Of 126 National Footbal League veterans who played out the option year of their contracts in 1977, 93 received qualifying offers from their clubs.
Six have submitted to their old clubs written offers from new clubs. The old club have until Monday to match the new offers.
Houston already has matched offers to three of their players - by the Redskins to safety Mike Reinfeldt, by Kansas City to linebacker Ted Thompson and by New Orleans to safety C. L. Whittington. Thus, Houston will keep those players.
St. Louis must determine whether it wants to match offers to three of its playrs - by the Redskins to running back Jim Otis, by Minnesota to running back Jerry Latin and by Denver to defensive tackle Charles Davis.
Eighteen who received qualifying offers from their old clubs have rejoined those clubs.
Four players already have moved to new clubs. Three of them did not receive qualifying offers, which meant they were free agents and that their new clubs did not have to compensate the players' 1977 employers.
Those were quarterback Bobby Douglass, who went from New Orleans to Oakland; linebacker Bob Nelson, who went from Buffalo to Oakland; offensive tackle Winston Hill, who went from Los Angeles to Buffalo, and running back Terry Metcalf, who went from the cardinals to Toronto of the Canadian Football League.
The remainder of the players who have received qualifying offers are assured raises from their old clubs. Each qualifying offer is for more than the 1977 slalary. At the worst, the player is guaranteed a 10 per cent raise if his old club decides by June 1 to keep him. In that case, he will be a free agent in 1979, eligible to shop his services again.
In the first year of the modified Roxelle Rule, after the 1976 season, 42 veterans played out their options. At the deadline for submitting offers from new clubs, eight had signed with their old clubs. Four signed with their old clubs and were traded. Six attracted better deals from other clubs.
Howard Slusher, Los Angeles attorney who represents many players, said that only one of six cases required the payment of compensation by the new clubs.
He was referring to defensive back Norm Thompson of the cardinals, who was signed by the Baltimore Colts. Baltimore compensated St. Louis with a No. 3 draft choice.
Slusher represents four veterans who played out their options in 1977 - defensive end Jon Dutton of the Colts, defensive end carl Barzilauskas of the New York Jets, offensive tackle Gordon Gravelle of the Pittsburgh Steelers and center Tom Brahaney of the Cardinals.
Slusher said none of those received better written offers from other clubs than from their old clubs.
"I think the system is working just the way it was designed to work, he said of the labor contract between the NFL and the players' union.
Asked to elaborate, he said, "No one is moving (those who have received offers from new clubs)."
He said there will be a hearing May 16 on an appeal of a settlement between the NFL and the players' union, in the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals in Minneapolis.
Michael Lance Trope of Los Angeles, who represents Heisman Trophy winner Earl Campbell of Texas and veteran players, said, "The way the new labor contract is structured, a player may as well renegotiate in the last year of his contract and not play out his option.
"You can quote me on this: Ed Garvey has sold the players down the river. The contract benefits one person, Ed Garvey. One, because of all the money he got for the pension fund. The other thing is that he made dues mandatory for all players. Instead of getting dues from 45 percent of the players he now get 100 percent. Now he doesn't have to worry about his salary and his office staff.
"He's forming an association of player agents to play agents off against one another. It is weak sister. He wants to control. Now he wants to organize other sports. I refused to join."
Garvey pointed to the offers made by new clubs.
As to comments by Slusher, he said, "Slusher's problem is he doesn't believe in unions in sports because his concern is for the superstar, not the average player. And the same is true for most of the agents who are complaining about the system, because they represent superstars.
"All we can say is, if the average player is aided by the system, then it's working. A decision cannot be based on how well a Dutton does in this system."
As for Trope's remarks, Garvey said that he (Garvey) earned $75,000 last year. "Mr. Trope doesn't know what he's talking about," Garvey said.
"Trope and Slusher want to represent first-round draft choices, not the eighth-and ninth-round players.