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The Final Eight Plan - Implications of the Uncapped Year

Discussion in 'PatsFans.com - Patriots Fan Forum' started by Urgent, Jun 6, 2009.

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  1. Urgent

    Urgent Rookie

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    #24 Jersey

    Although there are a number of changes under the Uncapped Year system, the Final Eight Plan probably has the greatest potential impact on the Patriots.

    Here is the key text of the Plan:

    We have heard about some of the provisions, such as only signing as many free agents as you lose. However, there is an important distinction between Final Eight and Final Four:
    Final Eight teams can only sign free agents as they lose players, one for one, at salaries at or below the salaries signed by the players that departed
    Final Four teams (AFC & NFC Championship) can only sign their own players or players released by other teams in addition to the replacements - Teams 5-8 have this "mid-level exception"

    Complex - it seems that an AFC Championship team can then:
    Designate one Franchise and one Transition player
    Keep all five-year players as restricted free agents
    Sign their own free agents
    Sign other free agents released by their previous club
    Sign other unrestricted free agents only as their own players are signed, at salaries at or below the departing players
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2009
  2. Urgent

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    #24 Jersey

    The list of all Patriots free agent starters at the end of this complicated season, per Miguel:

    LG Logan Mankins (restricted - fifth year)
    RG Stephen Neal
    RT Nick Kaczur (restricted - fifth year)
    TE Ben Watson
    TE Dave Thomas (restricted - fourth year)
    RDE Richard Seymour
    DT Vince Wilfork
    LB Tedy Bruschi
    LB Pierre Woods
    CB Leigh Bodden
    K Stephen Gostkowski (restricted - fourth year)

    Other key players

    QB Matt Gutierrez (restricted - third year)
    RT Ryan O'Callaghan (restricted - fourth year)
    WR Joey Galloway
    TE Alex Smith
    RB Kevin Faulk
    DE Jarvis Green
    DT Le Kevin Smith (restricted - fourth year)
    LB Gary Guyton (restricted - third year)
    LB Paris Lenon
    P Chris Hanson
    LS Nathan Hodel
  3. Urgent

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    #24 Jersey

    So, if that stuff is interpreted correctly, it looks like the Pats have four big free agents in the uncapped year:

    Seymour
    Wilfork
    Woods
    Bodden

    Obviously Seymour and Wilfork are the most important.
    Although a starter, Woods is not irreplaceable. And with Wheatley, Wilhite, and Butler, the Pats have enough young depth at corner.

    With two tags, the Pats could tag both Seymour and Wilfork. Not optimal from their points of view, but a solution.

    If the Patriots lost both Woods and Bodden, they would be permitted to replace them with equal or lesser players. Further, they can negotiate with them and try to sign them, without any restriction.

    I may be off on this, so have at it. But one of the more interesting elements of the uncapped year scenario. When you start to look at the details, you can see why the owners might not see it as a bad deal at all. If this is correct, even from a team likely to be in the Final Four situation, it's not that bad.
  4. ctpatsfan77

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    Guyton is entering his second year, as are Vince Redd and BJGE. Thus they will be exclusive rights free agents (ERFAs), meaning that if the Pats offer the appropriate minimum tender, they have no choice but to stay with the team.
  5. MoLewisrocks

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    And the impact would not appear to be terribly adverse unless you're counting on a Peppers type signing in the offseason...and even then, if they lose one of their 2DL that wouldn't necessarily be what I'd classify as a worst case scenario.

    We also have multiple #2's again heading into the 2010 draft with for obvious reasons the capacity to flip someone into another, or better...

    And if the CBA gets worked out we are more than $50M under the projected 2010 cap with sufficient room to extend those we wish to retain under more cap friendly rules concerning contract construction.

    Win-win to the extend it can be... Anyone who thinks this FO hasn't long planned well for either scenario is full of themselves...;) This is what Bob is talking about when he says they are not afraid of the uncapped year. As opposed to meaning they welcome it or would embrace it going forward. They are prepared to deal with it if that is what it takes to get a CBA they can deal with going forward.
  6. Rob0729

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    I think you need to read what you posted a little closer. The restrictions for the final four teams have that restrictions that allows them to sign free agents under the follow conditions:


    Section 4 reads:

    So based on my understanding, all eight teams have that lose a free agent, sign a free agent exception. The good news is that the salary restriction doesn't seem to include the signing bonus.
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2009
  7. ALP

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    so ur trying to say that final four teams CAN sign free agents?

    i was up to this point, by multiple times i looked at it, that the final four teams CAN't sign anybody.....but their own guys....
  8. jmt57

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    One possible impact for final eight teams may be having to wait to sign a new player. For example this past offseason the team had already decided LaMont Jordan would not be returning, and went out and signed Fred Taylor. Under next year's rules a final eight team would have to wait until Jordan signed elsewhere before signing Taylor. Although the two sides may agree to a deal, the team runs the risk of that free agent not wanting to wait, and he ends up signing with another team that does not have this restriction and has an offer on the table.

