All offseason, when we've written about trades and free agency, we've included a disclaimer: no moves can be made until a new CBA is in place.
But according to a new report from SI.com's Peter King, that might not necessarily be the case.
Sources tell King that trades and player movement could be possible before a new labor deal is reached.
Here's what needs to happen in the scenario that King describes: the union decertifies; the NFL locks out the players; the players sue; Judge David Doty rules in their favor; and the ruling survivies the NFL's appeal.
Writes King: If Doty granted injunctive relief, he could likely rule that the league's last work rules were still applicable, or he could simply allow the NFL to institute a set of rules of its choosing.
The 2010 rules of course did not include a salary cap (or a salary floor), but how willing would owners be to spend big money on players without knowing the kind of system that would be in place going forward? That's the tough question to answer.
Last year's rules also limited the number of restricted free agents based on years of service requirements.
Per King, it's possible the moves could start to be made in mid-April or May.
And while there are a lot of "IFs" in the above scenario, King's information is new and different than what we'd heard previously.
The obvious factor for the Eagles here is Kevin Kolb. By all accounts, there will be a big market for him, and I believe that the Eagles will be willing to deal him if they can get what they deem to be fair compensation.
The key date to watch would be April 28. That's when the first round of the NFL draft will take place. If the draft happens before free agency (and a trading period), teams will have to decide how (or if) to change their strategies with more holes to fill.
Taking a look at the Eagles' roster last season, here's how the players made their way on to the team:
Draft: LeSean McCoy, DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin, Jason Avant, Brent Celek, Max Jean-Gilles, Todd Herremans, Brandon Graham, Mike Patterson, Brodrick Bunkley, Trent Cole, Stewart Bradley, Jamar Chaney, Moise Fokou, Nate Allen, Kurt Coleman
Trade: Jason Peters, Darryl Tapp, Ernie Sims, Ellis Hobbs
Free agency: Michael Vick, Leonard Weaver, Jamaal Jackson, David Akers, Sav Rocca, Juqua Parker, Antonio Dixon (waivers), Asante Samuel, Dimitri Patterson, Quintin Mikell, Owen Schmitt
I included players that either saw significant playing time or figured to see significant playing time before they got injured. While the Eagles like to build through the draft, trades and free agency have been key. They acquired Vick, Peters and Samuel - three guys at important positions - via trades or free agency.
The other aspect of a potential lockout is undrafted free agents. The Eagles have added key pieces like J. Jackson, Dixon and Mikell that way in recent years.
These are all things to keep in mind as we count down to today's deadline and keep an eye on how things play out in the coming months.
On a sidenote, you won't be getting any weekend posts from me. My bachelor party was planned months ago, and I've promised friends that (for once), I will not be taking the laptop with me. Next time you hear from me, we should have a better idea of what's coming next. Meanwhile, the guys from the Inquirer and Daily News will have frequent updates on the developments.
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