Update: Obviously Free Agency didn't start at midnight, but it will probably still happen very soon. Far more importantly, Yahoo! Sports reports that: "Once the owners are unable to lock out the players, it would be up to the owners to put in place a series of rules regarding free agency. That system is expected to be similar to what the NFL has done with free agency since 1993, such as players being free agents after four, five or six years." (link here.) This is good news because if the owners are setting the FA rules, it brings some equilibrium back to the matter and should prevent a dreaded free-for-all. More importantly, it sounds as if Rice will indeed still be a RFA, which is good for us.
Well, this was unexpected.
Thanks to a comment posted by Ted, I came across this little tidbit of info he linked to;
Free Agency could start by Midnight
Uh, yeah, we were prepared for that. And when I say "we", I'm actually lumping the fans and the owners together on this one.
More after the jump on this further depressing turn.
Yeah, I'm going to say the owners were caught a bit unawares by this development. I mean, maybe not- but no one seems to have taken any steps towards this. I know that tampering rules would have prevented us from discussing anything with any players who were under contract. But, I mean, did it even sound like the Vikes FO put together a FA wish-list? Granted, we offered Sydney Rice a contract- but did we do anything past that once it was stated that he wanted to test FA? And of course, the owners were preparing for a lockout, with all that it entailed. And it didn’t entail FA opening up.
Yes, I know these are all pessimistic assumptions. Maybe there was nothing we could do with Rice except wait and see once FA opened up anyways. And maybe the FO does have a wish-list and of course had the intelligence to not utter a peep.
But something, somehow- and call it the general depression of all of today’s events- makes me feel that this does not bode well for our fearless Vikings.
Furthermore, and please help me out here in the comments- I’m a little lost now on how this will work. Does FA operate under the same rules as before? As in, Rice is an RFA and at least we’ll get a first rounder to try and replace him with? Or is FA now just kind of a free-for-all, open market? That second scenario is going to REALLY get fun for us.
What about contracts? We’re still technically uncapped salary-wise, no? Do the richest teams now get the cream of the crop in FA? That’s also not so great for us. Wilf broke the bank last season, how much do the Vikings have left for this situation?
What about agents? They’re not regulated anymore. Hmmm… wonder how thatwill play out on a FA market. Who’s Sydney Rice’s agent again?
Oh, crap. No, I can’t figure out a way that not regulating agents hurts that situation- but if any agent can find a way to turn it ugly, it’s Rosenhaus.
Oh, and it gets better. Per the article, the FA opens… when Judge Doty rules on it. That means it might not betonight. Um, if it’s not- exactly how much warning do teams get?
Ah, and returning to finances here for a second. Remember that rookie wage scale that was agreed to? That was in the context of the CBA as a whole. That means it doesn’t actually exist right now. Meaning after blowing huge amounts of cash in FA, teams still better be saving some for their top level picks.
Fantastic. And again, all in a season where there’s no salary cap- and that’s going to hurt the Vikings.
OK- again, call me gloomy and overly pessimistic. Maybe FA will work out just fine, just like it would have regardless, and at least we’ll all have something to talk about for another month or two. But something deep down tells me that the Minnesota Vikings’ nightmare of 2010 is about to start extending into 2011.