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A closer look at the post-settlement timeline

NFL Contract Talks Continue As Deadline Approaches Getty Images

At some point, the lockout will end.  If it ends via settlement, certain things will have to happen.  Here’s our best current understanding of how those things would unfold, whenever the settlement comes.

First, a written settlement agreement would be signed by the parties.  From the league’s perspective, 24 of the 32 owners would have to approve the deal before the appropriate signatures are applied.  From the players’ perspective, the 10 named plaintiffs need to sign off on the proposed resolution of their class action.

Second, assuming that the settlement will require the NFLPA* to reconstitute itself as a union, the players would be required to accumulate sufficient signatures from the players to support the return of the union, with the settlement agreement becoming the next Collective Bargaining Agreement.  Much of the process can be handled electronically, allowing the harvesting of the signatures to be handled expeditiously.

Third, Judge Susan Nelson would be required to approve the settlement of the class action.  The return of the NFLPA as a union would likely make the process simpler than it normally would be.  In a typical case, the judge gives the potential class members a chance to opt out of the class and/or a chance to object to the proposed settlement.  In this case, if more than 50 percent of the players embrace the return of the union, all players presumably will be bound by that outcome.

Given the involvement of Magistrate Judge Arthur Boylan in the settlement talks, it’s safe to assume that Judge Nelson would be inclined to move quickly, in order to allow the settlement to be effected quickly, which in turn would permit the lockout to end and the Tom Brady class action to exit Judge Nelson’s docket, subject only to the question of whether she will have jurisdiction over the final CBA.

The only potential fly in the ointment comes from the possibility of a group of players objecting to the settlement, refusing to rejoin the union, and insisting on an opportunity to pursue the antitrust action in lieu of resolving the situation.  If that were the case, however, we’d likely already be hearing from players who were inclined to throw a wrench into the gears.  Indeed, there’s nothing at this point stopping individual players from filing their own competing antitrust lawsuits, given the absence of a union.  Before negotiations resumed in late May we’d heard talk of a possible effort to form a new union; however, there has been no talk of players filing separate lawsuits, other than the NFLPA* Plan B possibility of individual breach of contract suits aimed at recovering workout bonuses and other payments provided for in individual contract.

The simple reality is that the decertify-and-sue strategy came from a desire to provide the players with leverage in the labor negotiations.  The players overwhelmingly supported that approach, and there’s every reason to think they’ll overwhelmingly approve any effort to resurrect the union and finalize a new CBA.  Thus, while there will be i’s to dot and t’s to cross and hoops through which to jump, it’s our understanding that it would be a relatively simple process, and that it could all be accomplished in a week, possibly less.

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39 Responses to “A closer look at the post-settlement timeline”
  1. rjblitz02 says: Jul 2, 2011 7:42 PM

    The next headline I want to see: ”Lockout Lifted”

  2. footballfanatic3431 says: Jul 2, 2011 7:55 PM

    It would take a week from the moment the two sides agree to a deal?

    So let’s all just assume that the two sides miraculously come to an agreement next Friday the 9th.

    That means that the league year would open the 16th, possibly the 15th which has been a date we’ve been hearing all along.

    If they don’t come to an agreement this week, they are going to risk losing pre season games.

  3. bobbyd12 says: Jul 2, 2011 7:58 PM

    They are still stuck in the revenue process, no one even knows where they are on other issues yet you believe this will be wrapped up in a week??? August at the earliest.

  4. SpartaChris says: Jul 2, 2011 7:59 PM

    Resurrecting the union would prove the decertification was a total sham to begin with. Hopefully further decertification attempts will be prohibits as evidence will have shown two decertifications and reunions.

  5. tommyf15 says: Jul 2, 2011 8:03 PM

    The simple reality is that the decertify-and-sue strategy came from a desire to provide the players with leverage in the labor negotiations.

    Which is a damn shame if it’s true.

    At one point I was very high on DeMaurice Smith as the head of the NFLPA, and I’m left disappointed by him.

    If the players were going to file an anti-trust suit they should have done it because it was something that they believed in.

