NFLPA bracing for full stay of injunction

New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (R) and Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Charlie Batch (C) arrive for labor negotiations between NFL players and owners with federal mediation in Washington on March 3, 2011. The current collective bargaining agreement expires at midnight tonight and a lockout is possible but not definite if none is reached. UPI/Roger L. Wollenberg.

Via Albert Breer on Twitter, is reporting that the NFLPA is “bracing” for the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals to grant the owners’ request for a stay of Judge Susan Nelson’s lockout injunction.

Technically, Chad Ochocinco broke the news, citing a union source. What we don’t like about the report is that free agency and trades would be delayed for at least a month. What we do like is that it would give the sides a chance to head back to the mediation table to try to hammer out a new CBA. A stay would wipe out all offseason programs, keeping the doors locked until at least mid-June, if not July or August.

The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals already granted a temporary stay last week, so the news isn’t terribly surprising. What would be best for fans in the short term is if the stay isn’t granted. That means the league’s doors would open up, free agency would start and we would probably have an uncapped season next year. But that’s obviously not what’s best in the long term.

What’s best in the long term is that these clowns (I reserve the right to call them that considering they can’t figure out how to split $9 billion of the fans’ money) head back to the negotiating table and hammer out a new CBA. They have to find a compromise here.

Forget about which side is more right (or less wrong) and let’s see these guys come to an agreement already. The draft breathed some much-needed life into the league last weekend, and here’s hoping free agency will start soon so things can get back on track.

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Report: No free agency until injunction ruling

The NFL logo is seen on a trailer parked near the New Meadowlands Stadium where the New York Jets and New York Giants NFL football teams play home games in East Rutherford, New Jersey, March 14, 2011. The NFL has officially announced a lockout of players by team owners following the move by the players’ union to dissolve themselves and pursue court action against the league. REUTERS/Mike Segar (UNITED STATES – Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL BUSINESS)

Jason La Canfora is reporting that the current freeze on NFL free agency will remain intact until the St. Louis appeals court rules on the lockout injunction.

From Rotoworld:

The owners filed for the appeal on Monday night, and expect a decision by Tuesday. GMs and coaching staffs have also been instructed to stay away from free agents. NFL teams are still adhering to “lockout rules,” since the league hasn’t constructed a new set of rules for whatever you want to call the period we’re in. We’d still be shocked if any transactions occurred before the draft.

I agree with Rotoworld. I think at this point, we can assume that no team will be able to sign a free agent before the draft on Thursday. Thus, we’re seemingly headed for one of the most unpredictable drafts in recent memory.

In terms of the lockout injunction, the owners won’t give up without a fight. This was a victory for the players, but the situation is (sadly) still far from over. Even if the owners’ appeal isn’t granted, there’s still the issue of the two sides working out a new CBA deal. Granted, the owners and players could agree to an uncapped season (just like there was in 2010), but that obviously doesn’t mean all will be resolved.

Judge lifts NFL lockout, but owners are expected to appeal

Even though Judge Susan Nelson has granted an injunction of the NFL owners’ lockout, players and fans will have to hold off on the celebration.

While this ruling is obviously a huge win for the players, the owners are pursuing a stay on the injunction, which could mean that Nelson’s decision could eventually be overruled. The NFL’s hearing is scheduled for Tuesday.

From USA Today:

“The irreparable harm to the players outweighs any harm an injunction would cause the NFL,” Nelson wrote in her decision. She also cited public interest in her ruling and said the NFL’s lockout — which would threatened to shutter the regular season if it lingered into the fall — was “far from purely a private argument over compensation.”

As of right now, it’s uncertain whether or not the league is open for business. According to Peter King via Twitter, agents have started advising clients with huge workout bonuses to report to their teams on Tuesday morning. Adam Schefter shared a similar tweet on his page.

