Federal Judge Susan Nelson has denied the NFL’s request for a stay pending an appeal on her ruling that the lockout be lifted immediately, according to Liz Mullen of the Sports Business Journal.

What this means: the NFL has one final breath in their fight to delay the start of the league year. The owners will now request a stay from the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals, which will be hearing their appeal of the Nelson injunction decision.

The league likely won’t have to start the new league year on the day of the draft, but they could be forced to open the doors before the weekend is through. In the meantime, teams are not obligated to sign free agents.

There’s a belief that this means teams will now be able to make trades, but that shouldn’t be the case until the new league year has officially been launched.

Technically, trades should not be allowed until free agency is underway. Right now, last year’s trade deadline likely still applies, but there’s no official word on that — mainly because nobody really knows what the hell is going on.

This much is certain: it’s another courtroom loss for the league.