    As part of any settlement in dropping the suit the NFLPA should have been asking for more freedom, in terms of restricted free agency after a reasonable tenure in the league. It should have been fighting for the removal of the salary cap, or at least for an overhaul of the system.

    Instead they go back to just getting a percentage, with nothing else changing.

    Many of the readers here see me as pro-player, but I’m really pro market. I think the players should be paid whatever the market bears, even if that market means seeing the players having their salaries lowered, individually, collectively, or both. The owners shouldn’t have to spend a minimum percentage of their revenue on player salaries. The notion of a team saying”we have to raise our player expendatures to a certain level” when they really don’t need to is ABSURD.

    Personally I think Dan Snyder should be allowed to spend a trillion dollars a year on salaries if that’s what he wants to do with his money. And if the Bills and Bengals want to field a all volunteer football team where no one gets paid, let ‘em have at it.

  6. wwwfella says: Jul 2, 2011 8:05 PM

    if ifs were fifths we’d all be drunk

  7. scott8nj says: Jul 2, 2011 8:10 PM

    Thus, while there will be i’s to dot and t’s to cross and hoops through which to jump, it’s our understanding that it would be a relatively simple process, and that it could all be accomplished in a week, possibly less.

    ———————————————-

    That’s all we really need to know. the rest is just boring crap that’s been written over and over.

  8. zoxitic says: Jul 2, 2011 8:24 PM

    Odds of the next headline:

    Lockout Lifted 80-1

    LA stadium news 3-1

    Kenny Britt Arrested 2-1

  9. villagoo says: Jul 2, 2011 8:31 PM

    honestly who cares? i took the time to login and post this but refuse to read this mindless post

  10. Rhode Island Patriots Fan says: Jul 2, 2011 8:46 PM

    “…subject only to the question of whether she will have jurisdiction over the final CBA.”

    I predict Judge Nelson will have jurisdiction over the next CBA. I’m as confident of that as I am in believing that Jerry Jones is not a fan of revenue sharing.

  11. Soulman45 says: Jul 2, 2011 8:59 PM

    I don’t see a end in site the lawyers will drag it out as long as possible so be ready.
    They get paid by the hour no hurry for them only the fans are in a rush, like me.

  12. vikescry1 says: Jul 2, 2011 9:23 PM

    seriously the last few years it’s been all about favre and this year the lockout… will there ever be another normal offseason? just get the deal done!

  13. rascalmanny says: Jul 2, 2011 9:31 PM

    I don’t understand….

    if there’s no union….why can’t the NFL just say “OK anybody who wants to play can sign up and this is what you will get”.?

    How can the union sue if there’s no union?

    Why can’t the NFL say “we can’t discuss anything unless there is a union”?

    If there’s no union it’s just a matter of dealing with individuals.

  14. Deb says: Jul 2, 2011 9:43 PM

    No, the court already lifted the lockout once and it didn’t mean anything. Just tell me IT’S OVER. You could throw in a photo of a sailor kissing a nurse in the street, but I’d settle for headlines about free-agent signings.

  15. 2011lockout says: Jul 2, 2011 9:50 PM

    According to my sources an initial announcement will be made on Wednesday the 6th. The final agreement to end the lockout will be on the 14th.

  16. vetdana says: Jul 2, 2011 10:05 PM

    it could all be accomplished in a week, possibly less.

    ” And I thought April fools day was in April” !

  17. peester15 says: Jul 2, 2011 10:11 PM

    Is anyone else getting more “action” at home due to this lockout?

  18. woakland says: Jul 2, 2011 10:13 PM

    I’m thinking more like: “Report: Agreement Reached”

  19. woakland says: Jul 2, 2011 10:14 PM

    I think it’ll be the busiest/highest traffic day in PFT history, although the first day of free agency will break that record anyway.

  20. oldbrowndawg says: Jul 2, 2011 10:18 PM

    What an incredible mess! See? Get a bunch of lawyers to “help” and a crevice suddenly morphs into the Grand Canyon! Lawyers creating a complex morass out of a rather straightforward situation. Who would have ever thunk it?

