With much still to be done (supposedly) in order to strike a handshake deal and then to convert it into a written settlement agreement that would then be approved by Judge Susan Nelson as the settlement of a class action and that would then require the resurrection of the NFLPA as a union, we’re stunned that the league and the players met once again for only two days this week.
Apart from the fact that we’re getting nervous about our June 30 prediction for the announcement of an agreement in principle (maybe I should have predicted that the rapture will happen that day instead), time is getting short in order to salvage the Hall of Fame game, which is due to be played on August 7. To get there, the Bears and Rams must open camp two weeks before that. Though we suppose that the Bears and Rams could have a shortened camp before playing a game, the fact that there has been no offseason program would make that unwise, at best.
Then there’s free agency. If the doors don’t open until, for example, July 25 and the Bears and Rams have to rush to camp while everyone else is signing free agents, that’s no really fair to the Bears and Rams.
Per ESPN.com, talks between the league and the players are expected to continue next week. Meanwhile, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and however many days from Monday on until they get together will be wasted.
We’ll hope that the self-described hard work continues independently, possibly with the lawyers already drafting large chunks of the settlement agreement that will become the CBA, and with the principals communicating by phone, e-mail, and/or Skype (if any of them even know what Skype is). But there’s no substitute for keeping the nose to the proverbial grindstone via face-to-face negotiations, especially if both sides think that plenty of work remains.
So instead of telling us how hard they’re working, we’d prefer that the parties show us. In our view, meeting only two days per week over the last four weeks is a lot closer to hardly working than working hard.