If the owners’ appeal doesn’t hold up, we could be looking at another uncapped year as the two sides continue to work on a new CBA. The good news there is that free agency will begin and I would have to imagine that teams will start calling players as early as this week. (If not on Tuesday.)

Of course, if the owners’ appeal is granted, then the league has another mess on its hands. For now, all we can do is wait for the situation to provide more clarity.

Judge ruling on lockout coming on Monday?

Federal mediator George Cohen reads an announcement that the talks between the NFL Players Association and the NFL owners will continue to reach a deal and avoid a lockout in Washington, March 4, 2011. The NFL and the players’ union agreed to extend talks on a new collective agreement for another week, the League-owned NFL Network reported Friday. The chief sticking point in the talks is how to distribute the league’s $9 billion in annual revenues. REUTERS/Jim Young (UNITED STATES – Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL BUSINESS)

Gary Myers of the New York Daily News hears that Judge Susan Nelson will rule on the validity of the owners’ lockout on Monday.

I’m hearing Nelson will issue the ruling on Monday. The players are the heavy favorites to win this round.

That doesn’t mean the lockout ends right away and free agency starts. Nelson will either issue a stay on her ruling pending appeal to the Eighth Circuit in St. Louis or the loser will get a stay pending appeal directly from the Eighth Circuit. The winner of the appeal gains the leverage.

Either way, the stubbornness of the players and owners will eventually burn one of them with litigation taking over for negotiation. After two years of negotiating on their own, 16 days in federal mediation with George Cohen in Washington and four days in court-ordered mediation, which ended yesterday, with U.S. Magistrate Judge Arthur Boylan in Minneapolis, it’s all about the lawsuits.

As Myers points out, mediation between the two sides has been put off until May 16 because Boylan has scheduling conflicts. It’s nice to know that Judge Nelson picked someone to mediate this dispute that would eventually need a nearly month-long break in between. No wonder the NFL wanted to continue mediation under George Cohen (pictured above).

A lockout injunction is likely, but don’t assume that the NFL’s doors will be open for business following Judge Nelson’s ruling. The owners are expected to appeal the decision, which means free agency, trades and fun will once again be put on hold for more lawsuits, bickering and nausea.

Players and owners viewing second round of mediation as a ruse?

The home of the NFL’s San Diego Chargers is shown in San Diego, California at Qualcomm Stadium March 15, 2011. The antitrust suit filed by NFL players against the league will be heard on April 6 in a federal court in Minnesota, according to court documents released on Monday. The hearing is to be heard by Judge Susan Nelson with the players asking for an injunction against the lockout declared by the NFL on Saturday. REUTERS/Mike Blake(UNITED STATES – Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL)

Remember the report about how a new CBA could be in place by the time of the NFL draft? Well apparently fans can forget about that.

Just days after NFL Network’s Albert Breer reported that the CBA discusses were getting “serious,”’s Mike Freeman refutes Breer’s claims and labeled the current talks a “ruse.” After speaking with sources on both sides, Freeman believes this second round of mediation is just a “song and dance, ritualistic, done to satisfy Judge Susan Nelson.”

Great. Happy Monday, NFL Fans! There’s still no hope that there will be a season next year!

One thing that I found perplexing about Breer’s report is that he said the two sides were serious about this round of mediation, yet they weren’t going to meet over the weekend. If the players and owners were taking mediation seriously, wouldn’t they want to exhaust their time together by trying to iron out their issues over the weekend? After all, there’s no season next year. It’s not like the owners and players had something more important to take care of last weekend that they couldn’t continue mediation. I get that these people also have lives but if they were taking it seriously and if they were getting somewhere in talks, why halt the discussion?

If you want to remain optimistic about the situation, then sink your hope into Breer’s report. But if you want to be realistic, then Freeman’s story makes more sense. The players are still confident that Judge Nelson will rule in their favor, while the owners believe that they can reverse her decision on appeal. Freeman is probably right in that we’re right back to where we started when the owners locked the players out in March: Nowhere.

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