Apples and oranges
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LeBron James and other heavy hitters involved in the current NBA free agency deliberations can leave athletes in the professional sports world jealous for similar attention and hype. While every athlete desires to be compensated for their perceived value, both players and fans alike must consider the differences in the games.
-- First, cap room is dispersed more evenly in the NFL because there are more than 50 players on each team as opposed to basketball's 15.
-- Second, basketball is a glamor sport where one individual - playing both offense and defense - can have a bigger impact in one game or season, and standouts will naturally command significant attention. For all the money in football, and singular importance of the quarterback position, football is still more of a collective game of players and coaches and coordinators working together as a team to win.
-- Last, the NFL Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) is under discussion presently and the NFL Players Association is working alongside the NFL to achieve harmony. Because the NFL owners opted out of their CBA two years early, the 2010 season will be uncapped. This issue provides significantly less mobility for NFL players.
In this uncapped year, players whose contracts have expired become unrestricted free agents only if they have six or more accrued seasons. Unrestricted free agents are free to sign with any team with no compensation owed to their old team. Also during this season, teams may designate one Franchise Player and one Transition Player, instead of simply one or the other. This takes those players off the market for potential transactions.
Additionally, the 'Final Eight Plan' was in place during the 2009-2010 playoffs adding restrictions to the eight teams that made the divisional playoffs. These restrictions include the ability to sign Unrestricted Free Agents from other teams and are in place this coming season.
There are a number of changes proposed as each side works towards an agreement. Several items of note include benefits paid to disabled former players, player compensation for televised NFL games and player contract disputes.
Comparing the NFL to the NBA is similar to a trite comparison of apples and oranges.
July 8, 2010; 9:08 AM ET
Collective Bargaining Agreement
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