NFL Lockout May Mean 2011 Season Looks Like 2010 Season

We're in day three of the NFL lockout and, with the players requesting an injunction to block a lockout, the question is becoming when a final decision may come down. It could be a ruling this week saying the lockout is blocked or it could be a month.

But if it is blocked, there will need to be a set of rules by which the two sides can operate. According to Mark Maske of the Washington Post, it's expected that the 2010 rules would likely apply in that scenario. That means no salary cap -- or floor -- for the NFL's 32 teams.

Players with expired contracts would need six years of NFL service time to be eligible for unrestricted free agency, rather than the four seasons required when the salary cap system was in effect; players with expired contracts and three to five seasons of NFL experience would be restricted free agents. Each team would have an extra transition-player tag, in addition to the one franchise-player or transition-player designation allowed per club under the salary cap system, to restrict players' movement in free agency, and there would be limits on the free agent activity of last season's final eight playoff teams.    

The players didn't like those rules because it severely limited how much they could move in things like free agency. The biggest part of this, I think, is that those fourth and fifth year players that, under the pre-2010 rules would have been unrestricted free agents, would be restricted free agents. 

Blocking the lockout would mean football could be played so that's the scenario we'll be rooting for.

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