We've discussed how there will be fewer unrestricted free agents on the market this offseason because of the rules that go along with an uncapped 2010.
Now, that doesn't necessarily mean that there won't be any shake-ups to NFL rosters within the next two or three months, even to the one here in Baltimore.
There are a few areas that members of the Ravens front office see potential for player movement this offseason, including street free agents (players cut by their current team in the coming weeks), players bumped out of a roster spot and cut after the Draft, and obviously, the Draft itself.
But as teams look to make improvements to their rosters from last year, there's another part of the process that especially intrigues Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti.
"I think there will be a lot of activity in this offseason as people find what constraints they have with those  extra restricted free agents," Bisciotti said at the team's recent "State of the Ravens" press conference.
What Bisciotti is referring to goes back to the first sentence of this entry.
The rules of the current collective bargaining agreement state that in an uncapped year, players will need six years of service time to become unrestricted free agents, as compared to the previous four. That means there will be far fewer UFAs this offseason (and as a result, a far greater number of restricted free agents) than in previous years, and that 212 players who would have been unrestricted this offseason revert back to RFA status.
Got all that? I'll have a quiz ready tomorrow morning.
Generally, teams are shy about signing other organizations' restricted free agents because they have to give up draft picks to do so. For instance, if a team assigns an RFA the top tender, another team would have to give up first and third-round picks to sign that player themselves.
But Bisciotti says that this offseason, he expects teams to be more active when it comes to the restricted market, his own team included.
"With restricted guys, it's going to be an interesting thing because there are hundreds of them out there," Bisciotti says. "If we lose a couple, we will pick up draft picks and we'll turn around and use those draft picks to sign somebody else's restricted.
"I think there will be more restricted free agent deals done this year than before."
The Ravens have a handful of restricted free agents hitting the market that might interest other teams, (although none of them are really expected to draw a ton of attention) and we'll obviously keep an eye on how many of their 19 total RFAs the Ravens choose to tender offers and at what levels.
On the flip side, there are a lot of big name restricted free agents out there from other teams, a bunch of which are wide receivers. Vincent Jackson, Brandon Marshall, Malcolm Floyd and others all could be possible targets for the Ravens should they choose to upgrade at the receiver position by adding an RFA.
In previous years, that might not be the method the Ravens would use to acquire a key piece; they would likely choose to go towards the Draft or the unrestricted market to fill a need.
Bisciotti says that trend might change a bit this season.
"When you're looking at the pool of people, the free agent class is [decreasing], and the restricted free agent class is [increasing]," Bisciotti says. "We're used to seeing free agents get picked up by teams; we're going to see that level going over to the restricted side."