Final Eight Rule Could Be Back

If the NFL resumes the 2010 free agency rules, Baltimore will be drastically affected.

Posted by Mike Duffy on Friday, March 18th, 2011 at 11:55 am | Categories: Mike Duffy

Should the players win their court injunction against the NFL on April 6 and end the work stoppage, there is a good chance the league would operate under the 2010 collective bargaining agreement.

And if that happens, the Ravens will be drastically affected.

Not only would their unrestricted free agents list shrink, but the “Final Eight” rule would limit the amount of free agents they could pursue.

According to the rule, clubs that made the divisional playoffs (Baltimore, Pittsburgh, New England, New York Jets, Atlanta, Green Bay, Chicago and Seattle) can only sign a free agent if they have lost one of their own.

The bottom four of the final eight, which includes the Ravens, are only allowed to sign one player with a salary of $4,925,000 or more and any number of players with a first-year salary of no more than $3,275,000 with an annual increase limited to 30 percent in the following year.

The top four teams don’t have the one-player exemption luxury.

In addition, one more transition tag could be implemented.  Previously, teams had the option to assign a franchise tag – which is the average of the top-five salaries at a player’s position – or one transition tag – the average of the top-10 salaries – when a contract expires.  Under the 2010 CBA, clubs would have two transition tags and one franchise tag.

The 2010 CBA would also prevent fourth- and fifth-year Ravens from hitting the open market. That list includes, guards Marshal Yanda and Chris Chester; offensive tackles Jared Gaither and Tony Moll; fullback Le’Ron McClain; cornerback Josh Wilson; safety Dawan Landry and defensive tackle Brandon McKinney.

All of those players would be restricted free agents in a year without a salary cap.

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