Buyer's market for NFL free agents & franchise tags coming soon

Kevin Dockery of the St. Louis Rams is one of almost 500 potential free agents in the NFL this year, though not one of the more appealing free agents.

The NFL told the press today, as part of session designed to spin its message of just how woeful the current CBA is for owners, that it expects the franchise tag to be in use for teams starting in February. That's consistent to when it's been used in the past. 

It's highly unlikely that the St. Louis Rams would need to use the franchise tag this year. Of the 12 players scheduled for free agency, none merit the kind of one-year cost tied to the highest paid players in the league at that player's position. Here's the list of UFAs:

  • WR Mark Clayton
  • CB Kevin Dockery
  • TE Daniel Fells
  • DT Gary Gibson
  • OG Adam Goldberg
  • DT Chris Hovan
  • TE Darcy Johnson
  • S Michael Lewis 
  • WR Laurent Robinson
  • DT Clifton Ryan
  • TE Derek Schouman
  • OG Mark Setterstrom

Clayton and Goldberg make the most sense for the Rams to retain, but not at franchise value. Those 12 players will be among a bumper crop of 495 players scheduled to be free agents if the league goes back to the 4 years of experience rule for free agency under the old CBA. The unusual number of potential free agents is the result of the lapsed CBA in 2010 requiring players to have at least 6 years of experience, e.g. Oshiomogho Atogwe. Of those 495 potential free agents, 170 are starters and 70 are Pro Bowl players. 

The good news there is that it's a buyer's market for free agents...if, if, if they can get a CBA deal done in time. 

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