Understanding the 2011 CBA Agreement

Here's a quick 5-point summary of what the new Collective-Bargaining-Agreement means for the NFL over its 10 year term:

  1. Free Agency
    A player must have 4 years of experience to become an Unrestriced Free Agent (in comparison to 6). Players with 3 years of experience are eligible for Restricted Free Agency. 
     
  2. Salary Cap
    The team salary cap is now $120.375 million. Teams must be at a minimum of 89% ($107.1 million) to that cap figure each year. 
    In 2012, each team has the right to use a $1.5 million transition exemption on 3 players in lei of the large adjustment in cap from previous years. 
     
  3. Rookie Wage Scale
    The new scale cuts rookie wages by more than 50%. First Round draft picks will get 4 year contracts, with a 5th year team option. Draft picks in rounds 2-7 have slotted 4 year contracts. The 5th year option salary is determined by the average salary of the top 10 players of that position. Any draft pick who holds out prior to signing will lose all leverage. Any draft pick who holds out after signing will no longer have the opportunity to re-negotiate during the duration of the deal.
     
  4. Minimum Salary Increase
    Increased between 10-12%, the current minimum salaries are:
    Rookie: $375,000
    2nd Year: $450,000
    3rd Year: $525,000
    4th Year: $600,000
    5-7 Year: $685,000
    8-10 Year: $810,000
    10+ Year: $910,000
     
  5. Franchise Tags
    Exist without any change. Teams have the ability to use one franchise tag per year, with no limit on how many times a player can be tagged.