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NFL Lockout 2011: Details Emerge In Proposed CBA, Free Agency Rules Affect Denver Broncos

Though the Eighth Circuit Court will likely rule on the lockout imposed by the owners in early July, the owners and the players may beat the judges to the punch and have a new Collective Bargaining Agreement in place inside of a few weeks. Over the last several weeks the two sides have been negotiating and on Tuesday some of the details emerged. ESPN's Chris Mortensen has the info and here are some of the finer points:

  • Players will receive 48 percent of all revenue, but it will not fall below 46.5 percent.
  • A salary cap will remain in place, but teams will need to be at or near it.
  • An 18-game season will be a negotiating point going forward, but it's not a slam dunk to happen now or in the future.
  • A 16-game Thursday night schedule will be created.
  • Unrestricted free agency starts at four years.
  • Retired players receive improved benefits.

The owners still need to vote on this and there could always be dissension among the group.

The bullet on unrestricted free agency does affect the Broncos. Back in March, the team extended qualifying offers to five players who were set to hit unrestricted free agency. Defensive tackle Kevin Vickerson, signed an extension with the team shortly after that move. Of the four three that remain, only Wesley Woodyard remains unaffected, having played only three years. Offensive tackle Ryan Harris and DL Marcus Thomas and K Matt Prater now appear headed to free agency. CORRECTION: Prater does not have enough service time to be a free agent despite playing in four seasons.

Thomas let his intentions be known to seek free agency back in March and Harris is also as good as gone. Drafting Orlando Franklin, the Broncos tipped their hands in the direction they were going with Harris.