2010 Franchise Deadline Passes in the NFL

New England Patriots mammoth NT Vince Wilfork was one of six NFL players  tagged as a “franchise” player at the 2010 franchise player deadline

Thursday February 25th at 4 PM was the last chance for NFL teams to “franchise” tag their potential free agents for the 2010 NFL season.  The franchise tag allows for a team to limit a potential free agent’s movements under the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA). This year teams were allowed to use one franchise tag and two transition tags (average of Top 10 position salaries and first refusal for a player’s designating team) before the start of the Free Agency signing period (March 5th).

The salary level offered by the designating team determines whether the player is an Exclusive or Non-Exclusive franchise player.  Franchised players are paid at the highest level of their position (average of the top-five salaries at their position).  An “exclusive” franchise player is not free to sign with another team, while a “non-exclusive” franchise player can negotiate with the other teams, but the franchising club has a right to match or receive compensation.

Last year there was an NFL-high 14 free agents that were designated as “franchise” players, which eclipsed the former high of eleven from 2005 and 2008. But with CBA negotiations on-going and potential labor unrest lurking in the form of a 2011 lockout, teams seemed very cautious at placing franchise or transition tags on players this offseason.

Usually most teams use the franchise tag as a way to initiate talks for a long-term contract.  But sometimes “franchise” players and their agents are extremely unhappy and can cause distractions due to the loss of “upfront” signing bonus money (guaranteed $$$).  Though franchised players will be paid at the average of the top-five salaries at their position, players typically want the big payday that comes with being a marquee free agent.  In the past, we have seen franchised players miss off season training activities (OTA’s) and report late or holdout of training camp (ex. Seattle Seahawks Offensive Tackle Walter Jones in 2004 & 2005). 

The player most likely to follow in the disgruntled “I am not reporting” pattern is New England Patriots defensive tackle Vince Wilfork.  The former Pro Bowl fire hydrant nose tackle either wanted a long term deal or an opportunity to shop around his much sought after skills.  Unfortunately for the former University of Miami star, the Patriots understood his value and were more than willing to pay Wilfork’s franchise amount of a $7.003 million salary for 2010.

The next big milestone for franchised players is in July 2010 since that is the last chance for franchising teams to sign them to a long term deal.  If no long term deal is struck by July, the franchised player can only play under their one-year franchise contract for the 2010 season.

Here are the anticipated salaries for players tagged with either a franchise or transition tag.  Quarterbacks: $16.405 million (franchise), $14.546 million (transition); Defensive Ends: $12.398m, $10.193m; Offensive Lineman: $10.731m, $9.142m; Linebackers: $9.680m, $8.373m; Cornerbacks: $9.566m, $8.056m; Wide Receivers: $9.521m, $8.651m; Running Backs: $8.156m, $7.151m; Defensive Tackles: $7.003m, $6.353m; Safeties: $6.455m, $6.011m; Tight Ends: $5.908m, $5.248m; and Kickers/Punters: $2.814m, $2.629m

 2010 Franchise Designated Players

San Francisco 49ers NT Aubrayo Franklin

Seattle Seahawks kicker Olindo Mare

Pittsburgh Steelers kicker Jeff Reed

Green Bay Packers DT Ryan Pickett

Oakland Raiders DE Richard Seymour (exclusive – not free to sign w/ another team)

New England Patriots NT Vince Wilfork

Now the real fun will start on March 5th as free agents like safety Darren Sharper, DE Julius Peppers, LB Karlos Dansby, CB Dunta Robinson and others hit the open market.

 

 

Lloyd Vance is a Sr. NFL Writer for Taking It to the House and an award-winning member of the Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA)

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NFL Franchise Player Long-Term Deal Deadline on July 15th

The date of July 15th may just appear to be another slow stop on the long road to NFL training camps at the end of July.  But that date marks a significant event on the NFL’s “business” calendar, as it is the last day for “Franchised” players to sign a long-term deal with their teams.  If a franchised player is unable to workout a long-term deal by the end of July 15th then the player can only agree to play under the terms of their 1-year franchise deal for the upcoming NFL season (ex. Carolina Panthers DE Julius Peppers’ 1-year franchise deal is for approximately $16.7 Million).

Already as of July 14th, the Kansas City Chiefs locked-up franchised quarterback Matt Cassel by signing him to a multi-year contract extension. According to league sources, the 6-year deal is worth $63 million, with $28 million guaranteed.  The new deal is the second big jump in salary for Cassel, who played for basically for the first time since high school in 2008 when filled-in for injured teammate Tom Brady, in the last year. 

The former USC back-up quarterback already was scheduled to make $14.561 million for one year after he was designated as the New England Patriots’ franchise player in February.  But New England was soon off the hook to pay the former back-up as Cassel was traded to the Chiefs along with linebacker Mike Vrabel for a second-round draft choice during the 2009 NFL Draft.  Chiefs owner Clark Hunt said of the signing of his new franchise passer, “We are excited to be able to reach a long-term agreement for Matt Cassel to be a Kansas City Chief for many years to come, his proven leadership on and off the field will be a tremendous asset to the organization.”

You can definitely say that the whole being franchised experience has worked-out for Cassel, which seems to be a rarity in today’s NFL.  Though players will accept 1-year deals where they are paid on the level of the Top 5 players at their position, most often the loss of guaranteed money – the holy grail in the non-guaranteed contract world of the NFL – usually causes animosity between players, agents, and teams (see the case of the Eagles and former DT Corey Simon). 

Recently players and agents have become more creative in putting in contract incentives on their franchise 1-year deals that stipulate if a player reaches the agreed to incentive that the team cannot use the franchise tag in the following year and the player is free to negotiate with any team – former Patriots CB Asante Samuel moved to the Eagles under such an arrangement.

Let’s take a look at how the 14 players franchised during the Free Agency Period in February 2009 have fared so far.

