After a whirlwind Thursday with NFL owners voting in favor of the new labor deal and then the players crying foul due to some timeline issues and other supposed add-ins, Friday did not provide much in the terms of labor news. While a public statement from the players said that they would be re-visiting the issue on Monday, ESPN’s Chris Mortensen cited NFLPA sources stating that they will be working through the weekend. However, a vote on the new labor deal is unlikely this weekend.
Discussions between the NFLPA, their lawyers, and the league’s lawyers will continue throughout the weekend to try and iron out the remaining detail passed by the owners on Thursday. One of the issues is the fact that in order to finish this thing off, the players have to re-certify and technically become a union again. This must be done by hand-written voting cards which the players want to be completed at team facilities, but the owners have to approve of letting them in (in other words, ending the lockout). One resolution being discussed is an electronic poll to show the owners that they have the votes necessary to re-certify the union in a sort of “good faith” measure. The vote needs to be 50% plus one player in order to re-certify the union.
Another clause the players are looking for is an opt-out clause, allowing either side to opt out of the deal after 7 years (the deal’s total length is 10 years). There would be penalties involved if either side decided to opt out of the CBA. If that’s the case, why even have this clause? I think after all this mess is finally over, both sides should be locked in for the full 10 years. Another sticking point, according to the ESPN article linked to above, is San Diego Chargers‘ WR Vincent Jackson’s demands for either $10 million or access to free agency. Jackson is denying those claims though other sources are saying that his demands remain.
The Hall of Fame game has already been cancelled between the Bears and the Rams, and in order to avoid cancelling any more preseason games, the deal must be accepted by Wednesday. If a deal is not done by then, we will likely lose the first week of preseason games and maybe more. One thing I think fans should be prepared for is sloppy football this year, especially if we lose a week of preseason games. The players have already lost OTA’s, a game, and haven’t had access to team trainers and doctors. It’s not looking good for football no matter what.