The Kansas City Chiefs surely have grand plans for this coming offseason. Those exact plans could be affected if the NFL and NFLPA are unable to prevent a year without a salary cap.
The sides would have to reach a new labor agreement before free agency begins during the offseason for the current rules to continue. Under the expiring labor contract, 212 NFL players — six of whom play for the Chiefs — would become restricted free agents instead of unrestricted free agents. Unrestricted free agents are free to sign with any team; restricted free agents’ destinations can be influenced by the team they played for in 2009.
Chiefs quarterback Brodie Croyle, linebackers Corey Mays and Derrick Johnson, center Rudy Niswanger, offensive tackle Ryan O’Callaghan and free safety Jarrad Page would become restricted free agents this offseason instead of unrestricted free agents. The Chiefs could either re-sign those players, match another team’s offer, or be entitled to draft picks under certain circumstances.
That sounds nice for Kansas City, but perhaps not considering the Chiefs are expected to have a busy offseason and could benefit from a large crop of unrestricted free agents.
I’m sure the Chiefs love the idea of being able to hold onto Mays, Niswanger and O’Callaghan. But I bet they’d much rather take their chances at re-signing those players on the open market along with the other 206 that would also be free to sign with them. With so many holes to fill on both sides of the ball and special teams, a large number of available players immediately being taken off the unrestricted free agent market would be a huge blow.
Obviously when you get to groups that are as powerful as the NFL and NFLPA it’s never good to expect a good outcome, but it would seem in the best interests of both sides to work out a deal. The NFLPA I’m sure would love the idea of an uncapped season with hopes of blank checks being written all offseason long. But all of those players that are no longer unrestricted free agents will have their potential earnings cut by a huge margin.