I have avoided talking about the collective bargaining agreement for as long as I could, but it now appears to be time to explain the situation, the deadlines, and the ramifications if a deal is not in place soon. The news broke this morning that the owners and players association would be calling off their scheduled meeting today after reportedly meeting for upwards of 10 hours yesterday with little to no progress. It’s also been reported that the meeting for next week has been canceled as well and if that report proves to be true the chances of a lockout will almost instantly double.
The reason for this is there is a March 3rd deadline to have a new agreement in place otherwise teams will be unable to make trades, players will not become free agents, and will be locked out without deals to any teams. If the league and its players cannot reach a compromise by that deadline the talks will likely be put on hold until right before the season. The situation is getting uglier by the day and the chances of them coming to terms before that March deadline are becoming more of a pipe dream than reality. If the talks head into the middle of the summer the league will suffer gigantic losses in merchandising, ticket sales, sponsors, and more. The players will also be losing out big in the way that they will be locked to their current team well into the summer and cannot blend with their new team anytime soon and they will be unable to test the waters of free agency.
For fans we still will get to enjoy the NFL draft and the scouting combine, but we will not see trades, free agency, and mini camps until something is worked out. This will be a major let down as the NFL as always prided itself on being a year round sport that always leaves the fans something to look forward to.
The league and players are mainly fighting over the money the players get in comparison to the owners. Players take far more of the NFL pie than the owners and the players are so heavily overpaid it snit fair to the owners. Some of the other issues include revenue sharing, rookie salary cap, the proposed 18 games schedule (the players hate), and overall issues with pay rates.
The league has not hit the panic button quite yet, but they have certainly now have their fingers on it. For the rest world we will have to wait and see if our nations most popular sport will even be in existence as we know it in 2011 and if so what major changes we will see across the board. The NFL sky is falling and clock is ticking.
Update: The CBA talks broke down due to union proposing a 50-50 split of all revenue. This is per Chris Mortensen of ESPN.