Saturday, February 05, 2011


The situation with the labor deal is likely to come to a head as early as Monday.

The NFL announced plans to have a "limited free-agency period" between the time after the SuperBowl and the March 3rd date.  The owners are aligned, and are expected to apply tags such as 'restricted' and 'unrestriced' and 'franchise' to players thus allowing for free-agency.

But not so fast.  The players content that the language in the CBA doesn't allow for that until *after the new league starts*.  The NFL claims it allows for it in the offseason, which includes this time period.  As I've said before, I'm no expert, and the language seems a little vague.  But I generally have to side with the players on this one.

The players have threatened to take it to court, if the NFL proceeds with its plan - essentially their claim is that if there is a free-agent period, ANYONE not under contract can sign with any team...and of course they contend that there can't be free agency now because of the lack of a salary cap, and the inability to trade which are laid out in the CBA specifically.

This is going to get contentious fast, I believe...
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BTW - the NFLPA sent letters to all of the agents in the NFL, essentially telling them not to go along with the plan, and leave the players at home during free agency.

And of course many of the agents are lawyers, and realize what a tough spot they are in - their income depends on signing players, but signing players now is not in their long-term best interest.

I wouldn't be surprised to see them side with the players in any lawsuits - perhaps even filing some on their players behalf.