One of the smartest guys in this entire labor battle between the NFL and players is Arizona kicker Jay Feely. Few people on either side are capable of succinctly breaking down the issues with clarity as Feely.
He's a member of the union's executive committee and while there is little Feely can say about the negotiations now because of the sensitivity of the talks he did take time to explain in detail why the recent Judge David Doty ruling regarding the league's network TV deals -- which amounted to a $4 billion lockout slush fund for the owners -- was so critical.
Feely had just arrived in Washington on Tuesday morning when he spoke with CBSSports.com.
"With that lockout fund the owners basically had $4 billion in the bank and we had zero," said Feely. "They had such a massive financial advantage over us. The Doty ruling gave us a chance.
"I've told people that basically it was like the real estate market. One person trying to buy a house has a lot of cash on hand and someone else doesn't. The other part of the ruling was the language Doty used. He stated the actions of the owners was egregious and an attempt to defraud the players.
"I think the next big thing is what the penalty will be. Doty hasn't decided yet."
That is critical and hasn't been talked about enough in the media. Doty could put that $4 billion pool in an escrow account for an entire year, give the players 59.6 percent of it or hold it until a deal is done. None of those options are good for certain owners like Danny Snyder who have gigantic stadium mortgage payments.
"I get what the NFL was trying to do from a business perspective," Feely said. "But it was still wrong and Doty's ruling showed it was wrong. Now we just want to get a deal done. Hopefully that can happen."
For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed.