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Prior to Free Agency

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Old 02-16-2005, 01:20 AM   #1
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Prior to Free Agency

All this Free Agency talk has got me thinking: Prior to the era of Free Agency in the NFL, how did players move from one team to another? How was this system any different than the system of Free Agency that we have today? I am too young to remember anything about the NFL before free agency began, so I really have no idea how things worked back then. Any old-timers out there who can fill me in?
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Old 02-16-2005, 01:55 AM   #2
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Re: Prior to Free Agency

you pay them enough they will stay on yoru team even if they are backups.
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Old 02-16-2005, 02:20 AM   #3
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Re: Prior to Free Agency

players stayed with teams their whole carreer. trades where very rare so you better draft well.
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Old 02-16-2005, 02:37 AM   #4
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Re: Prior to Free Agency

Way back when in the 50s/60s, when Curmudgeon was a pimply face rebel teenager, certain players could negotiate with other teams. But the team that signed the player had to give the initial team some form of compensation (player, draft choices, cash). This was known as the “Rozelle Rule” and was a far cry from the free agency we know today.

In 1976, in the case of Mackey vs. National Football League, a U.S. District Court ruled that the “Rozelle Rule” violated the Sherman Antitrust Act.

In 1989, the NFL introduced Plan B free agency. This allowed each team to protect 37 players each offseason. I think this was similar to restricted free agents, in that protected players could not sign with other teams without giving their current team the first chance to sign him or making the new club provide the old club with compensation.

In 1992, in the case of Freeman McNeil vs. National Football League, a federal jury found that Plan B violated antitrust laws as well, saying the compensation rules were more restrictive than necessary and that it caused economic harm to players since it limited their ability to make money in comparison to other sports that didn’t have such restrictive free agency rules. This ruling paved the way for free agency as we know it today

Hope that helps some
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Old 02-16-2005, 07:43 PM   #5
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Re: Prior to Free Agency

smootsmack:

I was indeed a pimply faced teenager in the 50s and 60s and one part of the "Rozelle Rule" you left out was that the price of signing another teams's player was outrageous. I don't remember which player changed teams, but the compensation was a first round and a second round pick in the year of the signing and a first round pick the next year. And that was when there were a LOT fewer teams so the second round pick was worth a lot more. In the deep recesses of my memory, I think it was a linebacker, but I can't pull up the name...

Basically, before the current "free agency era", players moved among teams because they were traded or they wer ewaived and could sign with someone else.
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Old 02-16-2005, 08:36 PM   #6
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Re: Prior to Free Agency

the 60's were great wernt they....lol.
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