    And now the lawyers are going to facilitate the ending of the mess they’ve made? What could possibly go wrong with that?

  21. chatham10 says: Jul 2, 2011 11:09 PM

    I thank you for this update but the insiders at ESPN and the NFL Network paint a different picture and they think the time frame is in a longer time frame then a week, they have mentioned three to four weeks, I like your report better.

  22. lovesportsandsurfing says: Jul 2, 2011 11:40 PM

    Your first line is misleading…”At some point the lockout will end”…you are saying that insinuating it will end at some point this year and there will be a full season,…now hear this: NO NFL IN 2011!!!!…Iv said it for two years and Im more sure of it today then I was when I predicted it two years ago…happy holidays!!!

  23. tommyf15 says: Jul 2, 2011 11:45 PM

    rascalmanny says:
    I don’t understand….

    if there’s no union….why can’t the NFL just say “OK anybody who wants to play can sign up and this is what you will get”.?

    The individual teams would have the option of doing exactly that if the NFL or the courts lift the lockout.

    rascalmanny says:
    How can the union sue if there’s no union?

    They aren’t. Ten individual players are involved in the anti-trust suit.

  24. timtheenchanter1 says: Jul 3, 2011 12:23 AM

    SpartaChris says: Jul 2, 2011 7:59 PM

    Resurrecting the union would prove the decertification was a total sham to begin with. Hopefully further decertification attempts will be prohibits as evidence will have shown two decertifications and reunions.
    ——————————

    Just like after the Reggie White case, this would be at the demand of the OWNERS, not the players. It does not prove the decertification was a sham in any way.

    Unlike most other businesses, because sports leagues are defacto cartels of individually owned companies, they NEED there to be a union to establish uniform pay restrictions without having to defend against never-ending anti-trust actions. Otherwise, as MF mentions in the article, some player or players could get pissy and go off the reservation and sue the teams for anti-trust violations. Or it becomes the wild wild west (as tommyf15 seems to want) and you have such drastic salary disparity that the game suffers irreparably.

    The unions are the sports league OWNERS’ security blanket.

  25. timtheenchanter1 says: Jul 3, 2011 12:32 AM

    rascalmanny says: Jul 2, 2011 9:31 PM

    I don’t understand….

    if there’s no union….why can’t the NFL just say “OK anybody who wants to play can sign up and this is what you will get”.?

    How can the union sue if there’s no union?

    Why can’t the NFL say “we can’t discuss anything unless there is a union”?

    If there’s no union it’s just a matter of dealing with individuals.
    —————————

    So, how has life been under that rock?

    This is the whole point of the Brady v NFL lawsuit. Without the union, the owners are subject to anti-trust law and any set of “this is what you will get” rules are likely to ultimately be found to be a violation if players sue and carry it all the way through.

    It’s a giant game of chicken, and we’re all in the middle. Without a cba, the owners could get their ass handed to them in the long run through anti-trust law. However, in the short term, because of the lockout the players will likely fall apart when they start missing game checks.

  26. 1kcfan says: Jul 3, 2011 12:39 AM

    Yea, we’re fans and we love the game, but we are really sick of being taken advantage of by million/BILLIONaires…….cancel the season, cancel it all — go TRY to find a job…..welcome to REALITY.

  27. huejackson says: Jul 3, 2011 12:48 AM

    ive said all along this is all BS, theres goin to be football, theres to much money to lose, the only ones that would reject it is the lazy players who are already rich and rather not play

    either way there will be football and either way the OAKLAND RAIDERS WILL BE SUPERBOWL CHAMPS

  28. digirootune says: Jul 3, 2011 3:50 AM

    We may make a half-hearten attempt at giving you sh*t Mike, but thanks for keeping us posted. We all agree that the lockout sucks, but PFT has given us fans constant updates.

    Thank you, PFT. We love you.

    SGT Bacas, 1/507th PIR

  29. evrybdyhas1 says: Jul 3, 2011 6:13 AM

    They are still deciding how to split the revenue from the pay toilets, a very personal seat license.

