Most posters and most media said that a no-cap year would never happen, even though teh CBA provided for it and the owners have been preparing for it for at least a year. It still might not happen.
Now, most of us are saying that a lockout will not happen, even though the owners are clearly preparing for one.
It is clear that that current CBA deal provided the groundwork for what has happened: an early end to the CBA, the no-cap year, and the 2011 draft before the strike/lockout. The current CBA provided much order and transition.
Of course, everything could work out, but this time I fear there may be a work stoppage before we see a new deal, or we could see one next week.
I think that this year will be very different from last. Contracts will be structured differently, with different owners and agents taking different views on how to accomodate the possibility of a work stoppage. This difference may expecially manifest itself in the willingness to engage in long-term contracts. Some owners just won't sign the huge bonus contracts with older veterans. After all, the risk structure is very different if a team may lose Year 2 of a contract. A second year roster bonus has been mentioned as one contract tool. The issue for everyone will be guaranteed monies.
Perhaps different teams will take different views with regard to 2011 draft choices. There could be a first year salary schedule for rookies in 2011, if there is a 2011, making these picks very valuable. Alternatively, if there is no 2011. these choices will be less valuable than normal and a team who believes that there will be no 2011 might want to trade choices into 2010.
There are some owners that are in serious trouble in 2010 and will be in even more finacnial trouble in 2011 if there is a stoppage. I expect that several owners will spend much less than the 2009 minimum in 2010; and, they will get no revenue sharing money from the successful owners.
The Krafts are among the most successful owners in the league. My personal bottom line is that I do NOT have a clue with regard to what is best for the financial well-being and future of the patriots. However, even more than my confidence in Belichick as a coach, I have every confidence that the Kraft's will do what is best for the future of the patriots.