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More than 200 NFL players could be impacted by impasse

Associated Press

WASHINGTON – Miles Austin of the Cowboys, Brandon Marshall of the Broncos and six other Pro Bowl picks are among more than 200 NFL players who would lose their status as unrestricted free agents this off-season if the league and its union can’t agree on a new contract.

According to a list obtained by the Associated Press, there are 212 players who would be considered restricted free agents – instead of unrestricted – if there is no salary cap in 2010. There is at least one player from each of the NFL’s 32 teams on the list.

Dozens of starters from across the NFL are on the list, including quarterback Kyle Orton of the Broncos.

“Free agency’s always been something for the players; always been a great thing. If you get one crack at free agency as a player, that’s what you dream of,” Orton said. “How it stands right now … guys aren’t going to be able to have that dream, to be a free agent.”

In an uncapped year, a player would need at least six years in the NFL, up from the current minimum of four, to be an unrestricted free agent able to sign with any team.

If they lose out on the chance to become unrestricted free agents this off-season, players might not get as big a payoff as they could have been expecting. They also won’t have the luxury of moving freely to any team.

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