Tomorrow is the deadline for the NFLPA to decertify if it doesn't want to wait 6 months before being able to file lawsuits against the owners. Once again very little has been leaked to the press regarding the negotiations. I continue to see that as a good sign, especially given the fact that 47 people were in the sessions today. That's a lot of lips that need to be kept sealed. The two sides will meet in smaller groups tomorrow and take it from there.
Reports Jason LaConfora:
Some in the NFLPA feel like more can be accomplished without owners present and, again, smaller groups make sense after 47 people there 2day
That makes perfect sense to me, given that in any organization there are really only a few people who matter when it comes to making the decision. True, the members of the NFLPA do have to vote on whether to accept a contract or not, but if the leadership comes back to them and recommends they do it, it'll get done.
Said Drew Brees about a deal being done:
We the NFL Players are in DC ready to get a deal done, just in case anyone wants to know
That's pretty much a non-statement really. That the two sides are still together at this late date says far more to me than any public stance that either side takes. Having said that, join me below the jump for a round-up of pertinent quotes regarding the CBA.
Adam Schefter has the most negative report on Twitter today:
Being whispered: NFLPA files for decertification after tomorrow's mediation. CEC votes next day to lockout or close down. Then lawyers play.
This was always the plan from the union, so I don't see this as breaking new, but more of a "If nothing signficant happens on Tuesday this is what we'll do" kind of thing.
Jason LaConfora is reporting that:
NFL is open to more mediation, according to a source. Awaiting word on whether to resume tonite or in the AM. CEC still meeting now
He also quotes Jets owner Woody Johnson as saying:
"I'm still optimistic and we've still got a few hours to go." Said still time for more progress
I would not be surprised to see some very late bargaining sessions--the last time I was involved in a union negotiation, the serious talking didn't start until about 4 days before the strike deadline. At midnight of the day of the planned strike, union leaders and management were still in negotiations and remained in negotiations until 4 am, at which point they had a deal ready to present to us union members.
The owners met tonight and were fully briefed on the status of the contract talks, but no formal vote was taken on what to do when the deadline approaches. That's also good news. It's easy to draw the proverbial line in the sand, but harder to pull the trigger (to mix my metaphors) when the time actually comes.
In my opinion the most positive news of the day was NFL VP Jeff Pash telling reporters that extending the deadline was definitely an option. When asked about it before entering the session he said:
"I think that's an option. We're not taking anything off the table. "
Now we just have to wait and see. Tomorrow is the big day for sure. Even if the NFL and the NFLPA get a deal done, they may be facing yet more labor unrest from the assistant coaches. The National Football Post has an excellent article on the labor uncertainty that assistant coaches face. I recommend that everybody go read it now.