LB Karlos Dansby, UFA Arizona Cardinals – signed 1-year franchise deal w/ terms for $9.678 million

LB Leroy Hill, Seattle Seahawks – was cut then re-signed by his former team w/ terms six years, $38 million

P Michael Koenen, Atlanta Falcons – signed 1-year franchise deal w/ terms for $2.483 million

TE Bo Scaife, Tennessee Titans – signed 1-year franchise deal w/ terms for $4.46 million

OT Max Starks, Pittsburgh Steelers — signed a long-term deal w/ terms four years, $25 million

S Oshiomogho “O.J” Atogwe, St Louis Rams – 

signed 1-year franchise deal w/ terms for $6.34 million

WR Antonio Bryant, Tampa Bay Buccaneers – signed 1-year franchise deal w/ terms for $9.884 million

QB Matt Cassel, NE Patriots – traded to KC then signed a long-term deal w/ terms six years, $63 million

K Shayne Graham, Cincinnati Bengals – signed 1-year franchise deal w/ terms for $2.483 million

RB Brandon Jacobs, New York Giants — signed a long-term deal w/ terms four years, $25 million

DL Julius Peppers, Carolina Panthers – signed 1-year franchise deal w/ terms for $16.7 million

CB Dunta Robinson, Houston Texans – Has not signed his 1-year franchise deal, possible holdout

RB Darren Sproles, San Diego Chargers – signed 1-year franchise deal w/ terms for $6.621 million

OLB/DE Terrell Suggs, Baltimore Ravens – signed a long-term deal w/ terms six years, $38 million guaranteed

Hopefully the only franchised player Texans CB Dunta Robinson, who has yet to sign any contract, will not holdout into training camp.  Holdouts are not good for anyone from the team to fans to the player himself and they sometimes can derail a career – see QB Akilli Smith, QB Ryan Leaf, and RB Larry Johnson. 

 

Lloyd Vance is a Sr. NFL Writer for Taking It to the House and an award winning member of the Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA)

Ravens LB Suggs Getting Closer to a Long-Term Deal

A recent story in the Baltimore Sun reported that Ravens Pro Bowl linebacker Terrell Suggs said he is nearing a long-term deal with the team. “We are close to an agreement. We just have a few little things to work out,” Suggs told the paper. “I don’t want to go into great detail, but it’s things like the years of the agreement and incentives, but the basic framework has been done.”

The move by the Ravens and their star pass rusher was probably initiated due to the league mandated rule that a player receiving the “franchise” tag has until July 15th to sign a new deal. If a deal between the two sides cannot be struck, Suggs would play the 2009 season under the franchise tag for a second straight season, earning the NFL salary cap unfriendly sum of $10.2 million dollars and leaving an opening for him to be free agent in March 2010.  Suggs, 26, is considered one of the best defensive stars in the NFL along with players like Steelers LB James Harrison and Cowboys LB DeMarcus Ware.   Suggs was the Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2003 and has made the Pro Bowl three times since while producing 53 sacks and 5 interceptions in his career.

Though Suggs was a big part of the Ravens being ranked first in turnovers for the 2008 NFL season (34 turnovers — 26 interceptions and 8 fumbles recovered), you have to wonder if the Ravens will be able to meet his high demands.  This offseason the Ravens already re-signed veteran LB Ray Lewis (seven-year contract through 2015 that will pay him $10 Million in year one) and other players (S Ed Reed, NT Haloti Ngata and FB Le’Ron McClain) will be looking for future paydays too. Of the rumors that he would be the highest paid defensive player in football, Suggs said “No, that’s not true, but that’s cool if people want to believe that. Being one of the highest paid players has never been my motivation. I just wanted to be paid what is fair, what I think I’ve earned.”

As training camps getting closer in late July, it will be interesting to see if Suggs and fellow franchised players (Cardinals LB Karlos Dansby, Titans TE Bo Scaife, Rams Safety Oshiomogho “O.J” Atogwe, Chiefs QB Matt Cassel, Panthers DE Julius Peppers, and Texans CB Dunta Robinson) will either sign new long term deals, play under their 1-year franchise deals, or in some cases holdout.

Free Agency 101: The 2009 Free Agency Period is here and NFL teams are ready to shop

(Philadelphia, Pa) — Remember “Alan Faneca”, all you fans out there with dreams of signing a free agent and moving instantly into Super Bowl contention.  Faneca was one of the 2008 free agency period’s biggest fishes out there.  The former 7-time Pro Bowl guard signed a deal of a lifetime (5 years, $40 Million with $21 Million guaranteed) that made him the highest paid offensive lineman at the time to leave the frugal Pittsburg Steelers to sign with New York Jets owner Woody Johnson’s “deep pocketed” team.  The moves of bringing in Faneca and fellow free agency pickups outside linebacker Calvin Pace and right tackle Damien Woody plus trades for quarterback Brett Favre and defensive tackle Kris Jenkins were supposed to instantly hand the J-E-T-S the AFC East crown.  Well, now we know that the Jets, despite a massive off-season spending spree, did not reach the postseason for the second straight year finishing with a disappointing 9-7 record including going 1-4 in their final five games — lost to Denver, San Francisco, Seattle and Miami (lost division title at home) and barely beat Buffalo. I am sure Johnson was “giddy” seeing the return on his investment when the Jets were on the sidelines come playoff time watching the upstart AFC East champion Miami Dolphins.

I am sure during the 2008 season NFL team general managers and owners paid particular attention to the Jets’ fortunes to see the affect of extravagant free agency spending on a team.  The Jets and the equally luxurious Dallas Cowboys expected to win after shopping at Neiman Marcus in the offseason for players.  But not so fast…. as both teams didn’t even make the playoffs and it was the Pittsburgh Steelers fueled by home grown talent cultivated through the draft (James Harrison, Santonio Holmes, Ben Roethlisberger, Casey Hampton and others) who were hoisting the Super Bowl XLIII Lombardi trophy.  The Steelers proved that building a solid nucleus through the draft and playing as a “team” are the greatest keys to winning in the NFL rather than trying to buy a championship.  The Steelers confirmed the same successful formula that the Colts, Patriots, and Giants have subscribed to for years by looking to the draft first to build their teams — Did you notice all of these teams have recently won a Super Bowl.  Over the years I have always told disgruntled spend-happy fans, “Good teams fill weaknesses on their roster with solid veteran players and draft picks and bad ones try to make a splash by over spending for ‘Big Name’ free agents and usually fall apart due to non-cohesiveness”.

