To many an NFL fan the ongoing negotiations are simply rich guys (on both sides) trying to get richer. That may be so, but there are actually some issues on the table. How to divide the league revenues tops the list. Currently, owners scoop a billion dollars off the top to offset some operational costs. In the new deal, they are seeking to double that number. The other main issue is the 18 game schedule. The owners want the schedule to move from 16 regular season and four preseason games to 18 and two respectively. The players believe 16 may already be too many.
The Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) expires at 1159pm EST tonight, but there are rumors an extension is possible. Reportedly the league is willing to give the players more detailed financial information, which remains one of the sticking points. A similar extension led to resolution five years ago.
President Obama has weighed in, saying he “expects and hopes” the two sides will resolve the situation. If politicians stick their nose in, it will undoubtedly benefit the players.
If/when a lockout becomes a reality, who is impacted most negatively? Teams with new coaching staffs for certain. Carolina, Cleveland, Denver and San Francisco will be even further behind. More than half of the league’s teams will be making some sort of front office/coaching change and their transition will be delayed.
Free agency was scheduled to begin tomorrow. Without a CBA, there is no free agency. How many players would possibly be affected? How about well over 400! If the absence of a CBA extends through the NFL draft in late April, undrafted rookies will also be negatively impacted. No CBA, no free agency, not even for the rookies.
What’s next? The NFL announcing a lockout through a press release. The players are expected to decertify and file an injunction. What does that mean? The players would move away from union representation and into the courts and anti trust law.
After that, hurry up and wait.