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A quickie tutorial on the final league year

The NFL and the players union is hunkering down for an interesting offseason. Unless the collective bargaining agreement (CBA) is extended or a new one reached in the next couple of months, 2010 will be the final year of the current CBA.

The current agreement actually calls 2010, "The Final League Year," which sounds like something out of a disaster film, with stadiums crashing to the ground, team uniforms burning, and people gathering in churches to pray for the disaster to end.

So why should you care about CBAs, their negotiations and so forth?

Because it affects the Dolphins' -- and every team's ability -- to add or lose players this offseason. As March 2011 is scheduled to end the collective bargaining agreement, rules change for 2010. The NFL today sent out the following quick tutorial on the coming crisis offseason and what it all means.

The questions and answers are self-explanatory. If you have other questions, leave them in the comments section and I'll try to answer.

Q: When does the CBA expire should there be no extension to the agreement?

A: In March of 2011.

Q: Will there be a college draft in 2011?

A: Yes.

Q: What is the "Final League Year" in the current agreement?

A: The "Final League Year" is the term used in the CBA to refer to the last year of the agreement. Without a further extension of the CBA, the “Final League Year” would be the 2010 League Year, which begins on March 5.

Q: What are the differences between the "Final League Year" and any other "0League Year?"

A:The principal differences are that in the "Final League Year" there is no salary cap and there are substantial additional restrictions on player free agency and reductions in player benefits.

Q: Are current player benefits affected in the Final League Year?

A: We expect current player benefits to decline in the Final League Year. The union agreed that in the Final League Year, clubs would be relieved of their obligation to fund numerous benefit programs. Examples include second career savings (401K), player annuity, severance pay and performance-based pay. The total league-wide contributions to such plans in 2009, the last capped year, were in excess of $325 million or more than $10 million per club.

Q: Are retired player benefits affected in the Final League Year?

A: Commissioner Goodell has stated in a letter to the NFL Alumni Association Board of Directors that there will be no reduction in pension or disability payments to retired players during the Final League Year (2010). Since at least the fall of 2007, NFL owners have consistently agreed and planned that they will not reduce the funding for pension or disability benefits for retired players. Nor will they reduce funding for the 88 Plan during the Final League Year.

Q: What determines an unrestricted free agent in the Final League Year (2010)?

A: In capped seasons, a player whose contract has expired becomes an unrestricted free agent if he has four or more accrued seasons. In the Final League Year (2010), a player whose contract has expired becomes an unrestricted free agent only if he has six or more accrued seasons. An unrestricted free agent is free to sign with any club with no compensation owed to his old club.

Q: What determines whether a player is a restricted free agent in the "Final League Year?"

In capped seasons, a player whose contract expires becomes a restricted free agent if he has three accrued seasons. In the Final League Year (2010), a player whose contract expires becomes a restricted free agent if he has three, four or five accrued seasons. The first refusal/compensation rights of restricted free agents remain unchanged in the Final League Year.

Q: In addition to the right to designate a franchise (or transition) player each capped year, can clubs designate additional players in the Final League Year?

A: Yes, one additional player can be tagged. In capped years, a club may designate a franchise player or a transition player. In the final league year (2010), a club may designate one additional transition player. A transition player must be offered a minimum of the average of the top 10 salaries of the prior season at the player’s position or 120 percent of the player’s prior year’s salary, whichever is greater. A transition player designation gives the club a first-refusal right to match within seven days an offer sheet given to the player by another club after his contract expires. If the club matches, it retains the player. If it does not match, it receives no draft pick compensation from that club.

Q: What is the Final Eight Plan?

A: During the Final League Year, the eight clubs that make the Divisional Playoffs in the previous season have additional restrictions that limit their ability to sign unrestricted free agents from other clubs. In general, the four clubs participating in the championship games are limited in the number of free agents that they may sign; the limit is determined by the number of their own free agents signing with other clubs. They cannot sign any UFAs unless one of theirs is signed by another team.

For the four clubs that lost in the Divisional Playoffs, in addition to having the ability to sign free agents based on the number of their own free agents signing with other clubs, they may also sign players based on specific financial parameters. Those four only will be permitted to sign one unrestricted free agent for $5.5 million (estimated) or more in year one of the contract, plus the number of their UFAs who sign with another team. They also can sign any unrestricted free agents for less than $3.7 (estimated) million in year one of the contract with limitations on the per year increases.

In the case of all final eight teams, the first year salary of UFAs they sign to replace those lost cannot exceed the first year salary of the player lost with limitations on the per year increases.

Q: Is there an Entering Player Pool (Rookie Pool) in the Final League Year?

