SI.com's Peter King posted his latest Monday Morning Quarterback column and had an interesting comment related to a potential new collective bargaining agreement. According to King:
Bad news for the Vikings, if and when free agency happens -- and assuming unsigned players will be unrestricted free-agents after four or five years. Rice has four seasons of accredited service with the Vikings, and it's very likely that when a new CBA happens, unrestricted free agency will revert to the original rules -- if you're not franchise- or transition-tagged when unsigned after four or five years, you're free. When Adam Schefter reported Sunday Rice would definitely test the open market before he signs with anyone, it meant the Vikings would very likely be playing without Rice this year. If there is a this year, of course.
King's comments certainly have to be taken with a bit of a grain of salt because we don't really know where he's hearing this, and it could be from one side of the negotiating table. There is so much still to be done in NFL CBA negotiations that it's hard to say for certain whether this particular aspect of the rules is likely to end up one way or the other.
if this reversion on unrestricted free agency does actually happen, that would seem to open the door for Dashon Goldson and Ray McDonald to become unrestricted free agents. I know a lot of folks would be happy seeing Goldson take a walk, but it'd be nice to at least have an option to bring him back in some regard under restricted free agency. Although he did appear to struggle in 2010, he's shown enough in the past that to just say "See ya later" seems like a waste right now.
As for Ray McDonald, his abilities in the pass rush leave me hoping the 49ers are able to bring him back in 2011. He's a bit limited in terms of being an every down lineman, but he can bring the heat on on passing downs. As an unrestricted free agent he could get priced out of the 49ers budget.