playoff Arizona Cardinals — 1 unrestricted free agent for $5.5 million* or more in Year One of contract + the same number of Cardinals unrestricted free agents who sign with other clubs + any unrestricted free agent for less than $3.7 million* in Year One of contract with limitations on per season increases.

* Estimate


Q. Can an unrestricted free agent be signed by one club and traded to a “Final Eight” club to circumvent the “Final Eight” rules?

A. No. A “final eight” team can’t use another team as a pass-through to sign a player it would otherwise be prohibited from signing. For example, if one of the 24 clubs which did not reach the Divisional Playoffs signs an unrestricted free agent, that club can’t trade him to New Orleans unless the Saints also lost an unrestricted free agent who had a Year One salary of equal or greater value than the player acquired in the trade.  In addition, the contract of the player acquired via trade would also have to comply with the yearly contract increase limitation.

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25 Responses to “Learning about the labor situation”

  1. By Secret on Feb 18, 2010 | Reply

    Demaurice Smith of the NFLPA said it would be “virtually impossible” to go back from the uncapped season to the regular cap system. Is he right Darren?

  2. By darrenurban on Feb 19, 2010 | Reply

    Secret —

    I think, having briefly talked to Smith once last year and hearing from people who listened to Smith at the Super Bowl NFLPA press conference, Smith is a polished lawyer who has a good command of the language and how to sway “a jury,” in this case the public. The late Gene Upshaw, whom Smith replaced, often said the same thing. But here’s the thing: Players are finding out that the capped system is probably better than an uncapped world, because I guarantee the owners will try to have some sort of cost regulations in place, whether it is a cap or a luxury tax or something like that.

    At this point, a lot of what is being said is rhetoric, because until the two sides truly begin to negotiate — which they really haven’t — it’s impossible to know what is impossible.

  3. By Shannon Robinson on Feb 18, 2010 | Reply

    I think that the Cards prepared pretty well for the no CBA year. Look at their current roster of active players and they have 71 players listed. Add to that 7 draft choices or 8 (with a comp pick), one new veteran QB signed, and now you’re up to 80 active players. The Cards may release 3 or 4 older players and sign a couple medium value veteran free agents as they have been in the market for the last several years. Finally our scouts will bring in maybe ten rookie free agents who work with the team till the draft choices sign. Not much free agent action this year – Mr. Graves will work to sign the core players we want who are UFA and tender the RFA’s. You’re looking at the camp roster – it’s almost in place already.

  4. By Cards Fan on Feb 18, 2010 | Reply

    So is there any implications on retiring players? Like, Warner or Berry. I feel like the NFL is trying to create parity but it doesn’t cover areas like if your best player on the freaking team retires.

  5. By darrenurban on Feb 19, 2010 | Reply

    Cards Fan —

    Unfortunately, if your best player retires, you’re just out of luck.

  6. By k. on Feb 19, 2010 | Reply

    thanks darren for the information as it’s much appreciated. kudos.

  7. By jmondo on Feb 19, 2010 | Reply

    Ok, so that means that right now.. (not counting the possible loss of any free agents) we can sign two players right now… one for no more than 5.5 Million in the first year of the deal, and another for no more than 3.7 correct ?

    Now, am I also to assume that if we lose Karlos, we just added 9+ Million to the first Free Agent we can sign ? Or is that in Addition to the above 2 ??

    Meaing.. do we get 1 to 1 value for each of the FA’s we don’t keep ? So say we lose Karlos… we can have another FA for no more than the 9+ Million that we lost him for or.. does it make a “pool” of which we can sign as many FA’s as we want, it just has to be under what the pool adds up to for the first year.

    Interesting times.

  8. By darrenurban on Feb 19, 2010 | Reply

    jmondo —

    Without losing anyone, the Cards can sign one for $5.5 M and as many as they want for $3.7 M.

    As for losing Dansby, for instance, I believe it’s a 1-for-1, meaning one “expensive” free agent if Dansby leaves. But think about it, how many FAs do the Cards (or most teams) sign for more than $3.7 M a year? I don’t think it’s going to make a big impact.

  9. By Pay Dockett! on Feb 19, 2010 | Reply

    with the cards being a final 8 team, it will just make the savor of winning the super bowl next year all that much tastier 🙂

  10. By jmondo on Feb 19, 2010 | Reply

    Thats actually not that bad…. I think we aren’t in as bad of shape (FA wise) as I initially thought when I heard of the “Elite 8” designation. Those dollar figures should be more than enough to what the Cardinals have been doing and sign “middle of the road” FA’s.

