Jul 11, 2011
When plotting out this upcoming week, I knew I would be writing the Guru Daily today. I vowed to stay away from the labor situation, because the media (including us) has overreacted to every up and down, thanks to a dearth of anything else to report on. But we start Monday with some optimism, including a potential calendar for the start of the 2011 league year.
Deal is potentially on the horizon… Yeah, we’ve been hearing this week is huge for a while so it shouldn’t come as a total surprise, but there is apparently real optimism around the NFL that a framework CBA could be in place and voted on by the time the owners meet in Atlanta on July 21, as reported by ESPN. What’s funny is that it appears the rookie wage scale, essentially a slotting system to prevent deals like JaMarcus Russell’s from ever happening again, has become the major point of contention between the two sides. In short, the owners want longer and cheaper deals for rookies, while the players are willing to go cheaper so long as the young players can get free agency a year sooner (four-year deals as opposed to five). On one hand, this is troublesome because back in March it seemed as if the rookie wage scale would be the only thing the two sides could actually agree on. On the other hand, it might be good news that this is the major hangup: after all, both sides do want a rookie wage scale, it’s just the framework of it that’s become contentious.
Anyway back to the big picture, the significance of that July 21 date: it’s a hard date because a meeting between the owners is and has been scheduled for that day, and the ratification of the deal on that day could mean no preseason games are missed. If a deal is in place this week, the sides can settle the Brady v. NFL lawsuit with Judge Arthur Boylan on July 19, and then send it to the owners next Thursday. The ESPN report also discusses the potential “Transaction Rules,” a calendar set up by the league’s Chief Executive Committee. The important date: July 28 would potentially be the start of the league year and free agency, essentially coinciding with the start of training camps. There’s no doubt the deal would be coming in at the last possible moment to save the entire preseason (except perhaps the August 7 Hall of Fame Game, but if you remember last year’s, that’s no real loss for a football fan), but since March those much wiser than us have insisted that hard-fought labor battles don’t get settled until there’s truly something to lose. We are at that point now. The important thing to remember – for us and you – is to not praise every up and lament every down from this week’s talks. The sides will be using this week to try to milk final contentions out of either side. But it does appear that the negotiation pains might be coming to an end soon, and both sides realize the gravity of this wee.
In player news…
- Steeler WR Hines Ward was arrested on DUI charges.
- Bronco head coach John Fox does have an idea of his QB depth chart, although it’s not set in stone just yet. And no, he didn’t tell us what his depth chart actually is.
- Colt QB Peyton Manning could actually be one of the bigger victims of the lockout, as he struggles to recover from off-season neck surgery without the assistance of Indianapolis trainers.
- Cowboy WR Dez Bryant predicts a breakout season in 2011.
- Because Peyton Hillis wore down last year and Montario Hardesty has never played an NFL snap thanks to an ACL tear, don’t be shocked if the Browns add some RB depth.
- In more Browns news, WR Mohamed Massaquoi has dedicated the lockout to getting better mentally, employing the help of multiple NFL stars, including Larry Fitzgerald.
And last but not least…
CB Pacman Jones was arrested. Again.
- Joe Dolan