Timeframe: Begins at 12:01 a.m. EST on Friday, February 27th and runs to April 17th at 4 PM EST for restricted free agents

Salary Cap Information: The 2009 salary cap has been set for $124 million per team, which is $7.3 million higher than last year’s figure of $116.7 Million.  Remember TV and the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) have dictated the large pot of money that is out there.  Most of the teams are in good shape going into the free agency signing period due to good cap management.   Solid teams usually make good cap decisions (Cutting of high priced veterans, extending young ascending players, and signing value veterans at the league minimum: $750,000).  Teams with plenty of cap room (signing dollars) include: Arizona Cardinals ($40 Million under the Salary Cap as of February 27th), Detroit Lions ($39 Million under) Tampa Bay Buccaneers ($38 Million under), Kansas City Chiefs ($38 Million under), Tennessee Titans ($31 Million under), Philadelphia Eagles ($31 Million under), and Buffalo Bills ($26 Million under). While others like the Washington Redskins ($7 Million over the cap), New Orleans Saints ($6 Million over), Indianapolis Colts ($4 Million over), New York Jets ($1 Million over), Oakland Raiders ($8 Million under), New England Patriots ($5 Million under) and Dallas Cowboys ($3 Million under) will need to do some slashing and contract restructuring before trying to sign their upcoming draft picks and desired free agents.

Number of Free Agents: The National Football League announced that over 400 players are free agents of some kind and they can now negotiate with all 32 teams. That number includes the 14 free agents that were designated as “franchise” players, which is an NFL-high surpassing the former high of 11 from 2005 and 2008.

Possible CBA Issues Lurking – At the 2008 Annual NFL Spring Meeting, NFL owners while crying broke over salaries that now encompass 60% of yearly revenues, exercised a clause (had until November 8, 2008 to do so) by a unanimous vote (32-0) to shorten the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) with the NFL Players Association (NFLPA). The vote meant that the CBA that was originally signed in 1993 (Extended several times including the last time in 2006) would expire in 2011 instead of 2013. There have been murmurs of a possible lockout in 2012 if the owners and players cannot come together on a new CBA.  A few key items that will need to be discussed in the new CBA are the scheduled “uncapped” year in 2010, new free agency rules (years of services, team player rights, the franchise tag) and a potential rookie salary cap.  But who could blame the owners for talking about a rookie salary cap with deals like 2008 NFL Draft first overall selection Dolphins offensive tackle Jake Long’s rookie contract (5 years, $57.5 Million dollars including a signing bonus of $30 Million dollars) and that was before he even stepped on the playing field.  NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said when making the announcement at the ’08 meeting of opting out of the current CBA, “We don’t need further time to analyze whether this is working or not working. It’s not working”.   The Commish added, “It was the ownership’s view that it’s not a failure of the negotiations, it’s a failure of the deal”. It will be real interesting to see how the whole potential CBA mess is handled since the NFLPA still has not settled on a successor for former NFLPA head the late Gene Upshaw.

Key Terms:

Restricted Free Agent – A player that has accrued three seasons of playing time and their contract has expired.  The player’s team must submit a “qualifying” offer (a salary level predetermined by the Collective Bargaining Agreement between the league and its players). The player can negotiate with any team through April 17th. If the restricted free agent accepts an offer sheet from a new team, his old team can match the offer and retain him because it has the “right of first refusal.” If the old team does not match the offer, it can possibly receive draft-choice compensation depending on the amount of its qualifying offer. If an offer sheet is not executed, the player’s rights revert to his old team after April 17th.  These are guys that usually have trade value and their team will only let them go at their price (ex. The Eagles trading restricted free agent quarterback AJ Feeley to the Miami Dolphins for a 2nd Round pick in 2005)

 Some of the bigger name restricted free agents:

DL Victor Adeyanju, RFA St. Louis Rams 

WR Miles Austin, RFA Dallas Cowboys 

WR Hank Baskett, RFA Philadelphia Eagles

SS Atari Bigby, RFA Green Bay Packers 

TE Dominique Byrd, RFA St. Louis Rams

C/G Nick Cole, RFA Philadelphia Eagles

OT Willie Colon, RFA Pittsburgh Steelers 

TE Tony Curtis, RFA Dallas Cowboys

OG Jahri Evans, RFA New Orleans Saints 

CB Cortland Finnegan, RFA Tennessee Titans 

CB Charles Gordon, RFA Minnesota Vikings 

OG Richie Incognito, RFA St. Louis Rams 

TE Jeff King, RFA Carolina Panthers

P Sam Koch, RFA Baltimore Ravens 

SS Dawan Landry, RFA Baltimore Ravens 

FS Anthony Madison, RFA Pittsburgh Steelers 

DL Stanley McClover, RFA Carolina Panthers

WR Lance Moore, RFA New Orleans Saints 

LB Quentin Moses, RFA Miami Dolphins 

TE Ben Patrick, RFA Arizona Cardinals 

TE Leonard Pope, RFA Arizona Cardinals 

FS Anthony Smith, RFA Pittsburgh Steelers 

DL Gabe Watson, RFA Arizona Cardinals 

Unrestricted Free Agent – A player with four or more accrued seasons whose contract has expired. He is free to sign with any team, with no compensation owed to their former team.  These are the guys that should be thanking Reggie White, a key marquee player who fought hard for free agency and eventually was able to sign a huge deal with the Green Bay Packers back in 1993. Over 300 players have this designation. 

Some Bigger Name Unrestricted Free Agents:

