NFL owners agreed to a six-year extension of the Collective Bargaining Agreement on Wednesday evening. The vote was 30-2.
The decision is expected to increase the 2006 salary cap substantially.
The salary cap is expected to be $102 million, an increase from the $94.5 million that would have gone into effect without an extension.
The lower salary cap figure would have forced several teams, including the Redskins, to release some veteran players. It's possible that the Redskins will still need to release some players in the coming days, depending on the amount of the salary cap.
Head coach Joe Gibbs and team officials had worked diligently over the last few weeks to restructure contracts of veteran players, including quarterback Mark Brunell.
It is expected that those contract restructurings will be voided now that a new Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) has been approved.
Gibbs has said that, with a CBA extension, he expected the team would be aggressive in free agency.
Team officials have identified wide receiver, defensive line and cornerback help as positions of need this offseason.
Weak-side linebacker may also be a position to address due to the departure of LaVar Arrington.
"The way I look at it is that we are one of the aggressive teams in the league when it comes to signing free agents and doing the things we need to do," Gibbs said earlier this week. "Everybody has their own mode of operation, but for us we feel like being aggressive when we see players that we can add through free agency."
-- FAST FACTS ON THE CBA EXTENSION
Courtesy of the NFL
- 2006 free agency begins at 12:01 AM ET on Saturday (March 11). At that time or shortly thereafter, the NFL Player Personnel Department will send to clubs the list of players whose contracts have expired. We will distribute the list to the media by Saturday afternoon and you will be copied.
- The deadline for waiver requests and other personnel transactions on Friday, March 10, will be 6:00 PM ET.
- The salary cap for 2006 is $102 million. For 2007, it is $109 million.
- The term of the new CBA is six years, through 2011.
- Rookies drafted below the first round cannot be signed for more than four years.
- Player benefits will be substantially improved, including expanded post-career medical coverage.
- There will be continued support from the union for stadium construction, youth football, NFL Europe League and other initiatives.