ESPN's John Clayton was a guest of "Mike and Mike In The Morning" on Tuesday to discuss what the free agency period, which starts on Friday, will look like without a salary cap for the first time since 1993 absent a last-minute extension of the Collective Bargaining Agreement.
"The biggest change you're going to see is a depressed free agent market because all you're going to see is about 220 players, most of those older players hitting the market," Clayton said. "You may see a few more trades. You're going to see teams with much lower budgets as far as signing players and a lot less activity."
In a salary cap year, a player needs only four years of service to become an unrestricted free agent. In the uncapped year, a player needs six years of service to reach unrestricted free agency. Here's a list of the Eagles' soon-to-be free agents.
"There's going to be a very fast free agent market, one that only lasts a day or two and then you're going to see a slow trickle of veterans and a lot of veterans who are 30, 31 years old aren't going to get jobs," Clayton said.
Highlighting the free agent class, according to Clayton, is Carolina defensive end Julius Peppers. The five-time Pro Bowl selection had 10.5 sacks last year playing under the franchise tag for the Panthers.
"He's going to lead the charge because he's got six to eight teams after him. He's probably going to get an excess of $12 million a year," Clayton said. "He's got 3-4 teams, 4-3 teams (interested) and that's pretty much a little but more than what he was offered by the Panthers last year, but it gives him a chance to take his career to what he hopes is the next level."
Clayton does not list the teams that are interested. Over the weekend, the Philadelphia Inquirer's Jeff McLane reported that the Eagles were on Peppers' short list.
Other key free agents, according to Clayton, include Arizona linebacker Karlos Dansby.
"A big battle going starting on Friday between the New York Giants and the Miami Dolphins" for Dansby's services, Clayton said.
Other defensive players set to cash in include Houston cornerback Dunta Robinson and Green Bay defensive end/linebacker Aaron Kampman. On offense, Clayton lists Tampa Bay's Antonio Bryant and Seattle's Nate Burleson as the top wideout targets. San Diego's decision not to tender restricted free agent Darren Sproles means that he should get a good contract as a free agent because of the lack of quality depth available.
"You're not going to find positions like running back that's very deep," Clayton said.
Clayton concluded that the prime free agent market might dry up before the morning rush to work on Friday.
"The deals (for the top players) will start to get done at about two or three in the morning. After that, it starts to dry up pretty fast," Clayton said. "That means it's going to be a fast free agency period."
-- Posted by Chris McPherson, 10:52 a.m., March 2