The NFL grids are still taking a long time to start and in that time some people who are not so fans of the National League Football wonder why is Free Agency first and then the Draft? Apparently money also rules in this discipline.
The entire beginning of the modern financial structure of the NFL dates back to 1993 when the owners and the NFL Players Association agreed on a system which allowed unrestricted Free Agency in exchange for a rigid salary cap for each of the franchises.
But from 1989 to 1992, a format known as “Plan B” had already been tried, where teams were allowed to protect 37 players who had been on their rosters the previous season. So the rest of the players were exposed and could sign with anyone as free agents.
This is how the franchises protected their players
The franchises protected their best players, leaving especially the reserves and veterans entered to be able to enter the market. The arrangement came at a very chaotic time for the NFL ; since two work stoppages had occurred in the decade of 1982 and 1987, in addition a series of soccer players filed an antitrust lawsuit against the league in order to secure a free agent market.
When Plan B started, it was agent Donald Yee, who said there was an urgency to get started. So the signing period started in February and lasted for two months, and no one thought that the pool of available players would be enough of an impact to change the existing balance between the two teams.
“Players who were eligible for Free Agency wanted to start talking to teams right away. That was the idea among the players. And GMs wanted adequate time to prepare for the Draft . A lot of player recruiting by agents back then didn’t start until December and January, during college star games,” Donald Yee said at the time.
Yee was heavily involved in this type of structure, having filed antitrust lawsuits for several players and later working to test the limits of the new collective bargaining agreement, which, when negotiated, must be fully guaranteed.
“There were agents recruiting and team management worried about having limited staff to do draft preparations. Actually, that’s part of the way it happened. They said, ‘We have to have some order here as to how these things happen, instead of everything happening at the same time,’ Donald analyzed.
So if franchises were allowed to draft before the Free Agency market opened , there would be fewer buyers for available free agents since the need would be less.
Basic economics suggest less money would be handled per contract, giving teams more leverage in negotiations and cap space to retain their remaining free agents before the market opens.