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How are the Top 8 teams determined?

Discussion in 'PatsFans.com - Patriots Fan Forum' started by mgteich, Dec 7, 2009.

  1. mgteich

    mgteich PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    My understanding is that if there is no new signed CBA which change things, free agency will be seriously limited for the "top 8 teams".

    How are those 8 determined? Are they the 8 teams in the playoffs after wildcard weekend or are they the teams with the top 8 wins similar to the draft?
  2. jmt57

    jmt57 Moderator Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I was just wondering the same thing because of another thread on the uncapped year. I seem to recall it being referred to as "the final 8", which would lead me to believe it is the last eight teams in the playoffs - and not the eight division winners or teams with the eight best regular season records.
  3. Miguel

    Miguel Patriots Salary Cap Guru PatsFans.com Supporter

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    It is the final eight teams in the playoffs. From the CBA:
    Section 2. Top Four Teams: Each of the four Clubs that participated in the NFC and AFC Championship games the Prior League Year shall not be permitted to negotiate and sign any Unrestricted Free Agent to a
    Player Contract, except: (a) any Unrestricted Free Agent who acquired that status as a result of the NFL waiver system; (b) any Unrestricted Free Agent who was under contract to such Club on the last date of the
    last League Year of the player’s most recent Player Contract; and (c) any Unrestricted Free Agent signed
    pursuant to Section 4 below.
    Section 3. Next Four Teams: Each of the four playoff Clubs that lost in the immediately preceding playoff games to the four Clubs that participated in the NFC and AFC Championship games the Prior League Year shall not be permitted to negotiate and sign any Unrestricted Free Agent to a Player contract, except: (a)
    any Unrestricted Free Agent who acquired that status as a result of the NFL waiver system; (b) any
    Unrestricted Free Agent who was under contract to such Club on the last date of the last League Year of the
    player’s most recent Player contract; (c) any Unrestricted Free Agent signed pursuant to Section 4 below;
    and (d) any Unrestricted Free Agent as follows:
    (i) One such player for a Player Contract that has a first year Salary of $4,925,000 or more;
    and
    (ii) Any number of such players for a Player Contract that has a first year Salary of no more
    than $3,275,000 and an annual increase in any future contract years of no more than 30% of the first
    contract year Salary, not including any amount attributed to any signing bonus. In addition, each such Club
    and each such player entering into a Player Contract pursuant to this Subsection may not renegotiate to
    increase the amount of Salary to be paid during the term of the Player Contract for a period of one year
    after the signing date of such contract.
  4. mayoclinic

    mayoclinic PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Thanks for clarifying that. Section 4 is also potentially relevant:

    Section 4. Replacement of Free Agents Signed by Other Club: Each of the eight Clubs subject to the provisions of this Article shall be permitted to negotiate and sign one Unrestricted Free Agent to a Player Contract (“New Player”) for each Unrestricted Free Agent who was under contract to such Club on the last date of the prior League Year, who has signed with another Club (“Previous Player”), so long as the Player Contract for the New Player shall have a first year Salary of no more than the first year Salary of the Player Contract signed by the Previous Player with the New Club, and an annual increase in any future contract years of no more than 30% of the first contract year Salary, excluding any amounts attributable to any
    signing bonus. In addition, each such Club and each such player entering into a Player Contract pursuant to this Subsection may not renegotiate to increase the amount of Salary to be paid during the term of the
    Player Contract for a period of one year after the signing date of such contract.

    What's most interesting about the text you cited is that the "Final 8" is actually a "Final 4" plus a "Second 4", with slightly more permissive rules for the second 4. Clause (d) would allow teams that lost in the divisional rounds (the "Second 4" teams) to sign an unlimited number of FAs for $3,250,000 or less, and one FA for $4,950,000 or more (strangely enough, it sounds like they can't sign anyone for a contract between those 2 numbers, which sound bizarre to me). So, for example, if the Pats won the division and ended up with the #4 seed, won the wild card game at Foxboro, and lost to the Colts in Indy, we would be in the "Second 4" group and would be able to sign a high priced FA (such as Julius Peppers, just to give one example) without needing to have lost a comparably priced FA of our own. If we beat the Colts and made it to the AFCCG we would be in the "Final 4" group, and would not be able to sign a FA like Peppers unless we lost someone whose contract was greater, which might be very difficult to achieve (even if we lost Wilfork, for example).
  5. A.C Vegas

    A.C Vegas Rookie

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    so that means if the Pats go one and done in the playoffs they can spend as much as they want hmmm...
  6. ctpatsfan77

    ctpatsfan77 PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Correct. The teams that are alive in the divisional round are all hosed to some extent, with the four winning teams more hosed.

    It also means that the teams that have first-round byes are automatically guaranteed to be hosed in the absence of a new CBA.

    I'll have more to say about the rest of your post later, but two things are worth noting:

    (1) A team could sign a FA in that middle ground but only if they lost a higher-priced FA first.

    (2) Those numbers are actually "indexed" to inflation, and are probably at least 10-20% higher now (i.e., no limitation on FAs under ~$4M or so, and one FA at $6M+).
  7. eagle eye

    eagle eye Rookie

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    Yep, the final eight teams, it was changed last year.
  8. eagle eye

    eagle eye Rookie

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    This is getting a bit ridiculous really, I mean if we don't do well this year and then come out in free agency and pick up everybody, it will be more of BB ahead of the pack again.

    I don't accept that though, but at this stage with the amount of positions that need to be filled it might not be a bad idea.
  9. ctpatsfan77

    ctpatsfan77 PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Not quite.

    The rules for the draft order changed.

    The rules regarding the teams that get screwed by the "Final Eight Plan" were locked into the most recent CBA.

    It would absolutely suck for a team to be a Cinderella team this year.
  10. A.C Vegas

    A.C Vegas Rookie

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    I am not saying it's on purpose by far but at least it's an upside to a 'bad" year
  11. mayoclinic

    mayoclinic PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    If the Pats finished with the #3 or #4 seed and lost to a wild card team then you are correct.

    If the Pats make it to the divisional round and lose then they have some restrictions, but can still sign one player for more than $4.95M and an unlimited number at less than $3.25M independent of what happens with their own FAs.

    If the Pats make it to the AFCCG (or further) then they cannot sign external FAs unless they lose higher priced FAs of their own.

    So either we do better than expected at this point or we have more flexibility than we expected to sign external FAs.
  12. mgteich

    mgteich PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I would note that almost all the free agents that the patriots signed in 2009 were waived UFA's or re-signs of our own players. None of these transactions would have been restricted.

    The team would certainly have few issues under the "second four" clauses. It is most unlikely that we will sign more than one non-waiver player whose first year salary will be more than $4,925,000. While we may be inclined to sign a few players in the $2M to $3M ranges, these are not restricted. Also bonus do not seem to be restricted.

    If we beat the odds and make it into the AFC championship game, then we can celebrate and deal with the restrictions on our discussions of what is possible. I'm not sure the real effect would be very large.
  13. ctpatsfan77

    ctpatsfan77 PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    True, signing bonuses don't count, but that's because it's difficult to screw players out of them, and it'd be difficult for any team to hand out, say $200M in signing bonuses in one season.

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