QB Kerry Collins, UFA Tennessee Titans 

QB Jeff Garcia, UFA Tampa Bay Buccaneers 

QB Rex Grossman, UFA Chicago Bears 

QB Byron Leftwich, UFA Pittsburgh Steelers 

QB Chris Simms, UFA Tennessee Titans 

QB Kurt Warner, UFA Arizona Cardinals 

RB J.J. Arrington, UFA Arizona Cardinals 

RB Cedric Benson, UFA Cincinnati Bengals 

RB Correll Buckhalter, UFA Philadelphia Eagles

RB Kevin Jones, UFA Chicago Bears 

RB Derrick Ward, UFA New York Giants 

FB Lorenzo Neal, UFA Baltimore Ravens 

WR Devery Henderson, UFA New Orleans Saints 

WR T.J. Houshmandzadeh, UFA Cincinnati Bengals 

WR Michael Jenkins, UFA Atlanta Falcons

WR Brandon Jones, UFA Tennessee Titans 

WR Brandon Lloyd, UFA Chicago Bears 

WR Amani Toomer, UFA New York Giants

TE Chris Baker, UFA New York Jets

TE Owen Daniels, UFA Houston Texans

TE L.J. Smith, UFA Philadelphia Eagles

TE Jerramy Stevens, UFA Tampa Bay Buccaneers

OT Stacy Andrews, UFA Cincinnati Bengals

C Matt Birk, UFA Minnesota Vikings 

C Jason Brown, UFA Baltimore Ravens

OT Marc Colombo, UFA Dallas Cowboys 

OT Jon Runyan, UFA Philadelphia Eagles 

C Jeff Saturday, UFA Indianapolis Colts 

OT Marvel Smith, UFA Pittsburgh Steelers 

OT Mark Tauscher, UFA Green Bay Packers

OT Tra Thomas, UFA Philadelphia Eagles 

DL Chris Canty, UFA Dallas Cowboys

DL Tommie Harris, UFA Chicago Bears 

DL Albert Haynesworth, UFA Tennessee Titans 

DL Tank Johnson, UFA Dallas Cowboys 

DL Igor Olshansky, UFA San Diego Chargers

LB Michael Boley, UFA Atlanta Falcons

LB James Farrior, UFA Pittsburgh Steelers 

LB Ray Lewis, UFA Baltimore Ravens 

LB Willie McGinest, UFA Cleveland Browns 

LB Mike Peterson, UFA Jacksonville Jaguars

LB Bart Scott, UFA Baltimore Ravens 

LB Zach Thomas, UFA Dallas Cowboys 

LB Jonathan Vilma, UFA New Orleans Saints 

CB Chris Gamble, UFA Carolina Panthers 

CB Jabari Greer, UFA Buffalo Bills

CB Corey Ivy, UFA Baltimore Ravens 

CB Ty Law, UFA New York Jets

CB Bryant McFadden, UFA Pittsburgh Steelers  

FS Brian Dawkins, UFA Philadelphia Eagles 

SS Rodney Harrison, UFA New England Patriots 

SS Sean Jones, UFA Cleveland Browns 

SS Darren Sharper, UFA Minnesota Vikings 

PK John Carney, UFA New York Giants 

PK Robbie Gould, UFA Chicago Bears 

PK John Kasay, UFA Carolina Panthers 

PK Matt Stover, UFA Baltimore Ravens

Transition Player – A team can designate one transition player (or one franchise player) in any given year. The player’s team must offer a minimum of the average of the top 10 salaries of last season at the player’s position or 120 percent of the player’s previous year’s salary, whichever is greater (ex. Transition Salary for a RB in 2009 is $5.925 Million). A transition player designation gives the team a first-refusal right to match within seven days any offer sheet given to the player by another team after his contract expires. If the team matches, it retains the player. If it does not match, it receives no compensation.

  • No players were designated as a “Transition Player” this year.

Non-Exclusive Franchise Player – A team can designate one franchise player in any given year as a “Non-Exclusive Franchise” player. The salary level offered by the designating team determines whether the player is an Exclusive or Non-Exclusive franchise player. A “Non-Exclusive” franchise player is free to sign with other teams, but his team has the right to match the offer after 7 days. These types of free agents are offered a minimum of the average of the top five salaries at the player’s position as of April.  A Non-Exclusive Franchised Player can solicit deals from other teams, but his current team has first-refusal rights to match within seven days any offer sheet. If the player does sign and his team matches, the old team retains the player. If old team does not match, the old team receives compensation in the form of draft picks (usually first rounders) from the new team depending on the level they were tendered at originally.  The deadline for making these designations for 2009 was Feb. 19th.

LB Karlos Dansby, UFA Arizona Cardinals

LB Leroy Hill, UFA Seattle Seahawks 

P Michael Koenen, UFA Atlanta Falcons

TE Bo Scaife, UFA Tennessee Titans

OT Max Starks, UFA Pittsburgh Steelers

Exclusive Franchise Player – A team can designate one franchise player in any given year as an “Exclusive Franchise” player. The salary level offered by the designating team determines whether the player is an Exclusive or Non-Exclusive franchise player. An “exclusive” franchise player is not free to sign with another team.  These type of players are offered a minimum of the average of the top five salaries at the player’s position as of April.  Some teams use the tag as a way to initiate talks for a long-term contract, but usually players and their agents that are designated as exclusive franchise players are extremely unhappy and can cause distractions.  Their angst is due to the loss of an “upfront” signing bonus (guaranteed $$$).  Though they will be paid at the highest level of their position, players typically want the big payday that comes with being a free agent.  In the past we have seen franchised players miss all non-mandatory off season training activities and report late or holdout of training camp (ex. Seattle Seahawks Offensive Tackle Walter Jones in 2004 & 2005). The deadline for making these designations for 2009 was Feb. 19th. Here are the anticipated salaries for franchised players Quarterbacks: $14.65 Million, Cornerbacks: $9.96 Million, Defensive Ends: $8.99 Million, Linebackers: $8.30 Million, Wide Receivers: $9.88 Million, Offensive Lineman: $8.45 Million, Defensive Tackles: $6.06 Million, Running Backs: $6.62 Million, Tight Ends: $4.46 Million, Safeties: $6.34 Million, and Kickers/Punters: $2.48 Million

2009 “Exclusive” Franchise Designated Players

S Oshiomogho “O.J” Atogwe, UFA St Louis Rams

WR Antonio Bryant, UFA Tampa Bay Buccaneers

QB Matt Cassel, UFA New England Patriots

K Shayne Graham, UFA, Cinncinati Bengals

RB Brandon Jacobs, UFA New York Giants

DL Julius Peppers, UFA Carolina Panthers 

CB Dunta Robinson, UFA Houston Texans 

RB Darren Sproles, UFA San Diego Chargers

OLB/DE Terrell Suggs, UFA Baltimore Ravens

Cap Casualty – A veteran player that has been released from his contract usually as “cap relief” for his former team.  These players are usually let go before Free Agency or before their contract bonuses incentives kick-in usually around March or June prior to OTA’s and training camp.  Veteran “street” free agents are eligible to sign with any team as soon as they are released, thus bypassing free agency period dates.

Some Bigger Name 2009 Cap Casualty Players

St. Louis Rams WR Drew Bennett

Detroit Lions CB Leigh Bodden

Tampa Bay Buccaneers LB Derrick Brooks

Detroit Lions TE Dan Campbell

Oakland Raiders WR Ronald Curry

NY Giants RB Reuben Droughns

Tampa Bay Buccaneers RB Warrick Dunn

Kansas City Chiefs LB Donnie Edwards

Oakland Raiders LB Kalimba Edwards

Jacksonville Jaguars CB Drayton Florence

Pittsburgh Steelers LB Larry Foote (expected to be released or traded by NFL Draft)

Detroit Lions WR Mike Furrey

Tampa Bay Buccaneers WR Joey Galloway

Houston Texans RB Ahmad Green

Houston Texans LB Morlon Greenwood

Oakland Raiders OL Kwame Harris

Indianapolis Colts WR Marvin Harrison

St. Louis Rams WR Torry Holt (expected to be released or traded by NFL Draft)

Kansas City Chiefs QB Damon Huard

Arizona Cardinals RB Edge James (expected to be released or traded by NFL Draft)

Dallas Cowboys CB Adam “Pacman” Jones

Detroit Lions QB Jon Kitna (expected to be released by NFL Draft)

NY Giants DB Sammy Knight

NY Giants DB Sam Madison

Baltimore Ravens DB Chris McAllister

New Orleans Saints RB Deuce McAllister

Atlanta Falcons S Lawyer Milloy

Detroit Lions guard Edwin Mulitalo

Dallas Cowboys WR Terrell Owens (expected to be released or traded by NFL Draft)

St. Louis Rams OT Orlando Pace (expected to be released or traded by NFL Draft)

Jacksonville Jaguars WR Jerry Porter

Denver Broncos DT DeWayne Robertson

Detroit Lions DB Dwight Smith

San Francisco 49ers DB Shawntae Spencer (expected to be released by NFL Draft)

Kansas City Chiefs CB Patrick Surtain

Jacksonville Jaguars RB Fred Taylor

Oakland Raiders WR Javon Walker (expected to be released by NFL Draft)

Oakland Raiders S Gibril Wilson

Players signing new deals with their old team, thus avoiding free agency

Oakland Raiders CB Nnamdi Asomugha

Tennessee Titans K Rob Bironas

Miami Dolphins OT Vernon Carey

Miami Dolphins LB Channing Crowder

Carolina Panthers OT Jordan Gross

Detroit Lions K Jason Hanson

Indianapolis Colts CB Kelvin Hayden

Oakland Raiders P Shane Lechler

Tampa Bay Buccaneers DT Ryan Simms

 

  

Lloyd Vance is a Sr. NFL Writer for Taking It to the House and an award-winning member of the Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA)

2009 Top NFL Free Agents

With the 2009 NFL Free Agency period approaching fast (February 27th), I thought that I would put together my top free agent by position.

** Indicates a player that has been “franchised” by their team

Quarterbacks

QB Kyle Boller, UFA Baltimore Ravens 

 **QB Matt Cassel, UFA New England Patriots 

QB Kerry Collins, UFA Tennessee Titans 

QB Jeff Garcia, UFA Tampa Bay Buccaneers 

QB Rex Grossman, UFA Chicago Bears 

QB Byron Leftwich, UFA Pittsburgh Steelers 

QB J.P. Losman, UFA Buffalo Bills 

QB Dan Orlovsky, UFA Detroit Lions

QB JT O’Sullivan, UFA San Francisco 49ers

QB Chris Simms, UFA Tennessee Titans 

QB Kurt Warner, UFA Arizona Cardinals 

 Running Backs

RB J.J. Arrington, UFA Arizona Cardinals 

RB Tatum Bell, UFA Denver Broncos

RB Cedric Benson, UFA Cincinnati Bengals 

RB Correll Buckhalter, UFA Philadelphia Eagles 

RB Warrick Dunn, UFA Tampa Bay Buccaneers

RB DeShaun Foster, UFA San Francisco 49ers

RB Ahmad Green, UFA Houston Texans

**RB Brandon Jacobs, UFA New York Giants

RB Edgerrin James, UFA Arizona Cardinals  (expected to be released)

