The NFL Lockout enters what most of us hope will be its final week. The sides came to an agreement on many of the major issues and now are whittling down the remaining areas. The two sides are meeting in either Washington, DC or New York today and tomorrow with Judge Arthur Boylan prepared to join them if needed. Boylan had originally scheduled a mediation session in Minneapolis for Tuesday but the Minneapolis mediation was cancelled after the breakthroughs over the weekend.
Chris Mortensen put together a solid rundown of the remaining issues on the table which include restoration of $320 million in lost player benefits during the uncapped 2010 season, a settlement of the Brady lawsuit, some workers compensation issues, and some potentially serious issues surrounding the franchise tag.
The franchise tag remains an issue for two reasons. First, the players want the franchise tag limited to one time per player, as opposed to the three times previously allowed. Second, New England Patriots guard Logan Mankins may or may not be looking for some sort of compensation in the settlement of the Brady lawsuit. Mankins is one of the named plaintiffs and has been designated by the Patriots as their "franchise player."
There is some speculation he may either want a cash settlement for the money he lost during his holdout last year or that he be free of the franchise tag. When the Reggie White lawsuit was settled the named plaintiffs were all given a lifetime exemption from the franchise tag. It remains to be seen whether Mankins will get something like that given the use of the lawsuit this time as leverage (as opposed to getting free agency like last time), but it could be a holdup.
At this point this is speculation based on "a source familiar with the negotiations settlement." Adam Schefter reported on Sunday that the lawyers have been contacting the named plaintiffs in regards to the eventual settlement. I've got to think Borges' source passed along this information following somebody discussing the settlement with Mankins. It kind of goes against the all-for-one and one-for-all mentality of labor unions, so we'll see how this issue ends up playing out.