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 Post subject: NFR: Players believe owners colluded this offseason
PostPosted: Fri May 31, 2013 2:00 pm 
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http://www.cbssports.com/nfl/blog/mike- ... -back-cash

Dwight Freeney believes owners were holding back cash
May 30, 2013 5:39 pm ET

Freeney didn't draw as much interest as expected on the market. (USATSI) Freeney didn't draw as much interest as expected on the market. (USATSI)

Dwight Freeney hit free agency this offseason, and like me and many others, expected the phone to ring rather quickly. He's had 107 1/2 sacks in the past 11 years and although he had a pedantic five sacks last season, low for him, there's no question Freeney is still a pass rushing force in the NFL.

The phone didn't ring, however. And Freeney waited. And waited. And waited some more. It was ... strange.

In almost every other free-agent season, a player like Freeney, no matter his age, would have at least a half-dozen teams wanting to sign him.

"It takes one team to start things going," said Freeney, "but what was strange was initially there was no one team."

Freeney is 33 years old and it could be argued the deals weren't happening because of his age or the perception he's slowing down. That perception is wrong, but it's not unfair.

But agents, players and union officials believe Freeney and others were part of one of the more unusual offseasons in recent league history. Agents and players, in particular, were saying privately that owners were hoarding money -- colluding, in other words -- and that is why so few free agents were receiving top deals.

In an interview with CBSSports.com, Freeney, who eventually signed with the San Diego Chargers, stated on the record what many players and agents -- and I mean a lot of them -- have been stating privately.

"I basically think the owners got together and decided not to spend the cash on free agents," Freeney explained. "I definitely think that's part of it. I think the owners made a pact. There's only 32 of them and none of them broke ranks. I think they all decided not to spend money."

The NFLPA was so concerned about collusion that executive director DeMaurice Smith sent a memo to all player agents asking if agents found proof of collusion, they should notify the union. Smith wrote, "We have heard reports of a concern that teams are working in concert to ‘peg', ‘rig' or ‘set' market prices on player contracts. If you believe or have information that the teams have been colluding during this free agency period, you have a responsibility as an agent of the NFLPA to come forward and share that information with us.”

Smith added in the letter: "We have heard anecdotally that some teams are inaccurately reporting that they are facing salary cap restrictions on resigning veteran players. While this is a common allegation and teams are free to make their own determinations on signing players, we provide this information to aid you in accurately evaluating each team's actual salary cap room.”

The NFL has denied collusion took place.

Said one prominent agent: "I've been in this business for several decades and there was never an offseason like this. Never."

"What you saw," said Freeney, "were guys getting small deals. I haven't seen anything like it. There was a lot of take-it-or-leave-it from teams.

"It was crazy. Even a guy like [Elvis] Dumervil didn't make as much money as he should have. He's in his prime."

Dumervil is 29 and signed a five-year deal with Baltimore that included $12 million guaranteed. It could be argued Dumervil deserved much more guaranteed cash. He spent six seasons in Denver and had 63 1/2 sacks and 16 forced fumbles. In 2009, he had an NFL-high 17 sacks. Last season he had 11, second on the Broncos.

Freeney is happy now and believes the Chargers could be a surprise team in the league next season.

Freeney also had a message for the teams that passed on him in free agency:

"I'm going to make all of them regret it."

I think he's right.

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 Post subject: Re: NFR: Players believe owners colluded this offseason
PostPosted: Sat Jun 01, 2013 12:47 am 
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Well, we know that the Falcons are pretty limited in cap space. I don't know about the rest of the league, but I think that the off-season was a bit limited by few really standout free agents. Most of the guys who might have been big money guys had issues associated with them. Part of it could also be that teams are less willing to risk big money on one or two players.


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 Post subject: Re: NFR: Players believe owners colluded this offseason
PostPosted: Sat Jun 01, 2013 1:45 am 
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I believe their was collusion....... That's also basically what the salary cap is too, to keep
the owners from hurting themselves.

Quote:

Dumervil is 29 and signed a five-year deal with Baltimore that included $12 million guaranteed. It could be argued Dumervil deserved much more guaranteed cash. He spent six seasons in Denver and had 63 1/2 sacks and 16 forced fumbles. In 2009, he had an NFL-high 17 sacks. Last season he had 11, second on the Broncos.


I really don't care though. The players give up their bodies for big money, but I'm more than fine with great players "only" getting 12 million dollars. Of course just guessing,
their's no way to be sure!!

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 Post subject: Re: NFR: Players believe owners colluded this offseason
PostPosted: Sat Jun 01, 2013 1:12 pm 
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I'm not sure if there was collusion, i.e. a secret agreement between teams, but it does seem like teams are all adopting a similar strategy.

8 teams started the off-season with over $25 million in cap space:

Cleveland, Miami, Cincinnati, Indianapolis, Philadelphia, Tampa Bay, Jacksonville and New England

And 4 of those teams basically ended the off-season with over $20 million in cap space:

Cleveland, Cincinnati, Philadelphia, and Jacksonville.

Now granted, Cleveland spent about a third of their $50 million in cap space, but most of that went to Kruger and Desmond Bryant. Before the Revis deal, Tampa Bay would have been in that group as well. Philly did sign a bunch of players, but besides Barwin, none of them really cost much. Cincy's only really major expenditure came with tagging Michael Johnson.

New England, Indianapolis, and Miami all had about $8-10 million cap space by the time the draft rolled around, so while they did spend most of their cap space, it's not like they went all out.

It seems that many teams all basically adopted a similar strategy, which was not too spend a ton and keep cap room to carry over into next off-season.

I don't know if that means that they all secretly got together suggesting collusion, but it is kinda fishy. Odd that so many teams opted for "fiscal responsibility" in the same off-season, when that never seemed to happen before.

Maybe the cap penalties against the Cowboys & Redskins, two traditional big spenders, is really the culprit.

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 Post subject: Re: NFR: Players believe owners colluded this offseason
PostPosted: Mon Jun 03, 2013 1:07 pm 
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I think it's likely simpler than that. We've all (including teams) gotten used to a cap that rises every year, so that massive FA deals, don't seem so massive in 3 years.

Right now, we've had a flat cap for awhile, and so that "big FA deal" will remain a large percentage of your cap for a long while.

At the same time, QB salaries have gone wild (for whatever reason) so each team with a decent QB knows they have to save enough to sign their QB to a 15% of the cap kind of contract.

I think it's only collusion if you think the CBA is collusion. I do agree it's weird, but a flat cap will change a lot (much like knowing you won't be making any more income from your job the next 5 years makes you examine your budget, whereas if you keep making more money, you don't.)


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 Post subject: Re: NFR: Players believe owners colluded this offseason
PostPosted: Mon Jun 03, 2013 1:30 pm 
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Of those four teams--the only ones that really could be considered "colluding"--one is a chronic cheapy (CIN) and the others are in evaluation mode, where they probably want to reassess long-term needs after the season.

It's "collusion" if several older players didn't get large deals? If it's collusion, no one bothered to tell Miami or KC (Robinson).

Everyone knew that capping the cap for a few years without placing boundaries on individual contracts was going to create a pinch for older players with lesser value (Freeney, Abraham, Ulracher) while opening up the mega-deals (Flacco, Romo (ha ha ha ha ha)) to intense criticism as they cripple the teams' current caps.

Let's see how the cap expansion occurs over the next few years. The NFL has a salary "floor," as well, so I doubt we'll ever see collusion, but likely a few delusions.


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