Wednesday is the latest key date for labor talks

On Friday, as the NFL and the players were by all accounts closing in on an agreement in principle for a new labor deal, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit dropped a ruling that essentially slammed the brakes on the process.  Over the weekend, it wasn’t clear whether one side or the other would attempt to argue that the mixed-outcome decision (in our assessment) justified a shift in the leverage.

A summary of the ruling prepared by NFLPA* lawyers seemed to suggest that there was, at a minimum, an effort to paint the decision as a victory for the players.  But through two days this week of lawyers-only negotiations in New York, no one has suggested that the players — or the owners — are trying to dramatically alter the deal based on the belief that either side “won” the case before the Eighth Circuit.

So now, after a nine-hour detail-ironing-out session between the lawyers on Tuesday, the big boys return to the bargaining table, with a whopping six owners showing up.

As Sal Paolantonio of ESPN reported earlier in the week, Magistrate Judge Arthur Boylan is available via e-mail and by phone if necessary.  And if they can’t get it done this week (some think a deal in principle will be announced on July 17), they’ll be in Judge Boylan’s Minneapolis chambers on Tuesday, July 19.

Albert Breer of NFL Network reports that the parties have been ordered to appear with “full settlement authority,” a strong-sounding mandate that in many cases the presiding judicial officer declines to literally enforce.  In this situation, it technically means that the players’ representatives must have the authority of the 10 named plaintiffs to get something done — and that the owners who show up must have the ability without a full vote of the owners to enter into a binding deal.  (Alternatively, all owners must be present, in order to vote then and there on whether a specific proposal will be adopted.)

More important than the notion of “full settlement authority” could be the setting.  By working in Judge Boylan’s chambers in lieu of a local law firm, Boylan could lock the door, swallow the key, and tell the parties that, based on his specific biology, the stem-to-stern journey takes about 48 hours.  With the owners due to meet in Atlanta on July 21, Boylan likely will require them to stay late on Tuesday and arrive early on Wednesday (and stay late on Wednesday if needed) in an effort to finally get this done.

We continue to put out feelers on whether the deal is being delayed only by the rookie wage scale, or whether the issues reach farther than that.  To date, no one has said that there’s more than the rookie wage scale, with the exception of the “right of first refusal” red herring.

So whether it ends now, in a week from now, or somewhere in between, it looks like the end is near.  But we’ll keep trying to find out whether there’s any legitimate reason to doubt that.

20 responses to “Wednesday is the latest key date for labor talks

  1. Simply put, I really don’t care anymore.

    I didn’t even read this article; I’m sick of reading about this crap.

    I wish both sides would simply just shut up until they finally reach an agreement, and frankly, as much as I love football, I’m tired of reading all the rhetoric and bull$hit from BOTH sides and I don’t even care at this point if they DO reach an agreement.

    You did it, players, owners, and lawyers; you killed THIS fan’s great love for the NFL game of football, and not even the great Bill Belichick can bring me back.

    I’m tired of all this.

  2. Wouldn’t it be nice if both sides could show that they’re all grown up and can get a deal done this week without the hand-holding of Boylan?

  3. This is about the Thousandth “KEY” date reported on just let me know when it’s over

  4. Why is it a key date? Because it’s Wednesday. And today’s Wednesday. And we have to make it seem important when there’s a better-than-fair chance nothing will get done today.

    I’m starting to hear the “wah-waaaah-wah-wah-waaaaah” of the adults in the Charlie Brown cartoons when I read stuff like this.

  5. I actually lol’d at the “key swallowing” part.

    Anyway, yeah get this thing done. I know the end seems immenent, but no one will be happy until it’s signed, sealed and delivered.

  6. Dear “Eaglesfootballfan”…: You arent a free agent so dont stress out over wanting free agency to start,…your warehouse job is safe, unless you get in one more fork lift related accident.

  7. At this point in the calendar, until a deal is finalized, I think it’s safe to say every day is a key date.

  8. Dear “lovesportsandsurfing”….Judging from your pretentious post, I sense a residual bitterness from your unemployment as a result of too many fork lift accidents.

  9. it sounds to me like today is a dot the i’s, cross the t’s sorta thing. i think the deal is done and that yesterday the lawyers were preparing final drafts. i wouldn’t be shocked if an announcement was made today though i’m not getting my hopes up.

  10. i don’t see why so many people are all bent out of shape… “i’m not a fan anymore, i don’t care anymore”. Folks we haven’t lost anything yet except for some FA brewhaha in march and minicamps. You are letting the league and players manipulate you.

    In September you’ll be sitting on the couch watching games all day and you’ll be as big a fan as ever.

  11. @jefferree101

    Don’t worry about “lovesportsandsurfing”. He is just bitter because his “lockout will never end and regular season games WILL be missed” rants are not going to come to fruition. Dude has been postin that crap for at least a month now, and all this lockout ending talk is making him angry.

  12. Anyone else noticed that most of the pro-owner ranters have disappeared from the comments now that an agreement is near? Once a new CBA is signed, the spotlight of the game is once again on the players that are the backbone of this league. It is a shame that so many of them may suffer unfortunate injuries due to the prolonged lockout and insufficient preparation time for the upcoming season.

  13. @Zombie

    Or maybe… just maybe… regular people who don’t have a dog in this fight other than wanting to see football on their magic talking box this year are basically tired of saying the same things over and over again. Just like the pro-player ranters should be.

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