Ideally, the NFL and the NFLPA* would have continued to bargain through Friday and into Saturday, Sunday, and Monday, if necessary. By sticking with the process, the momentum that surely was established on Thursday night could have been not only maintained but also enhanced, possibly even pushing the parties toward a deal.
With the talks breaking until Tuesday, the challenge for both sides becomes finding a way to pick up where they left off, as quickly as possible, when the discussions resume.
It could be easier said than done, especially since the owners and key players reportedly won’t return until Thursday of next week. That leaves Tuesday and Wednesday for recent progress potentially to be undone. Not to mention Saturday, Sunday, and Monday for feet to get cold again.
It’s important, then, for the men leading the charge for each side, Roger Goodell and DeMaurice Smith, to do everything they can to carry the vibe from Thursday into Tuesday. They need to support each other, and they need to make good decisions about how to manage the folks in their respective camps so that talks don’t go backward again when the talks resume.
It’s also critical for the respective constituents to fully support Goodell and Smith to now do the jobs they were hired to do. The owners, based on last week’s meeting in Chicago, seem to be behind Goodell. The players, many of whom were clamoring for negotiations to resume in late May and who possibly have been silent since then, would be wise to let their team representatives and Executive Committee members know over the weekend that they trust De Smith to do the best deal in order to allow the full preseason to be salvaged.
Even though the players don’t get game checks until September, the money earned during the preseason goes into the pot that determines the salary cap. Thus, if the preseason is lost, everyone will lose their cut of $800 million, and that money is never coming back.
The money won’t be lost if a deal gets done in the next week. We’re not going to make any predictions, but it seems like a real possibility. If whatever happened last night can survive into next week.