We need a pipeline of 100s of players to get a top notch national team, nowhere near the dozens you mention. Wrt playing hardball, of course they can as young prospects who fall within a team’s allocation zone have the choice of signing with their academy or not doing anything until they hit 18. That’s a lot of pressure for them to sign even a bad deal. I can’t remeber who the most recent example was but I recall Clint Eastwood staying how bad it was for a recent 18 yr old prospect to wait for 18 months or so. Having another good option for elite players like residency would provide a level playing field for these prospects in their negotiations. All things being equal, I would guess that most prospects would much rather sign a reasonable deal with a DA academy. Another option is to let prospects sign with any DA they’d like.