How a few players are turning the NFL on its head | How will the NFL’s ‘pass the baton’ rule affect you? | NFL Insider
The NFL’s pass the bato rule, instituted by the league in the 1960s, prohibits teams from signing free agents until the draft.
That means teams can’t sign players who signed with other teams.
Players can’t be signed to contracts that are less than two years in length, and teams can only sign a player once, usually the player’s first day on the job.
It has the potential to make it difficult to sign big-name free agents, like Antonio Brown or Dez Bryant, who are expected to sign contracts that run through the 2021 season.
“I think it is the end of the era of free agency,” said David Fleming, a senior fellow at the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center and an expert on the league.
“It’s a major blow to the players.
This is the NFL, the NFL is supposed to be about players. “
This is a big win for teams and it’s really bad for the NFL.
This is the NFL, the NFL is supposed to be about players.
But the NFL has been trying to create a world where teams are the gatekeepers for free agents.”
The rule was supposed to prevent teams from overpaying big-time free agents with players they have already signed to long-term deals.
But some players are feeling the impact of the rule and are taking a stand.
Former Steelers wide receiver Martavis Bryant, for example, has made a habit of signing with other NFL teams.
He signed with the Baltimore Ravens and then the New York Giants, who drafted him in the fourth round.
Bryant told The Associated Press on Monday that the league should be able to sign his free agents after the draft, but not before.
“We’re just not going to let it happen, so we’ll just go after free agents,” Bryant said.
“The only way we’re going to do that is if we get rid of the pass the batson rule.”
The NFL Players Association, meanwhile, is calling on the owners to adopt a similar rule to the one the league adopted in 2020.
That rule prohibits teams and players from signing until the NFLPA votes on it.
If that doesn’t happen, the owners will have to draft players who will become free agents before the league votes on the rule again.
If owners vote to change the rule, they will have two weeks to decide on it before the new rule takes effect.
The players union has not made a final decision on its stance.
“They don’t want to do anything that’s going to make us less attractive to free agents and players, and I don’t think that’s what we want,” said Jason La Canfora, a former NFL reporter and executive producer for ESPN’s “Outside the Lines.”
The players association has not released a position paper on the issue, and some players say it’s not clear that a change to the rule is necessary.
“If the NFL wants to play by the rules, they should be doing so in the draft,” said former wide receiver Brandon Marshall, who signed a five-year, $100 million deal with the Buffalo Bills in 2015.
“Instead, they’re going after free-agent signees.
They’re going for players who are under contract and they’re signing them to extensions.
I’m not surprised that they’re trying to do this.”
La Can fora called the owners “the most selfish, vindictive, self-serving group of people I’ve ever come across.”