As the National Football League locked out its players over the weekend, a nationwide movement is underway to secure free agents until the fight over a new collective bargaining agreement is settled.
NFLPA members traditionally sign one-year deals for the duration of their rookies contracts and then re-sign during free agency. No players signed the bulk of the NFLPA’s players in 2011 even though the lockout was lifted, and this year the camp just opened last Wednesday. The magnitude of the lost income means the financial strain on some players from the work stoppage will reach long after the season ends.
Here is a list of some of the players expected to make significant money this year who are making their way through free agency:
Darrelle Revis: Second-year linebacker Julian Peterson expects Revis to make a significant impact in his third year in the league.
Willis McGahee: The Miami Dolphins running back signed a one-year deal worth $3.575 million for a 33-year-old veteran.
Andre Johnson: Wide receiver is not expected to crack $10 million this season.
St. Louis Rams defensive tackle Jurrell Casey: The free agent signed a three-year, $8.25 million deal with a reported $4.25 million guaranteed.
Darren McFadden: And Eagles running back is expected to make $10 million or more.
Jake Long: Kansas City Chiefs tackle signed for five years, $60 million with a $22 million signing bonus.
Michael Bennett: The Seahawks defensive end signed a five-year, $32 million deal with a $7.5 million signing bonus.
After the NFL signed a labor deal with the players union, the remaining players who had the most leverage in the competition for free agency faced a choice. They could sign with their former teams or take other free agency deals. Now the league and the players association must strike a deal in time for the season to start in August or players may be locked out again and enter the 2011 offseason without any new deals.
The following players have less leverage and are eligible to sign: