If the new CBA takes the shape that’s currently being reported, unrestricted free agency would arrive after four years. That was the standard number for players with expired contracts to hit free agency until 2010 -- the final year of the old CBA -- when players needed to have six years of experience.
So Independence Day could arrive for players who were trapped by the rule change in the final year of the last deal.
Here’s a team-by-team look at notable players who stand to be unrestricted now who didn’t know what their fate would be in a new labor agreement.
WR Jacoby Jones -- Flashes make him appealing, inconsistency makes him dispensable if someone wants to pay him more.
QB Matt Leinart -- Likely to move on to a place where he can rank better than No. 3.
RB Joseph Addai -- Has more value to the Colts because of system fit, so perhaps he won’t get a more attractive offer elsewhere.
S Melvin Bullitt -- There are a lot of safety-needy teams in the league, including the other three in the AFC South and he’s very steady.
DT Antonio Johnson -- Probably would only rank fourth on the inside. Has not been real effective but team seems to like him.
OL Charlie Johnson-- Versatility makes him valuable, but like Addai he may not fit other teams as well.
LB Clint Session -- The Colts have a long history of letting young linebackers move on and plugging in the next guy.
LB Justin Durant -- All indications are the team is ready to find a veteran linebacker in free agency to take his place.
TE Marcedes Lewis -- He’s franchise tagged and that’s expected to hold in the new agreement, so he won’t really become free.
P Adam Podlesh -- They could do better, they could do worse.
WR Mike Sims-Walker -- The team told him before the lockout they’d be going another direction.
DE Jacob Ford -- The Titans know his situational pass rushing value but are also looking to beef up and emphasize stopping the run.
G Leroy Harris -- The team’s faith in him as the starter at left guard appears to be unwavering.
LB Stephen Tulloch -- I suspect his view of his value and the league’s view are quite different.