As negotiations between lawyers representing the NFL and NFLPA (Roger Goodell and De Smith are not present) drag on in Manhattan, one thing’s becoming clear: the league and its players will begin to lose money if a deal isn’t consummated by next Friday, July 15.
That’s the magical date that we keep hearing from the media members closest to the process.
If the two sides can agree to something by the end of next week, the NFL can launch the new league year in time for the Bears and Rams to begin training camps one week later, on July 22. Almost every other team is slated to start training within a week of that date. There’s a belief that it’ll take them several days to start free agency and get their related ducks in a row, so July 15 has truly emerged as a deadline.
The scary part is that, if they don’t hit that deadline and preseason games begin to get cancelled, everything changes. Once the motivation to save the money generated by 65 exhibition games is gone, the players will have no incentive to negotiate in good faith and keep things out of the courtrooms.
And a return to the courtrooms could mean that the entire 2011 season will once again be jeopardized.
A few lockout-related links this Tuesday morning:
- The Hall of Fame Game is still scheduled for Aug. 7, but the game will be in peril if a labor deal isn’t reached soon. Hall president Steve Perry remains optimistic despite lagging ticket sales.
- At one point on Thursday, the two sides almost gave up and turned things back to the courts, but U.S. Magistrate Judge Arthur Boylan saved the day. If this thing gets done, Boylan deserves to have an award named after him.
- ESPN’s Chris Mortensen doubts a deal will get done this week. It’s hard to disagree when you consider that only the lawyers are in the room today and tomorrow.
- As Tomlinson mentioned this morning, retired players want a seat at the table immediately. In fact, they’ve filed yet another complaint in their attempt to have their voice heard.