Blog Entry

NFL has free agent quandary with lockout lifted

Posted on: April 25, 2011 6:43 pm
Edited on: April 25, 2011 6:56 pm
Posted by Will Brinson

As you may have heard, the NFL lockout has been lifted. Now, hell breaks loose in terms of free agency in the NFL. Well, it will soon anyway -- once the NFL imposes a set of rules (presumably, the ones from 2010) in which the offseason should operate. Don't expect that to happen until after the NFL has maxed out its appeal/stay options. 

The problem that presents itself for the owners is that they're in a bit of a catch-22 here, because for legal purposes, they don't want to find themselves colluding against the very players ... who sued them for collusion.

See, there are a pile of free agents -- more than 500 of them -- out there who would really like to start negotiating contracts with teams. And those teams, or at least the guys who run the football operations of the teams, would probably like to start signing players in order to fill holes on their roster. (Especially those teams with quarterback needs.)

However, the teams are also named defendants in the Brady v. NFL case, which means the folks who run the business side of things are unlikely to be extremely thrilled about any sort of cooperation with the players until said lawsuit is resolved.

If -- and again, this is predicated on no stay being granted -- the NFL institutes last year's rules, the season "begins" and for some reason none of those free agents are signed, it would lend great credence to the allegations that there's collusion taking place between the teams.

That won't necessarily happen, though it's absolutely a possibility.

Which means the NFL and its teams needs to tread carefully in order to avoid compromising themselves in the anti-trust lockout that will sit in the background regardless whether or not the "football season" begins.

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Category: NFL

Since: Apr 25, 2011
Posted on: April 25, 2011 8:33 pm

NFL has free agent quandary with lockout lifted

I agree with you 100%! The players have to learn that they are employees and as talented as they might be they still work for the owners! Yes the owners who take all of the financial risks and pay all of the outrageous salaries the players and their agents demand. The owners that still pay those multi-million dollar salaries when a player is injured and cannot perform the job he is getting paid to do. The owners that still pay the guaranteed multi-million dollar salaries when a rookie draft choice is a flop and cannot cut it in the NFL. The owners are the owners and the players are part of their employee roster they need to realize this or the FANs will revolt and everyone will lose in the end.

Since: Aug 21, 2006
Posted on: April 25, 2011 7:48 pm

NFL has free agent quandary with lockout lifted

But if the NFL doesn't ask for a stay, the NFL as we know it might get wiped out. Ask yourself this: would you rather have one season without the NFL, or to see the league damaged beyond repair by this judge's decision?

Since: Sep 12, 2006
Posted on: April 25, 2011 7:31 pm

NFL has free agent quandary with lockout lifted

Since: May 6, 2007
Posted on: April 25, 2011 7:25 pm

NFL has free agent quandary with lockout lifted

Great so the players win and in the NFL in the long term is now screwed beyond belief.  Salaries will keep increasing.  Rookies are gonna be pushing 100 million dollar signing bonus before to long and the owners are expected to keep quiet and slowly go bankrupt funding the players endless party.  Good job judge.  Many of the owners are business first and owners second.  Soon it's going to get to the point that good/smart owners are gonna see this is no longer a good business and nothing but an endless money hole and look to sell their teams and move on.  Ticket prices will go up to cover expanding player pay and  the fan will get jacked in the end.  Teams like the Jags, Tampa, and others will soon be on the selling block.  Am I thinking to doomsday?  Get back to me in 10 years and we will see.  What I see now is the writing on the wall for the NFL and contraction in the future.  Footballs a game but the NFL is a business.  If you don't make a profit you move on and find something else.  Hope the players are ready to step up and start buying and running clubs. 

Disgusted Fan

Since: Dec 24, 2006
Posted on: April 25, 2011 7:16 pm

Quandary is that NFL will be stopping football

Judge Nelson lifted the lockout. If the NFL does nothing, then the 2011 season is on and we all get to watch NFL football this fall. If the NFL appeals, and if they ask for and get a court order allowing the lockout, then it's much more likely that all or part of the 2011 season will be cancelled. So the real quandary for the league is that they look like the bad guys if the regular season doesn't start on time. All they have to do to get the season to start on time is to not ask for a stay of Judge Nelson's order.

Since: Sep 6, 2006
Posted on: April 25, 2011 7:11 pm

NFL has free agent quandary with lockout lifted

Thank you, Will Brinson, for essentially making the point I was trying to make in the comment section of another post. The decision handed down by Judge Nelson seemed to be a fairly sweeping one - and she even had the gall to say the fans' desire for football is a reason to bar any lockout. What? I want football and a good-faith agreement, not a judge to declare most of the NFL's practices illegal.

Now, if the league comes up with rules to sign players, it's a slamdunk antitrust case. If they sign no one, it's evidence of collusion - and a slamdunk antitrust case. If they even so much as send a representative out to bargain collectively, it could be collusion. Any antitrust violations cost the owners (or any other business who commits them) triple the damages to those so inflicted by harm. Hundreds of millions in damages - maybe billions - are suddenly up in the air. Wow. Just, wow. What a mess. The inevitable appeals can't end soon enough.

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