No delay for start of free agency

The NFL free agency period looks as if it will begin March 3 as expected, but things could be slower than usual if player agents listen to the advice of NFLPA executive director Gene Upshaw.

At a meeting with an NFLPA advisory board meeting of 16 agents, Upshaw told the handpicked group to hold off on signing new contracts or restructuring deals with their current teams until March 2, the evening before the start of 2006 free agency.

That would keep players from getting burned by signing a new deal or restructuring an old one, only to have a new CBA agreed upon that made their deal a bad one.

One thing that won't happen now, according to sources, is a shift in the opening date of free agency. Upshaw said he's not going to move the opening of back from its March 3 opening date as had been talked about if there isn't any progress on a new collective bargaining agreement.

One of the holdups in CBA extension negotiations is revenue sharing among the owners. The high revenue teams have yet to cut a deal with the low revenue teams. Until that happens, Upshaw and the owners can't cut a deal for what percentage of total gross revenues will be given to the players.

If there is no new deal by Friday, agents will begin to prepare for an uncapped year in 2007 and no collective bargaining agreement in 2008.

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