I will be honest: the lockout jaded me. I was never particularly concerned about losing the 2011 season, or even a few games, but I did not go actively searching for mock drafts to whet my appetite for fantasy. What was the point? Everything would change anyway. Instead, I focused my attention on everything that’s gone up on this site over the last few weeks, namely the player profiles, and several things that have yet to come.
But – and I knew this would happen – draft season has descended upon us quickly. I like to draft as late as possible every year, but I’m sure I’ll be doing at least one draft within the next week. We don’t even have time to digest free agency before we have to assign values to the players that moved on. Hell, soon after I started throwing this post together, the Lions signed Jerome Harrison and Mike Bell to replace the injured Mikel Leshoure. No sooner did we bump up Jahvid Best’s value than we had to speculate on what the arrival of Harrison, in particular, means.
Of course, the mid rounds always have uncertainty. Even in a normal, non-lockout year, we’re either going to [...]
Not only is today a great day for America, but the entire football world. What began when the owners opted out of the last CBA back in 2008 ends today when the lockout is lifted thanks to the owners and players agreeing to a new CBA. You make take this moment to high five the nearest person.
What a beautiful image
Players, owners agree to new CBA … pending an approval by the players vote on Monday, although that is considered a formality at this point. The players will participate in a conference call scheduled for 11am ET and the vote is expected to take place when the executive committee is in place. What happens after that has been widely contested. Some, including Jay Glazer, report that facilities can open as early as Tuesday, with trades and draft pick signings occurring as early on Tuesday, and unrestricted free agency beginning Friday at 6pm ET. However, others, most notably Adam Schefter, report that teams can begin talking to free agents and talking trades Monday afternoon with signings beginning Tuesday at noon ET. However, new contracts wouldn’t take effect until August 2 and trades wouldn’t be official until Saturday. Teams would report on [...]
The NFL and NFLPA lawyers got back to work on Tuesday, hammering out the legal mumbo jumbo that would be a part of any final CBA deal. The two sides met for nearly eight hours, so while they cannot tackle the revenue split issue without the owners and the players present in negotiating sessions, they can get done some of the more tedious legwork, allowing a verbal/handshake agreement to turn into a signed, sealed, and delivered CBA more quickly than we might expect once that agreement is reached. They’ll continue that work today, and we continue to wait…
Legal teams go back to work on the new CBA… As mentioned above, the lawyers on both sides of the debate are hammering out the little details while we wait for the owners and players to rejoin talks on Thursday, presumably to try to wrap up the revenue split issue, and in turn the final CBA. Once again, different sources have different ideas on exactly how “close” or “not close” the two sides are to reaching a deal. But the one agreement all sources seem to have is that there is a deal to be made and it’s certainly possible that deal is [...]
Even though the lockout remains intact, rumors of player movement continue to swirl despite teams being unable to (legally) discuss contracts or trades. In an effort to be on top of any potential moves once the lockout is lifted, we’ve continued to monitor player workouts, reports, and rumors from around the league, a few of which we’ll pass along today.
Cedric Benson said he wanted to express himself more in 2011. This would be a good start.
Benson shows interest in returning to Bengals … after working out with the team at the University of Cincinnati on Wednesday. Benson, who is technically a free agent, has reportedly attended multiple player-led workouts, which he called “an opportunity to get some real good football work in.” After voicing frustration with the offense and his role during and after the season, it didn’t appear that he’d return to the team for the 2011 season, but with the firing of OC Bob Bratkowski and subsequent hiring of Jay Gruden to take over the offense, Benson looks interested in returning to the black and orange. Gruden talked with Benson in February, explaining that his vision for the offense, a West Coast system, would feature a commitment [...]
We continue to hope lockout talks move in a positive direction after a day in court last Friday, but today we focus on more football, headlined by a prison release in New York and some clarity in the Jets’ backfield.
Burress to play left field, hit 7th … Former Giant WR Plaxico Burress was released from prison after nearly two years Monday morning, and since there’s nothing else to talk about, HE WAS WEARING A PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES HAT, WHICH MEANS HE’S GOING TO THE EAGLES. There has actually been speculation that the Eagles are a potential landing spot for Burress, and Michael Vick has voiced his support of that move recently, saying:
Is Andy Reid on the other end of the phone?
“I think certainly Plaxico is going to come out with a chip on his shoulder the same way I did, and he’ll go out and help this football team to whatever capacity he can. I think the guys would be willing to embrace him and bring him in. If that happens? Who knows? We talking about ‘what ifs’ now? It would certainly be a good thing.”
Our guy Adam Caplan wrote that he believes the Eagles will be interested in Burress, [...]
