What began as a bang with a tweet from Adam Schefter of ESPN has become a whimper.
Schefter sounded the CBA alarm via a text from an agent who was in the mandatory meeting with NFLPA executive director De Smith. “”Not close on one single issue,” the agent said. “This WILL go into September.”
Since then, far less ominous accounts have emerged.
One agent told us that the characterization of Smith’s comments was flat-out wrong. Also, Schefter backtracked considerably, calling his tweet the “opinion” of one agent and thus not a direct quote from De Smith.
Mike Freeman of CBSSports.com reports that one agent said Smith deflected multiple questions regarding the status of the negotiations, and that Smith consistently declined to talk about anything that happened during seven days of mediation. Smith, per Freeman, instead focused on “contingencies” in the event of a lockout, making the agent session no different than the meeting the league held Thursday with coaches and General Managers.
In our view, nothing can be read into the developments — good, bad, or otherwise. Both sides must show that they’re prepared for a lockout, in order to possibly avoid one. So the fact that both sides continue to make preparations for a lockout means nothing.
Think of it this way. When the parties to a lawsuit are engaged in settlement discussions are trial approaches, do they stop preparing for trial? Hell no. They prepare even harder, because failure to do so would force the unprepared side to take something less than the best deal possible in the eleventh hour.
So pardon us for not yet flushing the sense of guarded optimism that has arisen in the past week. Nothing said or done by either side in the past 24 hours leads us to believe that a protracted lockout is definitely coming.