2011 NFL Lockout: Free Agency Chaos And The 49ers

Yesterday at lunch time, smileyman put together a rundown of the latest news surrounding a possible July 21st end to the NFL lockout. While the projected end date is still a bit speculative, the general plan following the eventual end of the lockout seems fairly consistent whether the lockout ends next week or anytime after that. As it currently stands, there would be a three-day period in which free agents could only negotiate with their own team. That would be followed by the start of free agency. Rosters have to be set at 90 players six days later, which leaves a fairly limited time to get unrestricted free agents signed.

Whenever the labor dispute finally ends (I'm a fan of this prediction), we'll see some serious chaos as teams battle for free agents. The question for our purposes is, given the drastically reduced time to prepare with a new team, how much will the lockout impact teams' abilities to resign their own players? Len Pasquarelli threw together some comments on the issue over at scout.com and thinks we could see an increase in the number of free agents that re-sign with their current team.

The article requires a log-in so for those who don't have a log-in, Pasquarelli's main point is that if the money is close enough, players might be more inclined to stick with a familiar situation given the amount one has to learn in a limited time with a new team. For the 49ers, we can look at this in one of two ways. On the one hand you've got a brand new coaching staff bringing in their own plans for the team, which makes it new enough. On the other hand, there's still the basic level of "chemistry" with current teammates.

Does a truncated offseason benefit or hurt the 49ers in terms of free agency? Guys like Aubrayo Franklin (likely leaving for big money) and Alex Smith (likely staying on a one-year deal) are sort of outliers given the expected results. Beyond those two, does the truncated schedule make a difference?

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