Topic: The National Football League’s annual free agency frenzy

Wednesday Shareef Miller Jersey , just 39 days after Tom Brady won another Super Bowl and 44 days before Commissioner Roger Goodell takes the stage in Nashville to announce the first overall pick in the 2019 NFL draft.Le’Veon Bell, Nick Foles, C.J. Mosley and Landon Collins are among this year’s headliners cashing in during the 27th year of unfettered free agency, a system that emerged after a Minneapolis federal court ruled in 1992 that the Plan B free agency system of protecting 37 players on a team violated antitrust laws.A lawyer for the league, Frank Rothman, warned in closing arguments that a verdict for the players could mean “the destruction of the National Football League that we know today.”Modern free agency indeed laid waste to the old way of doing business.Yet, what rose in its place has been a godsend to the NFL, which is celebrating its 100th season this year. The NFL wouldn’t be the gigantic force it is in society and sports today without free agency empowering players with freedom and endowing long-suffering franchises and their fans with hope.“I think free agency’s been great for the game for a lot of reasons,” said Joe Horrigan, executive director of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. “Look at us, we have a whole season now for the fan. It’s keeping the NFL front of mind 24/7, seven days a week, 365 days a year.”Without free agency, the Green Bay Packers wouldn’t have returned to glory in the 1990s; the second chapter of Peyton Manning’s magnificent career might have gone unwritten; the New Orleans Saints wouldn’t have been able to parade the Lombardi Trophy down Bourbon Street; and Deion Sanders might not have earned two nicknames and two Super Bowl rings, one in San Francisco and another in Dallas.Federal judge David Doty threatened to implement his own plan if team owners and the players’ union couldn’t agree on a free agency system following the league’s loss in court in 1992.What finally won over the hardliner owners was the inclusion of a franchise tag and the coupling of a salary cap to control costs. The first salary cap was $34.6 million in 1994. Now, it’s $188.2 million.The most significant free agent signing in NFL history occurred when the new system went into effect in the 1993 offseason: Reggie White chose Green Bay in a shocker that shifted the balance of power in the NFL and foretold free agency’s boom and boon.“What was beautiful about that was everybody was fearful of free agency Devin Bush Jersey , fearful that all the best teams would stockpile all the greatest players and they’d all go to one place,” Horrigan said. “Well, the salary cap that came with free agency prevented that, No. 1. But then Reggie to Green Bay kind of suggested that the system was good for all.”White teamed with Brett Favre to lead the Packers’ resurgence that ended a 30-year title drought.Manning’s arrival in Denver two decades later also transformed a franchise that was far removed from its glory days.After missing the 2011 season with a neck injury, Manning was cut loose by the Colts, who were turning to Andrew Luck. The Broncos won the Manning sweepstakes, which made it easier for general manager John Elway to lure other free agents such as DeMarcus Ware, Emmanuel Sanders, Aqib Talib and T.J. Ward, the emotional backbone of the team that won Super Bowl 50 in Manning’s farewell.Somebody asked Elway at the introductory news conference what he would have done had Manning turned him down.“Plan B?” replied Elway. “We don’t have a Plan B. We’re going with Plan A.”Sort of like the NFL had to do when the players decertified their union three decades ago and took the league to court in the face of long-standing fierce opposition to free agency.“The pushback was huge, going back to 1969 and ’70 with owners and labor-player management,” former commissioner Paul Tagliabue said.The issue led to the 1987 players strike and owners’ infamous use of replacement players.“Dan Rooney (the late chairman of the Pittsburgh Steelers) talked about some form of free agency then, but the majority of the owners’ committee would have no part of free agency,” Tagliabue said. “Then we came up with Plan B.”Owners unilaterally imposed Plan B free agency in 1989 with the absence of a labor agreement, giving teams the right to protect 37 players on their 47-man rosters from becoming free agents.“They weren’t trying to satisfy the players association, they were trying to satisfy the courts http://www.steelersauthorizedshops.com/ … son-jersey ,” Horrigan said. “They thought they could get limited free agency and (union chief) Gene Upshaw kind of chuckled at how transparent that was: ‘That’s not free agency; that’s making available your castoffs.’“And the judge also saw through it,” Horrigan said.While some players switched teams, all the really good players were still stuck.“We knew then it did not make any sense,” players agent Donald Yee said. “But to be fair, the owners were simply grasping at anything to present to the courts that seemed reasonable. I represented a reserve player who had never played, and all of a sudden, he was exposed in Plan B and he had numerous offers from other teams. His own veteran teammates were jealous and upset. It was a laughable situation.”The NFL’s current system isn’t flawless. The franchise tag irks the game’s superstars, and a recent AP study found that teams often turn to younger, cheaper players rather than put savings from the rookie salary pools into signing proven veterans.