    Another possible impact is the comparable-salary restriction. If a big money player signs elsewhere, then the next free agent the team signs needs to be a big money player. It's not like the current setup where the cap money saved and spent is cumulative. Likewise, if three players with mid-lower salaries sign with another team, a final eight team can't go out and sign two players to vet-minimum contracts and one player to a larger contract.

    Lastly, players released by other teams become more valuable than they are now. Currently they have extra value due to the way compensatory picks are determined; now they become the only players that a few teams will be able to sign.
  9. Urgent

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    #24 Jersey

    Exactly. Although it's sort of complex, that's what I believe to be the case, which is what I tried to explain.

    All eight teams can sign UFA's after each UFA they lose.
    Teams 5-8 have the "mid-level exception" clause; teams 1-4 do not.
    All final eight can sign any player released from his contract, apparently without the restrictions of the 1-for-1 clause.

    In the specific case of Fred Taylor, above, since Taylor was released by Jacksonville, the Patriots would have been able to sign him in the uncapped year scenario. So also for Jason Taylor or Greg Ellis, also released by their teams.

    On interesting little clause is that you cannot trade for a player above your salary slot. So, in an uncapped year, the Patriots would not be allowed to trade for Julius Peppers, or Suggs or someone like that, if they did not have a free agency salary slot available.
  10. Va_Pats_Fan

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    #95 Jersey

    If its an uncapped year, why not just sign them?
  11. Urgent

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    #24 Jersey

    You may not be able to reach an agreement, given the great uncertainty. The Pats have been unable to reach agreement several times, and have used the tag.

    Just because there is no cap, it doesn't mean there is no budget. Many teams may prefer the high one-year charge under the uncapped year, and then base longer-term deals on the structure of the any new CBA.
  12. ctpatsfan77

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    One caveat to this, though, is that teams do NOT receive a second franchise tag. They receive an additional transition tag, which carries a lower price tag, but also carries no compensation if a player is lost.

    [And, for the record, Bodden's contract precludes the Patriots from tagging him.]
  13. MoLewisrocks

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    But in the case of the 2 UFA DL's they could decide one of them is just gone and the other they might be willing to pay market for if that truly is his market. So you tag and trade the one you believe you cannot sign and transition the other with the possibility you match the best market deal he's willing to sign. I know about the poison pills, but I don't think we will see them again because the commissioner has stated his preference we don't and owners have to behave as if they are in this together...because they are.
  14. Urgent

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    #24 Jersey

    Agreed.

    However, this does provide some level of protection. Currently, neither Wilfork nor Seymour is angry enough with the Patriots to want to leave if their offer from another team is matched. There is some advantage to staying.
  15. Urgent

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    The Patriots are at risk of losing Woods, Bodden, Neal, and Watson, and possibly Seymour if he receives an outrageous offer sheet. That's not an abnormal off-season. With four picks in the first two rounds and a higher salary budget to at least replace lost players, the Patriots would be OK under the uncapped system, even with the Rule of Eight restrictions.

    If Seymour, Neal, and Bodden all left for very high deals, then the Patriots would have three high-salary slots available to use for other free agents.

    Plus, it looks like there will be a number of 6-5, 290 type defensive linemen in the draft.
  16. spacecrime

    spacecrime Rookie

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    That's not what you posted originally. Up top you posted that they could sign FAs that "acquired that status as a result of the NFL waiver system." Taylor was not subject to the waiver system. It does not say you can sign a player that was released, only one that became a FA as a result of the waiver system.
  17. ctpatsfan77

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    By definition, any player that is released between the trade deadline and the end of the league year must go through the waiver system, so they are, functionally speaking, the same thing.
  18. Urgent

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    #24 Jersey

    It's possible that there could be an increase in released players, rather than a decrease, under an uncapped system, for two reasons:

    One is that it doesn't matter if the cap cost of releasing the player is higher than cost of retaining him. Since there is no cap, that is immaterial. All you would consider is the salary or other new money.

    Two is since there is no floor, there is no reason to pay any player more than the team believes he is worth. If you want to field an $80mm team and save some money, so be it.

    For example, the Patriots would incur a $2.9mm cap hit if they released Jarvis Green, according to Miguel's figures. That's very expensive under a capped system. With an uncapped system, if the Patriots felt he was not worth his new money cost, or if they felt they could find a better, cheaper back-up DE, they could release him without worrying about the cap impact.
  19. ctpatsfan77

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    On the flip side, they would be limited to other released players to replace him, as they would not gain a UFA slot by waiving a player.
  20. jmt57

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    So if a 'top-8' team cuts a player, then they can only replace him with another released player or an UDFA, correct?
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