February 8, 2010

The offseason approacheth

Saints free agents: Lots of news has been made about impending free agency season's impact on the Saints. Perhaps it is fitting that the Saints got their Super Bowl victory in before the league teeters off the edge of labor apocalypse. The uncapped 2010 offseason is approaching, a system designed to deter the two sides from ever getting to this point. We'll see public opinion sour severely against the NFL as it nears the March 5 death of the salary cap. We'll also see more and more players putting pressure on inexperienced Player Union leadership to get a deal done. The death of the salary cap will hardly benefit either side, as a tsunami of public opinion decries both sides.

Regardless, the Saints approach the 2010 uncapped season and its myriad special rules with something to benefit. We'll recap what we wrote in early January.

On March 5, 2010,
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 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.

Hargrove and Roby played very well this season and Brown still has value as a high-level performer at left tackle, so all three would be hitting the open market under past rules.

Thanks to the uncapped seasons, Brown, Hargrove, Roby may be in line for significantly less pay in 2010, as the Saints will be able to retain their services with a restricted free agent tender that will require draft pick compensation from a poaching team.

2010 Draft: The 2010 NFL Draft is moving to a radically new format, with the first round starting during prime time on Thursday, April 22 instead of Saturday afternoon. The official draft schedule has yet to be finalized, but it is no secret that the league is aiming for bigger TV ratings for their college-to-pro graduation ceremony.

That schedule means that the Super Bowl XLIV Saints will be picking with the 32nd overall selection late Thursday night, April 22. The Colts pick 31st.

Stallworth free: Former Saints WR Donte Stallworth, a first round pick of the Saints in 2002 who was electric as a rookie, has been released by the Browns. It is just the latest event in the troubled story of the former Tennessee star, who most recently served 24 days in jail after manslaughter charges resulted from the death of a pedestrian as Stallworth sped through early morning Miami Beach, FL.

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