A Brand New Game

Details of the league approved CBA that was voted on Thursday are leaking out and there are 4 things that so far stand out as making the NFL a brand new ball game.

Reducing Off Season Workouts and Limiting Padded Practices:  The NFL is using this as a way to reduce injury to players.  There will be no more two a day practices.  There will be limited off season workouts (which may lead to less off season work out bonuses).  There will also be a limit on padded practices.  The idea is to reduce wear and tear on the players bodies and reduce the number of repeated head shots that players are subject to, especially players like lineman, who take the shots in padded practices on an exponentially greater level than most of the rest of the players.  Some players have spoken out saying that it weakens teams and the game itself to reduce workouts and practices saying that it is making football more “wimpy”.

Game Day Rosters Set At 46:  The main thing that this change does is make the backup or number 3 quarterback and eligible player.  Before, teams had to put this QB on an inactive list and give him a clipboard and the only way he could play is due to an injury to the starting QB.  Now, the backup will be suited up and ready to play and can be substituted in at any point.  For running plays, wildcats and the like.  Or any other play a team may dream up.  It gives more options to a team and a coach and gives more headaches to opposing teams, especially if a team has a very athletic, runner type backup just waiting to come in and shake things up.  Tim Tebow, Vince Young anyone?

Training Camp Rosters Expanded to 90: The training camp rosters are being expanded from 80 to 90 players.  With the limited workouts and limited practice in pads time, these extra guys may not get any more of a chance to make the team than they would have before.  The extra 10 might be adding in some undrafted rookies hoping to make the team.  But it is unlikely they will be seen much at all given the new practice/workout rules.  It gives a glimmer of hope to someone trying to make a team that they even get a shot, but given the circumstances it might not be much of a shot in the end.

Salary Cap Exemptions for 2011 and 2012:  Teams will have a $3.5 million credit this season to help pay veteran players.  Also, teams can borrow up to $3 million from future salary caps to help pay veterans.  For a total of  $6.5 million that can be used on multiple players.  In 2012, teams can borrow up to $1.5 million against future caps for veteran players. This is the kind of help that teams can use to retain veterans for at least one more season.  But remember, any money used in this manner is borrowed money against future caps.  So it’s not free loan money, eventually that debt will come home to roost.

More details are sure to emerge as the deal finally gets done by both sides, but these are just some of the early details coming out.

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