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Fire's early offseason moves give long-term flexibility

The Fire position themselves to benefit from a new, hopefully more-expansive Collective Bargaining Agreement

Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

One thing has been evident early on in the off-season - the Fire are not sitting still.

With the signings of Joevin Jones, Kennedy Igboananike, and Michael Stephens, the front office has acquired some major roster building-blocks early on. Last year's offseason was a well-documented effort to fix a tight cap situation and with the approaching CBA negotiations, the Fire could go quickly from cap-restricted to a team with large amounts of cap space. If a player-friendly CBA is signed, the Fire are now in pole position to benefit.

Since the season has ended, the team has declined a large number of options and left players unprotected in the expansion draft. The players that are not picked or resigned will only add to the amount of available cap space. The biggest event this offseason will be the CBA negotiations; the future of the league could be reshaped with a large increase in salary cap. It's inevitable that the salary cap will rise, the question is only by how much. By completing these moves already, the Fire leave room to use the newly-created cap space to make even more impact signings.

If the Fire had waited to make these signings until after the CBA is finalized, it is plausible that the new signings would have asked for more money and erased some of that cap space. By signing these guys early, the Fire bring in fresh blood to a team that desperately needs it at salaries that will hopefully be cap-friendly in a few months.

The new signings obviously know that the CBA talks are taking place and most likely negotiated their salaries around this. When (or if) the CBA is signed, there could be a large amount of cap space made available to the Fire and players who are looking for new contracts will look to take advantage of that. Instead the Fire wrapped up some of their business early and put themselves in a prime position to benefit from a player-friendly CBA.

The rest of the offseason will be shaped by the expansion draft and CBA negotiations but if things go according to the plan, expect the Fire to be in a position to make an impact signing or two at the end. From one offseason with no space to possibly an offseason with a large amount of space, expect the Fire to continue their remodeling after what was a long season.