From the Combine: Everybody shaking about CBA

INDIANAPOLIS - A NFL source has told Scout.com that the 2006 salary cap will be announced on Monday. The 2006 cap, according to this source, will be $95 million. This is on the high end of what was expected - most estimates were anywhere from $92 to $95 million.

Atlanta Falcons GM Rich McKay, who co-chairs the Competition Committee and has long been a major player in league matters, talked to the media on Saturday about the possible extension to the Collective Bargaining Agreement that would greatly affect how cap money is spent.

McKay said that the teams remain hopeful that there will be an extension, despite Player's Association head Gene Upshaw's recent comments that agents should negotiate as if there will be no extension. McKay also said that without a new deal, the March 3 free agency deadline will not be pushed back.

McKay said that it would be "extremely difficult" to operate without an extension.

Without a cap, McKay said that the "tricks of the trade" will all drop into this year's cap, affecting cap room. Contracts would only be able to be four years long and he thinks trades will be less likely because of accelerated bonuses. He also expects free agency would be slower.

But in late-breaking news on this matter, Scout.com has been informed at the Combine that members of one NFL organization are telling their staff that there is a very strong chance that the CBA will be extended by the deadline. Significant recent progress has been made, according to our source.

AGENTS HEADED FOR FEE CUT?

One of the bigger stories of the week that has got lost in the shuffle is what transpired in the annual agents meeting here in Indianapolis. While many of the agents are concerned about how their players will perform in the workouts for NFL teams, they have a potentially bigger and more costly issue to deal with.

During the lengthy meeting on Friday, the topic of dropping the agents fee from three to two percent was discussed. Essentially, that's a 33 percent drop if that goes through next month in a NFLPA meeting in Hawaii. If it happens, that could change have huge ramifications for the future.

"What would happen is you would see the end of the smaller agencies. In effect, unless you have a pretty stable clientele, you may have to close up shop," one veteran agent said Friday.

The drop in fees has been discussed in past meetings but it came to a head this week. Toward the end off the meeting, veteran agents Leigh Steinberg, Drew Rosenhaus, and others let the NFLPA know how destructive a drop in fees would be.

"It was good to see them stick up for the rest of us. We all stand to lose a lot of cash if the fee gets dropped," another veteran agent said.

Another potential problem is that you'll see agents only try to sign players who they know that will be first-day picks. The key to making money is getting the player to sign a second contract. If the player gets cut or doesn't find another team to sign with, the agents might not break even on the money they invested the player in from the beginning.

"Many of us won't be able to afford what it takes to sign the lesser player if he can't get a second deal. Sure, we would all like to get first day picks but many of us aren't all that lucky," an agent said who is in the third year of his business.

This situation certainly bears watching and is one that many should be concerned about.


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