Tuesday, July 19, 2005

RFA offer sheets

One aspect of the new CBA that we haven't heard anything from the media about has been RFA compensation if there is an offer sheet? Will offer sheets be a part of the new CBA, and if so are there any changes to RFA compensation? Will those changes, combined with the rest of the changes to the CBA, either increase the number of offer sheets we will see going forward?

If teams value their 1st round draft picks less than before perhaps we will see an rash of RFA offer sheets, assuming compensation rates remain the same as under the previous CBA? Might there be a team that evaluates the worth of first round draft picks and decides that, unless they project their team to the bottom 5 within the next year or two, there is no reason to use their1st round picks selecting players in the draft again? That they would receive better value finding teams pressed to the cap, or unable/unwilling to spend, with high quality RFA talent and using their first rounders to acquire them instead of selecting players in the draft. Alternatively, perhaps RFA offer sheets will still be infrequent/non-existent given the drop in UFA age? Not only would you be giving up 5 1st rounders to sign, say, Spezza, away from OTT, but you'd also have to pay him enough so that OTT wouldn't match (I've picked them as an example given that they look to be pressed against the cap). Meaning that Spezza costs you 5 first rounders in addition to his salary which could be spent on UFA's. Given what Spezza would cost, perhaps teams would decide that yes he is incrementally better than the UFA they can get for the same 5 or so mil, but not so much so that he's worth 5 - 1st round picks in addition to his salary.

Under the old CBA some said the reason teams didn't offer more offer sheets was that it wasn't worth 5 1sts in addition to what you'd have to pay the player (when you could sign someone else for the same money from the UFA market). Others said it was because teams would always match your offer, meaning that 5 1sts wasn't enough. These don't seem to mesh very well, but I suppose when teams hold different goals they will act differently, and not unreasonably, even if both were faced having to match identical offer sheets.

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