RB Rudi Johnson, UFA Detroit Lions

RB Kevin Jones, UFA Chicago Bears 

RB LaMont Jordan, UFA New England Patriots 

RB Deuce McAllister, UFA New Orleans Saints

RB Chris Perry, UFA Cinncinati Bengals

RB Dominic Rhodes, UFA Indianapolis Colts

**RB Darren Sproles, UFA San Diego Chargers 

RB Fred Taylor, UFA Jacksonville Jaguars

RB Derrick Ward, UFA New York Giants 

Fullbacks

FB Heath Evans, UFA New England Patriots 

FB Lorenzo Neal, UFA Baltimore Ravens 

FB Tony Richardson, UFA New York Jets 

FB Leonard Weaver, UFA Seattle Seahawks 

Wide Receivers

WR Miles Austin, RFA Dallas Cowboys 

WR Hank Baskett, RFA Philadelphia Eagles

WR Drew Bennett, UFA St. Louis Rams

**WR Antonio Bryant, UFA Tampa Bay Buccaneers 

WR Michael Clayton, UFA Tampa Bay Buccaneers 

WR Ronald Curry, UFA Oakland Raiders

WR Jabar Gaffney, UFA New England Patriots 

WR Joey Galloway, UFA Tampa Bay Buccaneers

WR Devery Henderson, UFA New Orleans Saints 

WR T.J. Houshmandzadeh, UFA Cincinnati Bengals 

WR Michael Jenkins, UFA Atlanta Falcons

WR Bryant Johnson, UFA San Francisco 49ers 

WR Brandon Jones, UFA Tennessee Titans 

WR Brandon Lloyd, UFA Chicago Bears 

WR Dane Looker, UFA St. Louis Rams

WR Justin McCareins, UFA Tennessee Titans 

WR Shaun McDonald, UFA Detroit Lions 

WR Lance Moore, RFA New Orleans Saints 

WR Jerry Porter, UFA Jacksonville Jaguars

WR Amani Toomer, UFA New York Giants

WR Javon Walker, UFA Oakland Raiders

WR Nate Washington, UFA Pittsburgh Steelers 

WR Reggie Williams, UFA Jacksonville Jaguars

Tight Ends

TE Mark Bruener, UFA Houston Texans

TE Dominique Byrd, RFA St. Louis Rams

TE Desmond Clark, UFA Chicago Bears 

TE Tony Curtis, RFA Dallas Cowboys

TE Owen Daniels, UFA Houston Texans

TE Darnell Dinkins, UFA Cleveland Browns 

TE Bubba Franks, UFA New York Jets

TE Jeff King, RFA Carolina Panthers 

TE Jim Kleinsasser, UFA Minnesota Vikings 

TE Ben Patrick, RFA Arizona Cardinals 

TE Leonard Pope, RFA Arizona Cardinals 

**TE Bo Scaife, UFA Tennessee Titans

TE L.J. Smith, UFA Philadelphia Eagles 

TE Jerramy Stevens, UFA Tampa Bay Buccaneers

TE Daniel Wilcox, UFA Baltimore Ravens 

Offensive Line

OT Stacy Andrews, UFA Cincinnati Bengals

OT Khalif Barnes, UFA Jacksonville Jaguars 

C Matt Birk, UFA Minnesota Vikings 

C Jason Brown, UFA Baltimore Ravens 

C/G Nick Cole, RFA Philadelphia Eagles

OT Marc Colombo, UFA Dallas Cowboys 

OT Willie Colon, RFA Pittsburgh Steelers 

OG Jahri Evans, RFA New Orleans Saints 

OT George Foster, UFA Detroit Lions 

C Melvin Fowler, UFA Buffalo Bills 

OG Pete Kendall, UFA Washington Redskins

OG Richie Incognito, RFA St. Louis Rams 

OG Seth McKinney, UFA Cleveland Browns 

OT Jon Runyan, UFA Philadelphia Eagles 

C Jeff Saturday, UFA Indianapolis Colts 

OT Marvel Smith, UFA Pittsburgh Steelers 

**OT Max Starks, UFA Pittsburgh Steelers

OT Jon Stinchcomb, UFA New Orleans Saints 

OT Mark Tauscher, UFA Green Bay Packers 

OT Tra Thomas, UFA Philadelphia Eagles 

C Ben Wilkerson, UFA Atlanta Falcons 

Defensive Line

DL Victor Adeyanju, RFA St. Louis Rams 

DL Rocky Bernard, UFA Seattle Seahawks

DL Bertrand Berry, UFA Arizona Cardinals 

DL Chris Canty, UFA Dallas Cowboys

DL Tommie Harris, UFA Chicago Bears 

DL Albert Haynesworth, UFA Tennessee Titans 

DL Tank Johnson, UFA Dallas Cowboys 

DL Stanley McClover, RFA Carolina Panthers

DL Jerome McDougle, UFA New York Giants

DL Igor Olshansky, UFA San Diego Chargers

**DL Julius Peppers, UFA Carolina Panthers 

DL Kenny Peterson, UFA Denver Broncos 

DL Antonio Smith, UFA Arizona Cardinals

**OLB/DL Terrell Suggs, UFA Baltimore Ravens 

DL John Thornton, UFA Cincinnati Bengals 

DL Gabe Watson, RFA Arizona Cardinals 

Linebackers

LB Eric Barton, UFA New York Jets 

LB Monty Beisel, UFA Arizona Cardinals 

LB Michael Boley, UFA Atlanta Falcons

LB Keith Brooking, UFA Atlanta Falcons

LB Derrick Brooks, UFA Tampa Bay Buccaneers

**LB Karlos Dansby, UFA Arizona Cardinals

LB Andra Davis, UFA Cleveland Browns

LB Kalimba Edwards, UFA Oakland Raiders

LB James Farrior, UFA Pittsburgh Steelers 

LB Tyjuan Hagler, UFA Indianapolis Colts 

**LB Leroy Hill, UFA Seattle Seahawks

LB Napoleon Harrison, UFA Minnesota Vikings

LB Larry Izzo, UFA New England Patriots 

LB D.D. Lewis, UFA Seattle Seahawks 

LB Ray Lewis, UFA Baltimore Ravens 

LB Willie McGinest, UFA Cleveland Browns 

LB Quentin Moses, ERFA Miami Dolphins 

LB Mike Peterson, UFA Jacksonville Jaguars

LB Junior Seau, UFA New England Patriots

LB Bart Scott, UFA Baltimore Ravens 

LB Zach Thomas, UFA Dallas Cowboys 

LB Jonathan Vilma, UFA New Orleans Saints 

LB Nate Webster, UFA Denver Broncos 

Cornerbacks

CB Phillip Buchanon, UFA Tampa Bay Buccaneers 

CB/KR Chris Carr, UFA Tennessee Titans

CB Cortland Finnegan, RFA Tennessee Titans 

CB Domonique Foxworth, UFA Atlanta Falcons

CB Chris Gamble, UFA Carolina Panthers 

CB Andre’ Goodman, UFA Miami Dolphins 

CB Charles Gordon, RFA Minnesota Vikings 

CB Jabari Greer, UFA Buffalo Bills 

CB DeAngelo Hall, UFA Washington Redskins

CB Corey Ivy, UFA Baltimore Ravens 

CB Adam “Pacman” Jones, UFA Dallas Cowboys 

CB Eric King, UFA Tennessee Titans 

CB Ty Law, UFA New York Jets

CB Bryant McFadden, UFA Pittsburgh Steelers 

CB R.W. McQuarters, UFA New York Giants 

CB Justin Miller, UFA Oakland Raiders 

CB Deltha O’Neil, UFA New England Patriots

**CB Dunta Robinson, UFA Houston Texans 

CB/KR Allen Rossum, UFA San Francisco 49ers 

CB Duane Starks, UFA Oakland Raiders 

Safeties

FS Mike Adams, UFA Cleveland Browns 

FS Will Allen, UFA Tampa Bay Buccaneers 

**FS Oshiomogho “O.J” Atogwe, UFA St Louis Rams

SS Atari Bigby, RFA Green Bay Packers 

SS Mike Brown, UFA Chicago Bears 

FS Brian Dawkins, UFA Philadelphia Eagles 

SS Rodney Harrison, UFA New England Patriots 

FS Renaldo Hill, UFA Miami Dolphins 

SS Sean Jones, UFA Cleveland Browns 

SS Dawan Landry, RFA Baltimore Ravens 

SS/KR Jim Leonhard, UFA Baltimore Ravens

FS Anthony Madison, RFA Pittsburgh Steelers 

SS Jon McGraw, UFA Kansas City Chiefs 

SS Lawyer Milloy, UFA Atlanta Falcons 

SS Jermaine Phillips, UFA Tampa Bay Buccaneers

SS James Sanders, UFA New England Patriots 

SS Darren Sharper, UFA Minnesota Vikings 

FS Anthony Smith, RFA Pittsburgh Steelers

FS Eugene Wilson, UFA Houston Texans

FS Gibril Wilson, UFA Oakland Raiders 

Kickers and Punters

PK John Carney, UFA New York Giants 

PK Robbie Gould, UFA Chicago Bears 

**PK Shayne Graham, UFA Cincinnati Bengals

P Craig Hentrich, UFA Tennessee Titans 

PK John Kasay, UFA Carolina Panthers 

**P Michael Koenen, UFA Atlanta Falcons 

P Sam Koch, RFA Baltimore Ravens

PK Mike Nugent, UFA New York Jets 

PK Matt Stover, UFA Baltimore Ravens  

 

Lloyd Vance is a Sr. NFL Writer for Taking It to the House and an award-winning member of the Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA)

Franchise Deadline Passes in the NFL

(Philadelphia, Pa) — Thursday February 19th was the last day that NFL teams could “franchise” their potential free agents for the 2009 NFL season.  The franchise tag allows for a team to limit a potential free agent’s movements under the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA). A team can designate one franchise player in any given year as a “Franchise” player before the start of the Free Agency signing period (February 27th). The salary level offered by the designating team determines whether the player is an Exclusive or Non-Exclusive franchise player. This year there was an NFL-high 14 free agents that were designated as “franchise” players, which eclipsed the former high of eleven from 2005 and 2008.