    Joey Porter (if they want him) should easily fit (you would think) within the above parameters.

  11. By Eazy E on Feb 19, 2010 | Reply

    I don’t like the vibe I am sensing from Rod Graves and crew. WAKE UP!! WE DON’T HAVE KURT WARNER ANYMORE, WE HAVE MATT LEINART!! Our defense played poorly for the most part in the playoffs. We have to upgrade at DE/OLB and get a premier DE/OLB(I.E. JULIUS PEPPERS, He wants to be in a 3-4 and at OLB, JOEY PORTER, ETC.) We have to upgrade opposite DRC also. B-Mac had a bad year, 0 picks when the ball is thrown your way that much, not locating the ball unacceptable. We have to get a #1 corner like a DRC (I.E. DUNTA ROBINSON). Then B-Mac can be our #3 cb and Toler as our #4 cb. Those are 2 major positions where the draft wont really help us at, the draft isn’t going to ensure us an stud OLB or a shutdown corner, everybody that has a little bit of a brain, knows the draft is a crapshoot anyways. Free Agency will with Julius Peppers and Dunta Robinson on the market. We have to use these privileges that we have in that we can sign a free agent 5.5 million or more in the first year of the deal and if/when we lose dansby, he’ll probably get double digits(millions) per year, and we need to get a big fa in place of him that can help us out. We need a great defense next year, can’t be hovering around that 20th and 25th overall anymore. Kurt is retired unfortunately.

  12. By darrenurban on Feb 19, 2010 | Reply

    Eazy —

    If you are waiting for the Cards to sign Julius Peppers to a megadeal to play a position he never has played before, I think you are going to be waiting a long time.

  13. By TucsonTim on Feb 19, 2010 | Reply

    Darren –

    Did Fitz retire, or were you referring to Q, DRC, Adub, Rolle, Docket…?

  14. By Nathan H on Feb 20, 2010 | Reply

    So in the Mock Drafts on, they seem to think the Cardinals will pickup Bradford to backup Leinart? What do you think Darren? I would think Whisenhunt would try to find someone with more experience, but I don’t know, I’d prefer they do or else the season might look like the Browns next year if Leinart struggles, with the taking one QB in and the other out and back and forth. I also Notice you typically don’t answer to speculation or trade ideas too much, I realize your job is to generally be objective and what not, but as a Cardinals fan what do want to see happen? I mean obviously you’re not gonna say I think they should let Dansby go, or they need to trade Q or give Docket what he wants, but I mean what if I propose hypothetical questions like…

    1. If Dansby signs with a new team you’d like the Cardinals try to get_______

    2. If The Cardinals trade Boldin because they think they can win without them
    they should try to get _________________

    3. If the Cards try to get another CB, _____________ might be worth pursuing.

    Lol, I’m not sure if i’ll get answers on this. But worth a shot. And possibly interesting to see what you’d like to see, not predict, if those scenarios were to play out.

  15. By darrenurban on Feb 20, 2010 | Reply

    Nathan H —

    If Bradford is there when they pick at No. 26 — and I doubt he will be, since he generally seems to be regarded as the top QB prospect — I would not be shocked if they took him. The Cards need two QBs (assuming St. Pierre doesn’t return) so they will chase a veteran and probably draft one.

    As for answering your questions, I just have never been much into “wanting” things to happen. I mean, the year Suggs came out I thought they should draft him at that point, but the Cards have had success with their decisions the last couple of years so I leave it to the experts. I have opinions on some things, but I am not a scout and I — nor anyone on the outside — knows everything (What’s the free-agent budget? What kind of physical tools are you looking for in a player?). People say “Trade for Cromartie from the Chargers.” But I always have red flags when a team is trying to dump a young, Pro Bowl CB. Something is up there. This isn’t Madden. Humans (and real money) are involved.

    So these aren’t the answers you want but:
    1) I think Dansby leaves. I would guess they try to fill the hole with a draft pick and a veteran and hope one works out. No, I have no names right now.
    2) I don’t think the Cards need another upper crust WR is Boldin is traded, because they have Fitz, Breaston and Early. If he is traded, I believe it will be for a draft pick or two.
    3) I won’t be surprised if they draft a corner rather than sign an FA.

  16. By Nathan on Feb 20, 2010 | Reply


    Darren was replying to Cards Fan who was referring to Warner.

    And I would love for the Cardinals to sign Porter and//or Robinson, but I don’t think signing a very expensive defensive end who takes plays off and wants to play outside linebacker is a good idea. Unless he loves Arizona enough to take a huge pay cut.

