The door is unlocked, but is anyone home?
Published: April 25, 2011 @ 8:28pm
FILE - In this Nov. 21, 2010, file photo, Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning (18) shakes hands with New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady after New England's 31-28 win in an NFL football game in Foxborough, Mass. U.S. District Judge Susan Richard Nelson ordered an immediate end to the NFL's lockout Monday, April 25, 2011, siding with the players in their fight with the owners over how to divide the $9 billion business. Nelson granted a request for a preliminary injunction to lift the two-month lockout, saying she was swayed by the players' argument that the NFL's first work stoppage since 1987 is hurting their careers. Manning and Brady were among the players who filed the request for an injunction. (AP Photo/Winslow Townson, File)
The NFL lockout is over, but what the heck does that really mean?
Monday's news that U.S. District Judge Susan Richard Nelson ordered an immediate end to the lockout has players lining up to show up to work today. What exactly they are doing for work is a pretty good question as it seems the coaches have been told not to talk to the players. This could be awkward!
The NFL Owners are now going to hope that the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Louis will bail them out and put the lockout back into place. If the Appellate Court does that it will be a huge victory for the owners, but it seems unlikely that it will happen. These courts don't just go back and forth overruling each other. If the injunction is upheld then the NFL must get back to business in some fashion.
I am assuming they would just try to put the last existing CBA into play and then work towards a new deal in mediation. That would mean the 500 or so players who qualify for free agency would be able to sign with teams immediately. That would also means teams could start wheeling and dealing right before the NFL Draft, which, of course, starts Thursday.
If any year there needed to be trades it would be this year. There are so many quarterbacks who want out from their teams and of course we know how many teams (Arizona Cardinals among them) need a new starting QB. If this holds up this week, guys like Carson Palmer, Kevin Kolb and Kyle Orton could all be living in new cities.
I will be interested to see how many players report to work on Tuesday. I spoke with Larry Fitzgerald through text on Monday night and he thought the ruling was great, but wasn't sure if he would show up at Cardinals camp for "work". Some players with big workout bonuses have been advised by their agents to get to the facilities. The Cardinals have a few of those players, including Kerry Rohodes who is scheduled to get a $500K workout bonus, which is the largest in the NFC West. Darnell Dockett, Joey Porter and Adrian Wilson are also due workout bonuses if there were a CBA. They would all make $250K. There are are others as well, but those were the ones who stand to make the most. I can't report if those players were advised to show up by their agents, but if they were good agents they would have been.
Chris Mortensen of ESPN said if this holds up there could be complete chaos over the next few days and definitely at the draft. Think about it, Peyton Manning is a free agent right now and any team could call him up. Come on Michael Bidwill use some of those carry over minutes on that cell phone of yours. What's the worst he could say, "The Arizona who?"