Some teams use the tag as a way to initiate talks for a long-term contract, but usually “franchise” players and their agents are extremely unhappy and can cause distractions due to the loss of “upfront” signing bonus money (guaranteed $$$).  Though franchised players will be paid at the highest level of their position (average of the top-five salaries at their position), players typically want the big payday that comes with being a marquee free agent.  In the past, we have seen franchised players miss off season training activities (OTA’s) and report late or holdout of training camp (ex. Seattle Seahawks Offensive Tackle Walter Jones in 2004 & 2005). 

The player most likely to follow in the disgruntled “I am not reporting” pattern is Carolina Panther defensive end Julius Peppers.  The 2008 Pro Bowl player, who is coming off a career high of 14.5 sacks, wanted the opportunity to play elsewhere for Dwight Freeney type numbers (signed in 2007 for six years, $72 Million with a $30 Million dollar signing bonus).  But when the Panthers signed potential free agent tackle Jordan Gross to a long-term deal, Peppers lost his opportunity at leaving the only place he has played in collegiately and professionally.  Peppers went as far as saying he would only play for 4 teams (the Dallas Cowboys and three unnamed team), but he really has little leverage as Panthers will control his player rights for the next year.  The next date for franchised players to watch is July 22nd as that is the last day that their franchising team can sign them to a long term deal, if not the player can only sign their one-year franchise contract.

Here are the anticipated salaries for franchised players Quarterbacks: $14.65 Million, Cornerbacks: $9.96 Million, Defensive Ends: $8.99 Million, Linebackers: $8.30 Million, Wide Receivers: $9.88 Million, Offensive Lineman: $8.45 Million, Defensive Tackles: $6.06 Million, Running Backs: $6.62 Million, Tight Ends: $4.46 Million, Safeties: $6.34 Million, and Kickers/Punters: $2.48 Million. An “exclusive” franchise player is not free to sign with another team, while a “non-exclusive” franchise player can negotiate with the other teams, but the franchising club has a right to match or receive compensation.

2009 Franchise Designated Players

S Oshiomogho “O.J” Atogwe, UFA St Louis Rams

WR Antonio Bryant, UFA Tampa Bay Buccaneers

QB Matt Cassel, UFA New England Patriots

**LB Karlos Dansby, UFA Arizona Cardinals

K Shayne Graham, UFA, Cincinnati Bengals

**LB Leroy Hill, UFA Seattle Seahawks 

RB Brandon Jacobs, UFA New York Giants

**P Michael Koenen, UFA Atlanta Falcons

DL Julius Peppers, UFA Carolina Panthers 

CB Dunta Robinson, UFA Houston Texans 

**TE Bo Scaife, UFA Tennessee Titans

RB Darren Sproles, UFA San Diego Chargers

**OT Max Starks, UFA Pittsburgh Steelers

OLB/DE Terrell Suggs, UFA Baltimore Ravens

 ** Non-Exclusive

 

Lloyd Vance is a Sr. NFL Writer for Taking It to the House and an award-winning member of the Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA)

Free Agency 101: The 2008 Free Agency Period is Upon us and it is Time to Shop Around the NFL

(Philadelphia, Pa) — Remember “Nate Clements”, all you fans out there with dreams of signing a player and moving onto the Super Bowl.  Clements last year’s “big” free agent signed the deal of a lifetime (8 years, $80 Million with $22 Million guaranteed) going from financially poor Buffalo Bills to the “cash heavy” rebuilding San Francisco 49ers.  The moves of bringing in Clements and fellow free agency pickups safety Michael Lewis and receiver Ashley Lelie were supposed to move the Niners into NFC West title contention.  Well, now we know that the Niners limped home with a 5-11 record posting the NFL’s 4th worst Net Point differential of negative 145 points with Clements posting okay numbers (94 TKLs, 4 INTs, 1 Sack), but far the investment return expected.I am sure generals managers around the NFL took note during the 2007 season of the Niners fortunes.  The Niners expected to win after shopping at Neiman Marcus in the offseason for players.  But not so fast…. as we saw the New York Giants fueled by a good draft (Aaron Ross, Kevin Boss, Zak DeOssie, Jay Alford, and others) melded with key veterans hoisting the Super Bowl XLII Lombardi trophy.  The Giants proved that playing as a “team” is omnipotent in the NFL rather than trying to buy a championship.  The G-Men cemented the same successful formula that the Colts, Patriots, and Steelers have subscribed to for years by looking to the draft first to build their team — Did you notice all of these teams have recently won a Super Bowl.  Over the years I have always told disgruntled spend-happy fans, “Good teams fill weaknesses on their roster with solid veteran players and draft picks and bad ones try to make a splash with free agents and usually fall apart”.

Timeframe: Begins at 12:01 a.m. EST on Friday, February 29th and runs to April 20th at 4 PM EST for unrestricted free agents

Salary Cap Information: The salary cap this year has been set for $116 million per team, which is $7 million higher than last year’s figure of $109 Million.  Remember TV and the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) have dictated the large pot of money that is out there.  Most of the teams are in good shape going into the free agency signing period due to good cap management.   Solid teams usually make good cap decisions (Cutting of high priced veterans, extending young ascending players, and signing value veterans at the league minimum: $750,000).  Teams with plenty of cap room (signing dollars) include: Jaguars ($46.3 million), Titans ($42.7 Million), Bills ($39.6 Million), Vikings ($35.4 Million), and Saints ($35.2 Million). While others like the Redskins ($22 Million over the cap), Colts ($2.3 Million under), Panthers ($5.7 Million under), Rams ($7 Million under) and Ravens ($7.4 Million under) will need to do some slashing and contract restructuring before trying to sign their upcoming draft picks and desired free agents.  For the Birds fans the Eagles have $31.3 Million.

Number of Free Agents: The National Football League announced that over 400 players are free agents of some kind and they can now negotiate with all 32 teams. That number includes the 12 free agents that were designated as “franchise” or “transition” players.

Key Terms

Restricted Free Agent – A player that has accrued three seasons of playing time and their contract has expired.  The player’s team must submit a “qualifying” offer (a salary level predetermined by the Collective Bargaining Agreement between the league and its players). The player can negotiate with any team through April 20. If the restricted free agent accepts an offer sheet from a new team, his old team can match the offer and retain him because it has the “right of first refusal.” If the old team does not match the offer, it can possibly receive draft-choice compensation depending on the amount of its qualifying offer. If an offer sheet is not executed, the player’s rights revert to his old team after April 20.  These are guys that usually have trade value and their team will only let them go at their price (ex. The Eagles trading restricted free agent quarterback AJ Feeley to the Miami Dolphins for a 2nd Round pick in 2005)

Some of the bigger name restricted free agents:

Cleveland QB Derek Anderson

Dallas RB Marion Barber III

Atlanta OLB Michael Boley

Tennessee K Rob Bironas

Tennessee TE Bo Scaife

Kansas City P  Dustin Colquitt

St. Louis S  Oshiomogho Atogwe

Tampa Bay DT Jovan Haye,

Arizona T Elton Brown,

Baltimore G Jason Brown,

Arizona CB Eric Green

New England DT Mike Wright

Houston S C.C. Brown,

Indianapolis S Matt Giordano

Pittsburgh G Chris Kemoeatu

Unrestricted Free Agent – A player with four or more accrued seasons whose contract has expired. He is free to sign with any team, with no compensation owed to his old team, through July 22.  These are the guys that should be thanking Reggie White, a key marquee player who took advantage of free agency and was a huge signee in 1993 signing with the Green Bay Packers. Over 300 players have this designation. 

Some Bigger Name Unrestricted Free Agents:

New England  CB Asante Samuel

Chicago OLB Lance Briggs

New England WR Randy Moss (Book it that the Pats and Brady get him back)

Pittsburgh OG Alan Faneca

Dallas OT Flozell Adams

San Diego RB Michael Turner

Chicago WR Bernard Berrian

Seattle WR D.J. Hackett

Cincinnati DE Justin Smith

Arizona LB Calvin Pace

NY Giants FS Gibril Wilson

Oakland QB Daunte Culpepper

Cincinnati  S Madieu Williams

Dallas RB Julius Jones

Transition Player – A team can designate one transition player (or one franchise player) in any given year. The player’s team must offer a minimum of the average of the top 10 salaries of last season at the player’s position or 120 percent of the player’s previous year’s salary, whichever is greater. A transition player designation gives the team a first-refusal right to match within seven days an offer sheet given to the player by another team after his contract expires. If the team matches, it retains the player. If it does not match, it receives no compensation.

  • Pittsburgh Steelers Offensive Tackle Max Starks was the only player named as a “Transition Player” this year.

Non-Exclusive Franchise Player – A team can designate one franchise player in any given year as a “Non-Exclusive Franchise” player. The salary level offered by the designating team determines whether the player is an Exclusive or Non-Exclusive franchise player. A “Non-Exclusive” franchise player is free to sign with other teams, but his team has the right to match the offer after 7 days.  These type of players are offered a minimum of the average of the top five salaries at the player’s position as of April.  The deadline for making these designations for 2007 was Feb. 22.

  • Oakland CB Namandi Asomugha was the only player named as a “Non-exclusive” Franchise Players this year.

Exclusive Franchise Player – A team can designate one franchise player in any given year as an “Exclusive Franchise” player. The salary level offered by the designating team determines whether the player is an Exclusive or Non-Exclusive franchise player. An “exclusive” franchise player is not free to sign with another team.  These type of players are offered a minimum of the average of the top five salaries at the player’s position as of April.  Some teams use the tag as a way to initiate talks for a long-term contract, but usually players and their agents that are designated as exclusive franchise players are extremely unhappy and can cause distractions.  Their angst is due to the loss of an “upfront” signing bonus (guaranteed $$$).  Though they will be paid at the highest level of their position, players typically want the big payday that comes with being a free agent.  In the past we have seen franchised players miss all non-mandatory off season training activities and report late or holdout of training camp (ex. Seattle Seahawks Offensive Tackle Walter Jones in 2004 & 2005). The deadline for making these designations for 2008 was Feb. 21. Here are the anticipated salaries for franchised players Quarterbacks: $10.73 Million,  Cornerbacks: $9.47 Million, Defensive Ends: $8.88 Million, Linebackers: $8.07 Million, Wide Receivers: $7.85 Million, Offensive Lineman: $7.46 Million, Defensive Tackles: $6.36 Million, Running Backs: $6.54 Million, Tight Ends: $4.53 Million, Safeties: $4.34 Million, and Kickers/Punters: $2.51 Million

2008 “Exclusive” Franchise Designated Players

Kansas City DE Jared Allen

Seattle CB Marcus Trufant

Baltimore OLB/DE Terrell Suggs

Tennessee DT Albert Haynesworth

Indianapolis TE Dallas Clark (Franchise Tag then signed to long term deal w/ Colts) 

Dallas S Ken Hamlin

Carolina OT Jordan Gross

Arizona  OLB Karlos Dansby

Philadelphia TE L.J. Smith

Cincinnati OT Stacy Andrews

Green Bay DT Corey Williams

Cap Casualty – A veteran player that has been released from his contract usually as “cap relief” for his former team.  These players are usually let go before their contract bonuses or incentives kick usually around March or June before the next season (ex. DT Dana Stubblefield cut by the Washington Redskins in June of 2001) to free up cap space.  The veteran player is free to sign with any team, with no compensation owed to his old team and doesn’t have to wait until the free agency signing period begins.

Some Bigger Name 2008 Cap Casualty Players

Atlanta QB Byron Leftwich

Miami LB Zach Thomas (Signed with the Dallas Cowboys)

Atlanta TE Alge Crumpler

Carolina OG Mike Wahle

Miami QB Trent Green

Minnesota S Dwight Smith

Panthers LB Dan Morgan

Information from NFL.com was used in this article