Lockout ruling not expected by mid-April; NFLPA won’t go head-to-head with NFL on draft night

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell departs after a day of negotiations with players association representatives in Washington March 8, 2011. The two sides are seeking an agreement as the deadline looms for a player lockout. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst (UNITED STATES – Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL EMPLOYMENT BUSINESS)

A pair of updates on the NFL labor situation:

– Even though the owners and NFLPA will due battle in court over the validity of the lockout on April 6, a source tells ESPN’s Adam Schefter that no one should expect a ruling by mid-April.

This news is the final dagger in the hopes that free agency would start before the draft. Now teams can almost expect to make selections not knowing whether or not they’ll be able to re-sign their own free agents (or what free agents are interested in joining their team). Now more than ever it’s paramount that a team has a good general manager and scouting department in place. (In other words, yes, you’re screwed Bengal fans.)

– In separate but somewhat related news, the NFLPA has decided to schedule its draft parties so that they won’t conflict with selections made April 28-30. Originally, the NFLPA was threatening (for lack of a better word) to hold parties during the draft to discourage prospects from shaking commissioner Roger Goodell’s hand on stage at Radio City Music Hall.

Good for the NFLPA. These prospects deserve to have their moment on stage with Goodell, even if it means they’ll be whisked away to lockout land immediately after they snap that photo on stage. Eventually there will be a new CBA in place. Eventually there will be a season. Eventually this bloody mess will have a resolution. In the meantime, it’s nice to know that top prospects can still have their moment on draft day. I might be looking at the situation wrong, but to me this is also a sign of good faith by the NFLPA.

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