If the NFL Lockout Ends in Time, 2011 Will be an Uncapped Year

MIAMI GARDENS, FL - MARCH 03: A view of Sun Life Stadium behind a locked gate as the NFL lockout looms on March 3, 2011 in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

According to The Washington Post, the players are attempting to lift the blackout in federal court in Minneapolis, by filing a 52-page antitrust lawsuit, and if they succeed, whatever is salvaged of the 2011 season will likely be played under the same uncapped rules that the 2010 season was played under.

That would mean there would be no player-payroll maximum or minimum for NFL teams. Players with expired contracts would need six years of NFL service time to be eligible for unrestricted free agency, rather than the four seasons required when the salary cap system was in effect; players with expired contracts and three to five seasons of NFL experience would be restricted free agents. Each team would have an extra transition-player tag, in addition to the one franchise-player or transition-player designation allowed per club under the salary cap system, to restrict players’ movement in free agency, and there would be limits on the free agent activity of last season’s final eight playoff teams.

Players expect to hear within three to four weeks if their request for an injunction is granted. If it is, and the lockout is lifted, the owners can then appeal the decision in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit. If that happens, it's possible that the lockout is lifted and then sent back into lockout mode if an owner appeal were to be granted.

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