A: There may be. The CBA provides that the league has the unilateral right to keep or eliminate the rookie pool in the Final League Year.

Q: Is there a Minimum Team Salary in the Final League Year?

A: There is no Minimum Team Salary in the Final League Year. The Minimum Team Salary in 2009 is $107,748,000, meaning each team is required to allocate more than $107 million to player costs (not including benefits). The team salary cap in 2009 was $123 million.

Q: Are there individual player minimum salaries in the Final League Year?

A: Yes, but they rise at a rate somewhat slower than player minimum salaries rise in capped years.

Q: Do any player contract rules from capped years remain in place for the Final League Year?

A: Yes, some rules like the “30% increase rule” are still in effect in the Final League Year for player contracts signed in capped years. That rule restricts salary increases from 2009 to 2010. For example: a player with a $500,000 salary in 2009 would be limited to annual salary increases of $150,000 ($500,000 x 30%) beginning in 2010.


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Hey, Armando, no one walks home from a conference championship game with their tale between their legs. If you ever covered a team that made it that far you might know that. And, seriously, who the hell cares what a Dolphin beat-writr has to say about a final-four playoff team? You'll sink to a new low if you publish anything like that.

I hope you realize that your jealousy/inferiority complex completely taints whatever analysis you try to inject in your work product. Take a look at your peers in any other major media market and you'll notice that they primarily criticize their OWN team and not the competition because they realize that their listeners/readers don't benefit from hearing the media parrot their own biased and completely unobjective opinions.

Enjoy the game Sunday. Win or lose, I'm happy just knowing that you and your fellow Jets-haters won't get to experience watching your team in a game of this magnitude anytime soon.

Here we go again. Weston Jets Fan, do you really have nothing better to do than talk smack on your rival teams' blog? Yes, the Jets are in the playoffs and the Dolphins aren't. And yes the Dolphins swept the Jets this year and made them eat their own words. And yes, the Jets fans are the most hated in the league. I'd rather be classy and follow a losing team (who is on the rise), than be a scumbag fan who thinks they know about football when they don't. Go shave your long back-hairs and talk smack with your fellow idiots, I mean your fellow Jets fans...

That goes for you too Tortured. You and Weston Jets Fan should watch Jersey Shore together then go to sleep on your c#ck-shaped pillows

The only team anyone will remember is the team that wins the Superbowl, and it won't be the Yets...1969 to 2069...100 years of abject failure...

But we will still get the pleasure of kicking the jets behind twice this year and 3 in a row. Thanks for stopping by :)

Thank you. Now we're talking Miami football baby!!!!

We will probably see teams with some bad contracts cut the players this off-season to avoid cap hits. I see it coming.

I don't give a rats @zz about the Jets. They will wear sad faces again after the game.

Hey, Rodge, let's get something straight, Armando is one talking smack and fueling this anti-Jets sentiment down here. So don't talk to me about class, pal.

Dude this is a dolphins blog what do u expect?? We hate u just for your being.. I hate all jets down to the last little baby jet fan get a clue

I think they will work out some kind of salary cap. Hopefully, and I mean hopefully, this hoopla is just the NFL's way of keeping things interesting for us fans with teams out of the playoffs like playing the Pro Bowl before the Super Bowl. If not, then us Phins fans might need to buy J-Lo and Marc Anthony CDs so we can afford to compete.

Let's get this straight Weston Jets Fan, I'm not your pal. I'm a Dolphins fan who is proud to be a Dolphins fan. I dont go to Jets blogs and talk. I have better things to do like talk on Dolphins blogs with fellow Dolphins fans. Armando can fuel any fire about the classless Jets fans he wants. In fact, I'm pleasantly surprised that he did and I've got his back all the way. It's a free country so you can talk all you want, but you'll always be a scumbag.......

Welcome to Miami sweetheart

Enjoy the game Sunday, pal. Maybe we'll get lucky and quadruple the number of playoff teams the Dolphin have won in your lifetime. I'll go back to my Jets fan message board now, but I'm sure I'll be back next time I find out my team is being discussed in a negative light by this second-rate media outfit.

1969 1969 1969 1969 1969 1969 put on ur Namath Jersey and get lost

I'm sure you'll be back, you've showed you have nothing better to do. And I'll be here waiting to shine negative light on my team's most hated rivals, the Jets. There's no crying in football. If you can't take it, then root for the Jets, oh wait, you're already there. Goodbye sweetheart!!!!

