January 4, 2010

Saints divisional game set; RFA news

Playoff Timing: The Saints' divisional playoff game will be hosted in the Superdome on Saturday, January 16 at 3:30pm central.

The Saints will host the lowest remaining of these three seeds: #4 Arizona, #5 Green Bay, #6 Philadelphia.

Should Philadelphia win in Dallas this Saturday night, they will go to New Orleans. If Dallas wins, the winner of the Cardinals-Packers game on January 10th goes to New Orleans.

Restricted Free Agency: As the NFL and its players union moves closer to labor apocalypse, the rules in the 2010 offseason will be much different. This uncapped year was designed into the previous labor agreement to be disruptive and beneficial to the owners, to encourage the two sides to avoid it by agreeing to a new labor contract.

Unless that happens before March 5, restricted free agency will shift from players entering their fourth year to players entering their fourth, fifth, or sixth years of veterancy, meaning that players with four or five (UPDATE: this was incorrect earlier, saying five or six) years of experience in the NFL will miss out on a potential eight-figure check and have to settle for a restricted free agency tender offer of one year.

Under the old and new rules, these players will be RFA's for the Saints in 2010: RB Mike Bell, Pro Bowl G Jahri Evans, SS Roman Harper, WR Lance Moore, OT Zach Strief, TE David Thomas, CB Leigh Torrence.

Under the new uncapped year rules, these Saints players would have been unrestricted free agents but will now be RFA's: OT Jammal Brown, DT Anthony Hargrove, WR Courtney Roby. These three players, especially Brown, will be under contract with the Saints in a one-year guaranteed deals worth around one-tenth of the overall value of a new contract.

Furthermore, on the current path of 2010, there will be no salary floor. That means that teams like the Bucs, Jaguars, Chiefs and yes, even the Saints, may use MLB-like tactics of gutting the roster and filling it with cheap knockoff imitations in order to save money. Much like in Major League Baseball, we may see a team whose total salary is less than value of the top individual contracts.

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