  30. 7370355q says: Jul 3, 2011 8:33 AM

    @2011lockout

    And you heard that where???

  31. dewalt2990 says: Jul 3, 2011 8:50 AM

    I thought the retirees and their lawyer were gonna throw a wrench in it.

  32. vetdana says: Jul 3, 2011 9:30 AM

    if there’s no union….why can’t the NFL just say “OK anybody who wants to play can sign up and this is what you will get”.?

    They could….but they won’t,… because….they need a union to 1. protect both sides” corporate” interests and players minimum salaries and 2. the union and new CBA needs a vehicle to cover their anti- trust exemption, which is still important to the owners side of the negotiations. There are also more complex legal considerations that come into play.

  33. tmaczoozoo says: Jul 3, 2011 10:46 AM

    This is all this article needs to say…

    “There izz a lot of junk dat needs to be done before any football – actchewly- it is so much that there ain’t gonna be football an’ Ol’ Jerrah be under the innastate asking for some food an’ cash-money!”

  34. tombrookshire says: Jul 3, 2011 11:33 AM

    Amazing isn’t how fast they can get judicial system to work when there are billions at stake? All the complicated legal mumbo jumbo can be cut through like a knife through butter when owners fear losing some money and are now ready to deal. I wonder how much they actually saved by locking out the players all winter and spring in facilities, insurance, salaries, utilities, maintenance, and various fees, taxes and more.

  35. TIM says: Jul 3, 2011 12:11 PM

    Tom:
    The owners didn’t lock anyone out of anything UNTIL the union walked out of the negotiations,where the owners had just made 8 concessions and were waiting for some counter offers from the litigation obsessed union. And then the union pulled the total sham of a decertification,where everyone and their brother knew they would reconstitute the union as soon as their Mommy the court system gave them what they wanted. And then they sued the owners to try to ruin everything the owners had sweated blood over the years to produce,the NFL as we know it.

    And THEN and only THEN did the owners lock out their disgruntled employees,who were suing them and trying to ruin their business,like any sane business owner would do.

    D. Smith could have had a fair deal done 3 Months ago,if he had not decided long ago that he was going to court and was never going to negotiate anything,unless he lost in court,which he has now done (why do you think he is back in talks ?)

  36. tommyf15 says: Jul 3, 2011 12:21 PM

    tombrookshire says:
    Amazing isn’t how fast they can get judicial system to work when there are billions at stake?

    Not sure what you mean. The St. Louis court hasn’t done a thing since April.

  37. tommyf15 says: Jul 3, 2011 12:37 PM

    TIM says:
    The owners didn’t lock anyone out of anything UNTIL the union walked out of the negotiations,where the owners had just made 8 concessions

    What were those eight concessions?

  38. mjkelly77 says: Jul 3, 2011 1:52 PM

    The union is what provides anti-trust protection to the owners. But the players as well as the owners need the union. Because without the structure of the union and CBA, there would be no salary cap or draft, and the large market teams would end up with the best players. The small market teams would at some point fold because they’d never be able to compete. The fan base would erode. Eventually, the few oligopolistic large-market teams that remain would start to lower their salary structure and due to a smaller league, less players would be needed. The majority of the players would suffer eventually. It reminds me of Blazing Saddles when Cleavon Little holds a gun to his own head and says: “Hold it! Next man makes a move, the n!gger gets it!”
    Well, the owners get it and even DeMoron Smith gets it. He’s Cleavon Little in this scenario. He just had no other leverage.

  39. tommyf15 says: Jul 3, 2011 4:30 PM

    mjkelly77 says:
    Because without the structure of the union and CBA, there would be no salary cap or draft, and the large market teams would end up with the best players. The small market teams would at some point fold because they’d never be able to compete

    No offense, but that’s just another doomsday scenario that discourages competition.

    Let me ask you something- why would a small market team fold instead of just moving to Los Angeles? Or Washington? Or Dallas? With proper anti-trust rules in place a small market team could do exactly that.

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