  17. By darrenurban on Feb 20, 2010 | Reply

    Nathan —

    I am pretty sure Tucson knew exactly to whom I was referring. He decided to throw out a little blog sarcasm. I can take it.

  18. By Chris on Feb 21, 2010 | Reply

    What are the chances of Toler lining up opposite of DRC? I know he is still raw talent but I believe the few bits of play I saw from him had definite promise.

  19. By darrenurban on Feb 21, 2010 | Reply

    Chris —

    I think there is a good chance of that, depending on how far Toler comes in the offseason.

  20. By John on Feb 21, 2010 | Reply

    I was reading a blog on that said the Panthers could try to franchise Peppers and trade him. The author noted that it could work best for “the Final 8” teams who will have trouble signing free agents.
    With that being said, why wouldn’t the Cards franchise Dansby and see what they could pry from The Chargers, Saints, or Colts (who all need LB help)?
    Yes, it is risky,(15 mil is too much) but worst case is you have a overpaid LB in an uncapped year (not killing you in cap space) and allow the cards to skip drafting a ILB this year high. (You know his effort will be there because he will be in another contract year.) Best case, you get another player/players or draft pick/picks. I could see the Saints upgrading Fujita or Shanlie or Colts upgrading Session or Wheeler . The Chargers need help and must fix the Rb with the first pick.Cromartie trade allows them to upgrade at LB and still keep a #1 and #2 pick.
    What is your feelings about this ? Tell me these 3 teams don’t want Dansby, but cant get him because of “final 8”.

  21. By darrenurban on Feb 21, 2010 | Reply

    John —

    I understand the concept, but it’s too much of a risk with $16 million at stake. The Cards have no leverage in a trade because everyone would know they are trying to deal Dansby. I just don’t see it.

  22. By John on Feb 21, 2010 | Reply

    To Nathan,
    Filling in the blanks
    1. either draft Shawn Witherspoon (Missouri) in the first round or Daryl Washington (TCU) in the 2nd.Don’t like FA’s.

    2.Get As much as they can. I think the Ravens or Jets make a play. Aeneas Williams went for a 2nd and 4th late in his career. Although I want more for Boldin, I see one of those teams making the deal.

    3. Watch the Ram situation. Rumors are Bulger is on his way out. Bulger would be a nice veteren to back up (and only back up) Leinart.

    Cards should have no intrest in Peppers. Not the right fit. They should go after Joey Porter when he is released. They should look long and hard at whether or not Franklin (49ers) or Hampton (steelers) are not franchised and make a play for one of these NTs. I am also leaning towards franchising Dansby. Yes, its way too much money and it’s not my money. But with the shortness of good LB’s in Free agency, I think they could trade him. As I said before, Saints, Chargers, Colts and the Patriots could make a play for him. As for corner, I like this years draft class. Several good player will be there in the 2nd round. But I wouldn’t mind a Dansby-Cromartie trade or Signing Dunta Robinson.
    But If Boldin is traded and Dansby walks, I would love to see the cards draft look like this;
    1st- Brandon Graham OLB / If gone- Shawn Witherspoon
    2nd- Dominique Franks (CB),Perrish Cox(cb) or Jerome
    Murphy (cb) Whoevers left in that order
    2nd- (Boldin trade) Jerry Hughes OLB/ or Daryl
    Washington ILB (depending on first round)
    3rd- I would love to have Anthony McCoy TE still be
    4th- John Jerry OG huge and powerful.
    4th- Boldin trade – Sean Canfield QB

    Just my opinion

  23. By John on Feb 21, 2010 | Reply

    Sometimes risk are worth taking. Even getting a third and 6th would be worth the risk. I get it that the Cards and You aren’t for it. It makes sense. He is not worth 16 million. At first, I thought that. But look at the free agent list. Now, you are the Saints or Patriots, Would you not give up something for Dansby? Especially the Patriots , who can’t stand being anything other than #1. They got old and Dansby would fit nicely.
    I feel like its Jamir Miller or Ken Harvey all over again. Good LB leaving and we get nothing.
    Yes, we don’t have leverage now. But if two teams want him (and I could see that) , we now have enough leverage to get something for him. Roll the dice Cards !

  24. By richard romero on Feb 28, 2010 | Reply

    if we lose both dansby, and rolle would you resign boldin, and just fill holes through the draft.

  25. By darrenurban on Feb 28, 2010 | Reply

    Richard —

    Honestly, I don’t think the defensive guys impact Boldin.

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