“When the CBA came into effect in 1993, there was more of a middle class within the roster, and it was difficult for any young player to play, or much less make the active roster,” Yee said. “On the vast majority of rosters now, there is no middle class, and this certainly affects the product quality on the field. If a highly paid star is sidelined, often an inexperienced younger player has to step in.”Both sides will try to tweak free agency again in the next round of labor negotiations.“Ultimately Justin Layne Jersey , fan response carries the day,” Yee said. “If the fans don’t like the product and reject it, that will affect owners and the union, and they’ll have to work together to come up with a fix. Every ‘fix’ is a balance of competing interests, and there will be merit to a number of potential innovations.” CLEVELAND — John Dorsey’s roughest week running the Browns will close with a reunion.The Kansas City Chiefs were once his football family — before the feud.On Sunday, Cleveland’s first-year general manager will get an up-close look at the team he helped build into a Super Bowl contender playing against the one he’s trying to revive after years of decay — and just days after another coaching clean-out.Dorsey served as Kansas City’s GM from 2013 to 2017, and was instrumental in the team drafting quarterback Patrick Mahomes, who leads the NFL with 26 touchdown passes, and in just his second year, has become the face of K.C’s franchise.Before he was fired by the Chiefs, Dorsey also selected running back Kareem Hunt, wide receiver Tyreek Hill and tight end Travis Kelce — a trio of options who have sped up Mahomes’ development.“John picked ’em,” Chiefs coach Andy Reid said this week. “Yeah. He picked ’em.”It was an honest admission from Reid, who arrived with Dorsey in 2013 and appeared to win a power struggle when the GM was surprisingly let go in 2017, not long after the Chiefs gave their coach a contract extension.The team has never given a direct reason for Dorsey’s firing.On a conference call this week, Reid didn’t want to get into specifics about his relationship with Dorsey or why Brett Veach was promoted to replace him.“I am friends with John. I have been friends with John. I will leave it at that http://www.steelersauthorizedshops.com/ … jr.-jersey ,” Reid told Cleveland reporters. “Things happen, and it happened. I have the utmost respect for him. You just watch how he gets that thing turned around right there.”Mahomes wasn’t with Dorsey for very long, but got to know him during the pre-draft process.“Dorse is an awesome guy,” Mahomes said. “He is the guy who sent the pick in and got me. He is an awesome talent evaluator, as well as a guy. It was nice to get to know him for a little amount of time.”In the 10-plus months he’s been on the job in Cleveland, Dorsey has disassembled the team’s roster, added talent through free agency and the draft and maybe found the team’s franchise QB in rookie Baker Mayfield.There’s plenty of work ahead, but Reid believes the Browns have the right man in charge.“I think John is going to do a phenomenal job for you guys,” he said. “He has already done it. You have seen what he has done. You guys are in good hands.”MAHOMES-MAYFIELD PART IIThe previous time they squared off, Mahomes and Mayfield broke records and nearly the scoreboard.Mayfield passed for 545 yards and seven touchdowns, Mahomes had five and they rolled up over 1,700 total yards in 2016. Mayfield led Oklahoma to a 66-59 win over Texas Tech.“That game was crazy, a lot of numbers, but I wish we’d have come out with a win at the end,” said Mahomes, who passed for 734 yards.Mahomes also had another big number the Browns can’t let him duplicate.“They were 20 of 25 on third down Zach Gentry Jersey ,” he said. “I think if we can keep them from completing 20 of 25 third downs, then we will have a better chance of winning.”BUILT FORD TOUGHChiefs linebacker Dee Ford was the AFC defensive player of the week after sacking the Broncos’ Case Keenum three times and stripping him twice of the ball. Ford has eight sacks this season and, perhaps more importantly, has remained healthy after a career marked by a series of nagging injuries in his first four seasons.“Just to see him back enjoying the game and playing at the level he is, man, I’m just happy for the kid,” Reid said.STRETCHING THE RULESThe Chiefs defended how they use downfield blocks on their run-pass options this week after the Broncos argued their offensive linemen are cheating. Broncos coach Vance Joseph said he noticed several instances in which they headed downfield early, setting up blocks against the Denver linebackers and helping turn short gains into big ones.“I haven’t heard that but I can tell you what we tell them. It’s timing and we keep it as precise as we can,” Reid said. “I always ask officials beforehand if there’s anything I need to tell my guys and that’s never been an issue.”BRAGGING RIGHTSBrowns interim coach Gregg Williams raised some eyebrows by boasting he’s had other chances to coach since being fired in 2003 by Buffalo.“I have had 11 letters sent in to interview for head coaching jobs,” he said. “Four of them I did not even have to show up. Just sign the contract and come.”It wasn’t clear if Williams was joking, but he stood by his comments.The next day, new Browns offensive coordinator Freddie Kitchens took a playful jab at his colleague.“I thought this was going to come up, but it didn’t come up and I want to address it,” Kitchens said to end his first news conference. “I have not been offered any head coaching jobs.”