Kraft has let the cat out to the bag. He said in an interview that he does not fear an Uncapped year. He welcomes it, if it fixes league needs. This only confirms that the Patriots Strategy for a while now has been, to EXPECT and WANT an Uncapped 2010. a) The Owners want the Players to accept a reduced sharing percentage back to near the numbers of the previous CBA. b) The Owners want to end the insanity of paying unproven college kids in the Top Ten of the draft more than established NFL Stars. c) The Owners want a Next CBA, to assure a draft, and a CAP, and essentially all the features that lead to a balanced and competitive league. To mollify and entice the Players to agree, the Owners are prepared to extend the season to 18 games and thus increase total revenue intake. The larger extended season revenues, applying the reduced sharing percentage, will still give the Players more money, and wonât require them to take a cut or âgive backâ anything. In the bargaining for an extended season, the Owners will offer a bigger roster, so there are more positions in the league for each player to fill. Thus possibly extending their careers and allowing the possible added year of eating the NFL Gooseâs Golden Eggs. When phrased like that that it is not much to ask of the NFLPA. So eventually they will get it. IMHO. When the current CBA was being negotiated the Owners collectively did some things on their own. They extended revenue sharing amongst the teams to include luxury boxes and VIP seats, as well as their long standing TV and gate receipt sharing. And also some NFL merchandise revenue sharing, to twist the arms of smaller teams to agree. They also agreed to give the smaller, less financially stable owners some recurring money in annual payments. They added some clauses to the current CBA to insert an early back-out clause, punish winning teams from signingal theUFAs, and others to prevent either side from backing out of the current CBA. But it turns out these mostly hurt the Players and not the Owners. Unless you are Dan Snyder and want to âBuyâ a championship and you are effectively prevented by the added rules from doing so. The weaker teams like Ralph Wilsonâs Bills and Mike Brownsâ Bengals were the ones who objected to the current CBA, with its larger sharing percentage that they thought too much. It is becoming apparent that they were correct. The current deal is too lop-sided in favor of the Players. Ironically, the weaker teams and the most likely to buckle in a work stoppage, have been strengthened by that round of negotiations and self-arm twisting. Hence they will be more resolute having been proved correct. More important, more financially able to withstand the rigors of a 2011 Lockout work stoppage. The Patriots apparently thought long and hard about the consequences for the rejected CBA, and did some things about it. They arranged that many of their Players contracts would expire in the theoretically attractive Uncapped 2010. The Agents and players took the bait, and signed lots of deals like that. The Patriots found that they would be constrained from adding to their team any UFAs in such a 2010 uncapped situation. They had used that mechanism to acquire talent throughout their run of dominance. So they looked and found a loophole. Under the CBA Article XXI, Section 2 & 3, def b, all teams are able to sign their own UFAs, called âPrior Playersâ with little restriction, except for a an irrelevant restriction that turns out to be helpful, rather than a hindrance. That restriction prevents any future salary increase from being more than a rise of 30% in any subsequent year, after the first. But the Patriots expect to front-load their contracts, so that doesnât hurt them. It does however prevent a Snyder promising some players, instant riches and others future riches. The rules prevent that. With their expected success, they would be prevented from signing other teamsâ UFAs, under the Restrictions of the final Four, and Top Eight teams. So they have worked to assure themselves that they wonât want or need to sign other teamâs UFAs. Instead they will load their own team up with UFAs that are âPrior Playersâ, in 2007, 2008 and 2009. Then they can re-sign in Uncapped 2010, as many of these players that they desire without have to chose whom they able to keep under Cap restrictions. They Can sign them ALL, if they choose. So they added players that would qualify as âPrior Playersâ, that they would likely like to keep Moss, Sammy Smith, and Welker in 2007; Leigh Bodden, Galloway, Evans, Taylor, Buckley, Johnson, and did not re-sign any of their own Star players becoming UFAs in 2010. They did resign the contributors that they thought worth the money, like Mike Wright and Pierre Woods. They expect to re-sign their big Stars then, in Uncapped 2010. It seems certain that the contracts will probably be created without future hypothetical Cap consequences, by not including signing bonuses the same money will be roster or good-conduct, completion bonus pre-payments. Seymour, Wilfork, Neal, and Mankins, Kaczur, Hobbs, Gostkowski, Warren and Hochstein and perhaps others are in an apparent UFA situation. But in an uncapped year, Mankins, Kaczur, Hobbs, Gostkowski are not UFAs but RFAs. The Patriots can resign all with no loss. Oh, and they would extend Brady too! When the next CAP returns, annual salaries would represent most of their cap. CAP Heaven! Then they can sign the future UFAs, like Peppers, with little CAP concern in subsequent Capped years. The only thing to upset the applecart would be the early acquiescence by the NFLPA to the Ownerâs demands. That would make 2010 a Capped year. But the Patriots have covered that somewhat. The Big Three stars Seymour, Wilfork and Neal would barely cost an additional $9 million per annum to keep. The could tag Mankins and fight for the rest. But a super majority of the Owners is needed to accept any such agreement and Kraft could be obstinate, if necessary. The Patriots expect the NFLPA will resist agreeing to the owner demands in 2010 due to a) the mirage of Free Agency b) the need for DeMaurice Smith to appear tough and tenacious. But they believe the players will cave in 2011-2012. By then, the Pats will be in CAP heaven and their dynasty can be assured of another decade. It also answers the puzzling question of why they took so little for Matt Cassel in such a hurry. The Montana-Young QB process kept the 49ers competitive for a long time in the uncapped years. But it is apparent the Patriots do not expect but a brief interlude of Uncapped years before a CAP resumes. That might answer the nagging question, âWhy not keep two good QBs in an uncapped environment?". The puzzle pieces all start falling into place. Brilliant!