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Owners Want Right Of First Refusal For UFAs In 2011

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Negotiations are proceeding swiftly, by all accounts, but that doesn't mean we're out of the lockout woods yet.

In fact, we're adding a bear to the mix, in the form of the latest request from the owners. What they're looking for is what amounts to a transition tag for three or four players per team, where the Falcons would be, say, be able to match any offer they got on Tyson Clabo. And Harvey Dahl. And Jason Snelling.

This is likely to be a non-starter for the players, who won't want to see big-name guys being essentially wedded to their teams. But the owners are understandably skittish about the number of players moving if, as is rumored, four year players are going to be UFAs instead of RFAs under a new CBA. Ah, acronyms.

I understand the impulse here. I do. Teams don't want to have all their best free agents pouring out onto the streets, and there would be a lot of guys switching cities if this happened. I can't say I entirely blame them for wanting to have a handful of ways to protect those free agents.

That said, it's probably going to gain zero traction, unless the owners are willing to concede something the players desperately want. This one will be worth keeping an eye on.

What say you?