Background: Contract (years) Dynasty League started in 2001, 16 Teams. Local, mid-stakes ($300).
Several seasons ago, we expanded from 14 to 16 Teams. I'm an original Owner, served as Assistant Commish from founding though 2013, then assumed the Commish mantle and have managed the League since. There's a fair amount of democracy, but there's a fair amount of benevolent dictatorship as well...
...one of my primary roles as AC, and as Commish, was to curate and maintain a wait list of potential replacement Owners. Although the League still has 10 'original' members (8 founders + 2 replacements that have been on board for all but the first 2 or 3 seasons), I've brought in 10 guys along the way to fill the other 6 Franchises, as spots have opened through the years.
We're all older now, and spread a bit thinner around the area (we were all restaurant/bar guys at one point, some still are, many have moved on). Families, etc...we don't see each other nearly as frequently, and manage most everything via a Message Board Forum, calls and texts, but it's a good, strong League, for the most part.
The acumen level, for the most part, is very high. The original group was hand-picked from a # of local Leagues (best of the best sort of thing), so finding qualified replacement Owners is challenging, and gets more so every time I have to pull someone up from the list, which, by now, is pretty much exhausted. Unlike the 'good ol' days', I'm not exactly out there in the scene actively meeting and recruiting potential replacements. Life just ain't what it used to be, and all that...
It's time to get things revved up again, and one Owner has announced (to me) his retirement from FF, and another has literally vanished without a trace. I don't have the time, energy or desire to jump on the recruiting trail, find and vet the quality of Owner the League requires. So right now, I'm at 14, with 2 Orphans.
I'm about to let everyone know the situation, and may put it out there that if anyone else wants to walk away (or partner up, which I'm willing to do), now is the time. Honestly, I'd rather downsize to 12 than 14 for the sake of aesthetics and ease of management. Going from 4 4-Team Divisions to 4 3-Team Divisions is more palateable (read: easier) than 2 7-Team Divisions, at least for me. There are enough hard-core guys involved, it's close to certainty that we're not going to fall below 12 Teams.
Post NFL-Draft, we have an RFA Period, which is an auction format. Players whose Contract (years) have expired. Owner with rights can match high bid. Winner gets to assign Contract to Player. RFA's not put up for auction are retained by Owner who holds rights.
In early August, we have a Rookie/UFA Draft.
I'm quite committed to contracting the League, either to 14 or 12 Teams. The question is, what's the most ideal way to disburse the Orphan Players?
My inclination is to make them available for the upcoming RFA, so everyone has a theoretical shot at them. I say 'theoretical' because the Fantasy $ we use carries over from year to year, along with a set amount of yearly replenishment, and there's a pretty wide margin between 1 ($142) and 16 ($25)...but it's a League full of wheeler-dealers (big criteria for admission), and in the period where the League opens for business and RFA begins will offer everyone a sizeable window to deal their way into the new reality. I think these Players should carry their existing Contracts with them into RFA.
As I'm sure you can imagine, there are some pretty desirable Players that are going to be available...JuJu S-S/5 Years, anyone?
I'm inclined to pool the Fantasy $ of the Orpans, and divide it evenly between the remaining Teams. Gives everyone a little extra scratch.
The August Rookie/UFA Draft is worst-to-first, and many Owners have already traded away 2019 Draft picks as part of 2018 trades, and much of that math is based on forecasting what will be available in that market, as it's a relatively simple exercise to figure out what's going to be avaible in that Player Pool.
I'd like to bring a possible solution to the table when I present the situation to the League. I'd sure appreciate commentary from anyone who's had to deal with anything similar to this, and any original ideas as well.