The league has posted an extremely detailed calendar for the upcoming season at NFLLabor.com. It’s one of the most comprehensive multi-month NFL calendars we’ve ever seen.
But it omits a very important date, especially in light of the broader purpose of the league’s labor-focused website.
The calendar doesn’t specify when the clock strikes 12 on the negotiations for a new CBA.
That’s because, frankly, no one knows. Does it happen when the current CBA expires (currently something that doesn’t appear on the calendar, either)? Does it come when the regular season starts? When training camps open? Or does it arise when the time comes for fans to renew season-ticket orders?
The problem is that, if there’s no new CBA by March, free agency could be tabled indefinitely, especially since owners won’t want to pay signing bonuses to players whom the owners will be trying to squeeze into accepting the owners’ terms.
Given that the league opted to post the detailed-but-incomplete calendar at NFLLabor.com, it’s failure to attempt to discern a potential connection to the ongoing CBA drama — especially since the P.R. battle has escalated over the past week or so — could be regarded as a message to the union.