As the NFL and the NFLPA* continue to negotiate with the goal of finally striking a deal (and keep in mind there’s no deal until there’s a deal), several of you have asked for more information on how an agreement would translate to a new Collective Bargaining Agreement.
Several of you who apparently are suffering from insomnia.
Here’s a step-by-step look at everything that would need to happen, which unfortunately does not include the cutting of any holes in any boxes.
First, the league and the players would reach an agreement in principle, most likely in the form of a written document that outlines the major terms of the deal and any changes to the minor terms of the expired CBA.
Second, the agreement in principle would be converted into a proposed settlement agreement of the Tom Brady antitrust action.
Third, the parties would work with Judge Susan Nelson to determine a fair and appropriate procedure for giving notice of the proposed settlement to every member of the class, and for providing each of them a chance to obtain information about the proposed deal and to object to the settlement.
Fourth, Judge Nelson would schedule a fairness hearing, at which time any players with objections to the proposed settlement may present their concerns. Ultimately, Judge Nelson would have to decide whether to approve the settlement.
Fifth, assuming that the settlement requires the union to be resurrected, the NFLPA* would be required at some point to take the steps necessary to make that happen. Presumably, this would entail the players having a chance to vote on the return of the union, and thus on the proposed settlement. If at least 50 percent of the players agree to reconstitute the union, the NFLPA* would lost its asterisk, and the CBA would dictate the terms of the relationship between the league and its players.
The challenge will be to devise a strategy for allowing the NFL to lift the lockout, with appropriate assurances that the agreement will be approved. There’s no way that all i’s can be dotted and t’s can be crossed before the season starts. Thus, the NFL will be required to make the leap of faith regarding the ultimate approval of the settlement — and regarding the players’ willingness to vote to bring back the union.
These are the very issues that the lawyers will be required to work out, if a deal is finalized. Here’s hoping that the lawyers are focusing on these issues, and not instead trying to justify their existence by undoing any progress that the parties have made without their involvement.