This may be surprising, but there is not really much to talk about today when it comes to news from around the league. I blame the rain. Oh, and the lockout. Last Friday, we took a look at the player-led workouts from around the league, so today we’ll update you on some of those teams.
Baltimore Ravens – Next week, at a workout organized by WR Derrick Mason, at least 20 Ravens will be together at Towson University from May 24-26. Mason said the focus was going to be on conditioning, and that there wouldn’t be any contact.
Buffalo Bills – About 30 Bill players will meet on Monday for what is expected to be a week-long set of workouts in Buffalo. The workouts were set up by veterans such as LB Andra Davis and S George Wilson with QB Ryan Fitzpatrick expected to attend. Fitzpatrick held a small passing camp near his home in Arizona last month.
Chicago Bears – After backup QB Caleb Hanie recently said there were no plans for player-led workouts, starter Jay Cutler said he’s been talking with WRs and RBs to organize a passing camp.
Denver Broncos – QB Tim Tebow, who had [...]
If you thought following courtroom football was exciting, we have a treat for you. With the hearing complete, it is now time for love-letter football! Ok, there is not exactly much love between the two sides, but representatives for both the league and the players exchanged letters with each other and Judge Susan Nelson (Tentatively ranked #1 in our upcoming Fantasy Judge projections). Let’s find out what’s in those letters!
We can only hope the Sports Illustrated Football Phone still works for today's conference call.
Mediation to be discussed … over a conference call between the league, players, and Judge Susan Nelson. Based on the letters sent out on Thursday, the league has suggested mediation continue at FMCS in Washington, D.C. with director George Cohen, who presided over the collective bargaining negotiations for almost three weeks last month. David Boies, the outside counsel for the league, wrote in his letter to Nelson that the “…FMCS has a (16-day) head start over any other potential mediator. And given that time is of the essence, that is of great importance.” Unlike the league, the players’ side accepted Nelson’s offer to facilitate mediation by appointing a mediator to presides over talks that would take [...]
Could it be? Actual news about what happens on the field? YES! Okay, so it is just a couple of rules changes, but if it allows us to refrain from the legalese we will take it.
Josh Cribbs hates Ruxin, but not as much as he hates the new kickoff rules.
Owners vote to change kickoff, replay rules … at meetings that took place in New Orleans over the last few days. The competition committee has discussed proposals for changes in kickoffs recently, mostly as a way to make the game safer. The modified proposal, which was passed by the owners on a 26-6 vote, will move kickoff back to the 35-yard line after it had been at the 30 since the 1994 season. Kickoff returners from around the league expressed their displeasure with the new rule, which will almost definitely hurt what receiving teams will be able to do in terms of improving field position. Brown KR Josh Cribbs was on a media tour talking about the changes and was in complete disagreement with the new rule because it continues to make special teams a smaller part of the game, which can hurt teams like his Cleveland Browns, who depend [...]
We are in Week Two of Lockout 2011, and the owners have arrived in New Orleans for their annual meetings. Anything important for them to talk about? Hmmm.
Players answer Goodell’s letter … First both sides in the CBA talks quietly met in mediation. Then they started taking shots at each other over Twitter and through the media. Now, they’re writing letters to each other. Commissioner Roger Goodell sent a letter to the players at the end of last week, detailing the owners’ offer and asking the players to return to negotiations. Many players didn’t enjoy the letter, and the NFLPA’s executive committee sent a reply to Goodell on Saturday. The gist of the letter: “Your statements are false.” So there we go. Andrew Brandt of the National Football Post says the letters again show the distrust between the two sides as they battle for public support. The April 6 court date still seems like ages away with nothing but this back-and-forth war of words happening. Brant also delivered a nice overview of what to expect from the Brady v. NFL case that will begin in a few weeks. The latter piece is required reading for anyone interested in the upcoming [...]
The labor talks are obviously the big story in the NFL with the CBA expiration date approaching rapidly. With the chance of a lockout looming, teams are making some last-minute roster moves, whether it be signings, releases, or placing RFA tenders (which may mean nothing) on certain players.
The NFLPA gets a favorable ruling … from U.S. District Judge David Doty, who declared that the NFL was in violation of the CBA by locking up $4 billion in television revenue to help survive a possible lockout. Despite the NFL downplaying the ruling by saying it was expected and that the teams were prepared for the possibility, there’s no doubt that this is a huge victory for the NFLPA since we are talking about billions of dollars. A hearing will be held to determine what happens to the money and whether or not the players will receive damages as a result of the violation by the NFL. After meeting for six hours on Tuesday, the two sides continue mediation talks on Wednesday with the entire NFL labor committee and the NFLPA executive committee present, including NFLPA president Kevin Mawae. With an owners meeting also scheduled on Wednesday just 25 miles away from [...]