Remember the NFL lockout back in 2011?
I do. It sucked!
Instead of being able to look forward to the upcoming football season, fans were stuck following along with a bunch of boring legal stuff.
It was a relief that the work stoppage didn’t last into the regular season, though it did stretch out until late July. Eagles fans will (unfortunately) remember that time well. It was the birth of the dreaded “Dream Team” era, after all. Philadelphia signed a bunch of free agents (Nnamdi Asomugha, Jason Babin, Vince Young, Cullen Jenkins, Ronnie Brown, Evan Mathis) right as a shortened training camp began. Sorry to remind you.
The (potentially) good news is that it looks like there might not be another lockout in the near future. Check out this new reporting from ESPN’s Dan Graziano:
Talks between the NFL and the NFLPA aimed at reaching a new collective bargaining agreement are set to intensify in July in an effort to secure a new deal before the start of the 2019 regular season, sources close to the negotiations told ESPN.
The current CBA expires after the 2020 season, but talks about a new one have already begun. Sources say there have been three direct owner/player negotiating sessions so far -- one per month in April, May and June -- plus regular conversations between staffers for both sides in between those sessions. The sources say more of both types of talks have been planned for this summer, with as many as three or four direct owner/player negotiating sessions scheduled for July alone.
While the sources cautioned that it’s too soon to know whether a new agreement can be reached by the time this one expires -- let alone by the start of this coming season -- both sides seem optimistic that they can come to an agreement without a work stoppage this time.
Finalizing a new CBA before this upcoming season pretty optimistic. Too optimistic, I’d say. From the outside looking in, it seems like the gap between the owners and the players isn’t a small one to bridge.
Think back to Malcolm Jenkins comments from earlier this year:
“I’ve got a feeling it won’t be as simple as it was last time just because you have more players like myself who have been through the lockout before, saw how the NFLPA leadership handled that into where we are now, which I don’t think was a bad deal but there is a lot that I feel like we want to get back as players, or get as players.”
So, yeah. It’d be surprising if a new deal came together so quickly.
At the very least, it’s encouraging to hear the NFL and the NFLPA are talking and potentially making progress. There’s still plenty of time before the 2021 season gets here.
A deal getting done before the 2019 season would be great news for football fans. It’d be ideal if the new CBA is finalized by the 2021 offseason at the latest so that a lockout doesn’t interrupt free agency and whatnot leading up to the 2021 season.
Again, there’s a lot of time for things to change. Hopefully this optimism doesn’t end up being for naught.