I have been looking at how the slate of the NFL business is now wiped clean. With the new CBA we will have a chance to correct many things in how the NFL runs its business. One which we all know is coming is a rookie salary “cap” to keep first round contracts from being the burden they have become. The second is the timing of the NFL’s “business”.
Currently the Super Bowl is in the first part of February and about 4 weeks later is the beginning of the new NFL “year” and the start of Free Agency. A week or two later is the combine and then 4 more weeks until the draft.
What makes the most sense should be to move the combine and draft up a few weeks so the draft is close to the beginning of April and then shortly there after start Free Agency.
Why? Who cares? Well looking at drafting as being for the future to take players and begin to train them for possible starter positions it makes sense to draft for youth first and then bring in Free Agency later. This allows FA to either add depth or go after a particular player to fill needs as they have already been trained in how to do their job at an NFL level.
Using our Packers for example, is it urgent to resign or keep Tauscher under contract for 2011, I say no. Last year we resigned him for depth not knowing that we would have Bulaga fall to us in the draft. If TT and MM had drafted and signed Bulaga first would Green Bay have resigned Tauscher? Perhaps because he was one of the top FA RT out there and knew the system already. His veteran leadership would have still demanded his price tag. Of course with a training coaching staff here in GB maybe not and Tauscher would have been able to try and sign on the open market. That was a 5 million dollar decision for 2010 and is nearly the same for this year.
Smart money is to have the draft first and then allow the market to truly set the FA pricing and best fits for players. Also UDFA from the draft will have to what until this same FA period which really enhances the FA pool with both veteran and rookie players.
Rookie FA have normally gotten to “choose” where they think they will have the best chance to stick, now mid level FA will get that same chance. Would you rather go after a Tim Hightower (RB Cardinals) for depth with NFL experience or the top UDFA RB?
With demand comes choice, for Hightower could pick and choose where he thinks he will fit even if it is just for depth.
Do you like the idea of draft first, or should the NFL leave it as is?