View Full Version : No Free Agency?

03-18-2007, 12:19 PM
A real short history of how Free Agency came to be..........kind of interesting I thought.


What if the NFL had not adopted a system of free agency?

The NFL staff has identified plays or events that may have altered the course of history. Each Tuesday and Saturday throughout the offseason, we will be tackling a different scenario and speculate on how things might have gone differently.

Perhaps no league features as much player movement as the NFL, but that wasn't always the case. For decades, players fought to achieve freedom. The breakthrough finally came, ironically enough, as a result of the failed strike in 1987, and the consequences have forever altered the landscape of the league.

Paul Tagilabue was forced to finally give in to the demands of the players.

The NFL Players Association was formed in 1956, but struggled to gain the respect of the the league's owners and executives. Nevertheless, the threat of antitrust litigation helped the union win certain benefits through the years, including a pension, health insurance plan, and payment for exhibition games. It also eliminated the Rozelle Rule, which barred players from moving to another team after their contracts expired.

Despite two lengthy work stoppages (in 1982 and 1987), little progress was made in the area of free agency. In 1989, the union was formally decertified, converting into a professional association. In turn, union members brought a new antitrust action against the NFL challenging its free agency rules as an unlawful restraint of trade.

The players prevailed in a jury trail, and the verdict left the league with little choice but to agree on a formula that permitted free agency, in return for salary caps tied to a formula based on players' share of total league revenues. As rosters change every year and fewer players finish their careers with the team that drafted them, it is fair to wonder what the NFL would look like today without free agency?

boLT fan
03-18-2007, 07:38 PM
So what was before free agency? Could a player just never leave a team unless he was traded or something?

03-18-2007, 08:55 PM
So what was before free agency? Could a player just never leave a team unless he was traded or something?


Franco Harris did leave the Steelers though and became a free agent I guess.He ended up a Seahag.Needed like 300 yards rushing or around that to break Jim Brown's then-all-time record for rush yards in a career.He only got 170 as a Seahag and retired after that season.

Franco was holding out of TC wanting a new and bigger contract and him and the Steelers couldn't come to terms,so they released him.If he would have stayed a Steeler,I firmly believe he would have been the all-time rushing yards king...until Sweetness broke the record.