League minimum increases, change to transition tag

Here are 10 things NFL teams learned Thursday about the six-year collective bargaining extension.

1. NFL minimums increased $40,000 across the board from what was scheduled in 2006. The minimum salary for rookie or first-year players is $275,000; second year is $350,000; third year is $425,000; fourth year is $500,000; fifth-year through seventh year is $585,000; eighth year through 10th year is $710,000; and 11th year and longer is $810,000. For some teams, that eats up a considerable amount of the $7.5 million cap increase from $94.5 million to $102 million.

2. There have been two changes in the minimum-veteran contracts that provide teams cap relief on one-year deals. The old rule enabled a team to sign a vested veteran with four or more years experience for the minimum salary plus a $25,000 signing bonus and it would count only $460,000 against a team's cap. Now, a team can give such a veteran player a maximum bonus of $40,000 along with the minimum salary and it will count $425,000 against the cap.

3. The maximum length of contracts for a rookie drafted in the first 16 selections in the first round is six years. The maximum contract for a rookie selected in picks 17 to 32 is five years. Players taken in rounds two through seven can't be given a contract longer than four years. Teams have tried to force rookies taken in the second day of the draft to sign five-year deals.

4. Before the start of the league year, a team can designate two players who will be destined for June 1 releases to spread out remaining signing bonus acceleration into the next year. To do this, teams must carry those players' cap numbers until June 1, but release them before March so they can hit free agency. After June 1, the team gets to remove the salary and take the remaining cap hit in the following year. For example, if a player has $4 million of remaining signing bonus and four years left on his contract, he can be released before March and be a free agent. After June, the team would have only the $1 million of proration on its cap that year and let $3 million be applied to the following year's cap.

5. There is significant change in the transition tag. First, if a player signs the transition tag, his one-year contract is guaranteed. In the previous agreement, that wasn't the case -- unlike with the franchise designation, transition tenders weren't guaranteed.

6. Teams will be given an entire offseason to sign a franchise or transition player without losing the ability to tag future players. The current rules give a team that tags a player until March 17 to reach a long-term deal without losing the ability to give a franchise or transition designation for the length of that long-term deal. Under the new rules, the Seahawks, for example, have the ability to negotiate a long-term deal with transition guard Steve Hutchinson until July 15. If he signs a long-term deal before then, the Seahawks can get the tag for the next year. After July 15, the team can keep the franchise or transition tag only if the player signs a one-year deal.

7. The CBA can be voided after four years by the union or the owners if it isn't working well, but that isn't expected to happen. The NFL owners paid a high price for labor peace, and they aren't about to give it up.

8. There is a little change for rookies. A rookie contract cannot be renegotiated in the first two years. Any renegotiation of a rookie contract has to be done in the third year or beyond.

9. The five-year proration of contracts in 2006 -- it was four years without a CBA extension -- will allow rookies selected at the top of the draft to continue to make big money. Signing bonuses or guarantees have increased as much as $24 million for a top pick, particularly for quarterbacks. With four-year proration, the biggest signing bonus a top draft pick such as Reggie Bushwould have received would be about $15 million. Now, he or Matt Leinart can go for the $20-plus million gold with five-year proration in 2006. There will be six-year proration in 2007.

10. The salary cap will be $109 million in 2007.

John Clayton is a senior writer for ESPN.com.