And by the way Weston, anybody that moves to another state needs to move on and root for his new home team, U know I95 runs North....if u love NY go the FU"K back, I'll wave while ur moving van goes by

The funny part is I've been to many Dolphins games in NJ, I've found the fans to be a bunch of great party animals that know how to tailgate before the game and after the game they can be ugly depending if their team won or lost. I think that Mr. Weston and Mr. Tortured are the exception rather than the rule.

Weston knows about "second rate" cause the Jests and their fans have always been "second rate" in their own city...they play their home games at "Giants Stadium" and before that they had to play at their "second rate" baseball teams stadium, Shea...and of course if ur a Jets fan ur also a Mets fan, that way u can continue to be a loser in winter AND summer....:)

I'll totally buy Weston a one way ticket back to New Jersey only if she agrees not to return to sunny South Florida

I think the Jets fans are gone, it already smells better in here. Anyways, back to Dolphins football. I hope we get offensive and defensive lineman early in the draft. We don't need anymore injury-prone veterans.

MAphinsfan, when u went to the Jets games up at "Giants Stadium" did u realize that the trailers the Jets fans pull to the games are actually their homes???? I guess those party animals get revved up on all that Pabst Blue Ribbon they have to drink....:)

Rogde and boobyd12 dont make me kick your @zz. Go to bed idiots1!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Anytime you're feeling froggy Weston, jump!

Rodge you probably look like Rodge in "Whats Happening" You little geek I will squash you.

Are you really still here Weston Jets Prick? I thought you said you were leaving.

Rodge what do you think? Lame brain. I woould love to feel your warm blood on th end of my fist. hahahahahahahhahahaha

You're talking about Whats Happening and you call me a geek? You probably look like Rerun!!

The person who is trying to impersonate me needs to get a life. Rodge, my last post was at 10:19 pm. I'm guessing this is Salguerro trying to stir up more Dolphins-Jets hatred. Good night.

Wait a cotton picking minute. Now the bozo who just posted at10:57pm is a faker. Get a life. I am the true Weston Jets Fan...punk

Rodge please dont hate me. I am a lover not a fighter. I still despise you though

It's all good. You'll have to get in a long line if you want to despise me though

WTF Rodge this faker is the same bozo at 10:57 and 11:05. He is making me look weak. I still want to beat you for you are the enemy

Go beat yourself weirdo


Where is NJ FLIM FLAM? He is an ego driven loudmouthed, right wing piece of human garbage

Where's DYING BUFFOON aka Heil Hitler and his big mouth , no nothing about anything self. Personally i think he's the biggest P*SSY i have ever met.

NJ is errmm having a life... If you like I can buy you one.. It's really fun to have. Sadly Jets fans don't have life so maybe you switch to a team worthy of having fans and I'll buy you a life!

Ok Cuban, have a great night...tommorow pls use Hialeh Jets Fan...NOJets, NObama, NO sh"t....lol :)

I think DYING BUFFON aka Heil Hitler is Freaking , P*SSY racist. He's filth and lives in a sewer.

Great now NJ is posing as me. You bunch of losers.............

NJ why do you still mention my name? Still posting like a little girl. LOL LMAO ....what a loser.hahahahahhaha

I think Rodge is posting as me. Am I on Punkd right now?

Great now dying breed is posing as me .

I think the cuban menace is posing as everyone.

Dude, I feel like in in the Twilight Zone and I haven't even smoked yet

Dying Breed , stop posing as me because i'm posing as everyone .

Damn it, I knew I should have taken the blue pill

Dying Breed the poser. NJ isn't even here you P*$$Y.

this stuff about not wanting so called diva recievers or whatever is complete garbage every team has guys that rock the boat or arent the best teamates or citizens for that matter and yet someone manages to win the super bowl every year with them. the running game and whole offense would be so much better with a superstar wr like brandon marshall instead of a bunch of second tier wr's like we have now.if the fins can get him for that first pick they should do it they would still have plenty of picks for defense

KC, you're a tool and you have no idea what your talking about.

good one weston jets dork thats so hilarious

Just read article in mia herald by isreal guiterez,that guy is the biggest a-hole ever...do we want to be the jets?nah nah nah dawg!F that,throw run no run run,that guy need b fired.so naucious I eat buy!

I think the Dolphins are a better team we just got lucky to get where we are. Its been a fun time being a jet fan and you Dolphin fans have a lot to look forward too. I also think this blog is very good. Thanks everyone.

I Love that the Pets and Cheaters have restrictions on free agents nd singing being in the playoffs. That works great for us!!!!

i love all these personal comments, it's so cool to see the BS that goes on behind the vail of suspiction. I do miss the playoffs, with the Miami dolphins playing. but all is still cool!

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