Talks continue today, with skeleton crew

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Last Thursday, when it appeared that the labor negotiations were teetering on the brink of implosion, U.S. Magistrate Judge Arthur Boylan got the parties refocused, keeping them around until after 1:00 a.m. ET.

By all counts, significant progress was made.

But the following morning included a fairly short session, with limited (and that’s a stretch) actual negotiations.  Then, the parties shut down the face-to-face talks for the Fourth of July weekend, leaving the lawyers to try to hash out the paperwork that eventually would be signed and submitted to the federal court in Minnesota if/when a settlement is reached.

Though the process of drafting the documents is critical, especially in light of the various player-friendly terms the pre-asterisked NFLPA slipped through the league’s five hole in 2006, haggling over specific contents of the CBA is irrelevant until there’s a consensus on the big issues.

Today, the talks resume with only the lawyers, who will be working directly on the wherefores and heretofores and hereinafters and hereinbeforetofores.  It previously was believed that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and NFLPA* executive director DeMaurice Smith would be present.  Chris Mortensen of ESPN reports that they won’t return until Thursday.

At this critical juncture, that’s unfortunate.  At a minimum, the leaders of the respective camps should be supervising their schools of blue-suited sharks, especially in light of the growing belief that the players’ lawyers want nothing more than to fire a bullet into the 2011 season’s oxygen tank.

Bottom line?  This deal won’t get done until the key figures are present.  And with the key figures not scheduled to return for 48 more hours, here’s hoping that they’re willing to spend the bulk of the ensuing 48 hours on putting this thing to bed.

34 responses to “Talks continue today, with skeleton crew

  1. This sounds more like the proverbial “crossing of T’s” and “dotting of I’s” than a negotiating session. If they are working on language details, this could only be seen as a positive.

  2. Well, if they are truly at the “dot Is and cross Ts” phase, and I have every doubt that they are, it’s time to say so publicly.

    This fan’s patience is entering serious test mode, and I’m probably not alone.

    I don’t see how they can continue to justify no round-the-clock face-to-face meetings. It just looks bad.

    Bad enough it’s come to this in the first place, but now it at least appears as though the parties are marginally motivated to work at fixing it.

    Hope they all enjoyed their weekend (not that it appears to be over).

    I’m not going to sit here and say I won’t watch games, but I’m going to at least make sure I spend less money on things related to the league if this continues.

    The fans, who supply the revenue the are arguing about, continue to be taken for granted here.

    Time is almost up folks.

  3. Well, if they are truly at the “dot Is and cross Ts” phase, and I have every doubt that they are, it’s time to say so publicly.


    They’d be in contempt of court to do this though. That’s why these are considered “secret” negotiations. Both sides are mandated by the courts not to release anything.

    Besides, I am sure both sides would be reluctant to say an agreement is close because a.) it could hurt their negotiating stance and b.) a premature declaration could backfire P.R. wise if they hit a potential snag.

  4. Now that the lawyers are on it I guess the problem is as good as solved.

  5. It is critical that the issues get resolved and we get on with football.

    Minnesota wants to offer Brett a one season contract——

    or—-they may trade for Aaron Rodgers———–Green Bay would like to move him for a 4th round pick.

  6. This article is bordering on irresponsible.

    For all we know, Goodell and Smith could be conducting their own talks over the phone. Technology these days does allow for this to happen.

    And I agree with the person that said it’s a positive sign that only the lawyers are meeting. I would think this is a “final step” in getting this done.

  7. why has this site started to jump to the MAXIMUM NEGATIVE you can’t really believe that fully with so little to go on how are we even sure we are getting the full story like many other people have said this could basically be the CBA and that all things are actually agreed on already the players and owners maybe just let slip what they want you to hear make it more of a surprise i for one am for that LOL this will and should be done very soon even if some backend vets want this to draw out longer because they know they will lose their job the owners won’t risk losing more money because a player they are gonna cut anyways is wanting to draw it out LMAO that would just make them want to do it more

  8. Cool, its not like this is a big deal or anything, its not like 800 million is at stake. :sarcasm:

    Why do we as fans still stand for this, oh thats right…we still buy jerseys and tickets and expect them to care what we think, as we still walk like pawns.

  9. Seems like a good thing, that both parties involved feel comfortable enough that the lawyers will play nice. Final CBA is like 1500 pages long, so that is an awful lot of language to work through.

  10. espn radio is making it sound like the hard part is done and that the lawyers are simply writing into contract what has already been agreed upon..

  11. “Today, the talks resume with only the lawyers”


    Great, I’m just waiting for the news of an implosion of talks because Kessler is involved.

    I won’t believe this is good news until I hear that a deal has been done or a document signed.

  12. I once again post that I do not understand the lack of face to face meeting. I know they wanted the 4th of July off but the players and everybody tied into teams work on Thanksgiving, Xmas and New Years but these overpaid geeks cannot work over the 4th. I really believe them when they say it is for the fans.

  13. Why does a CBA negotiation or agreement need lawyers involved???

    Once again, the players and owners are not going to split up any of my money!!! Not buying tickets…not buying any TV packages…boycotting NFL Network…and not buying any NFL related merchandise. It’s past time for football fans to engage in an economic boycott of the NFL!!!!

  14. I’m probably overstepping boundaries here but I think a deal is already made up and in place and everyone was told to keep their mouths shut about it. I’d be highly surprised if there wasn’t one b/c

    1) They would be meeting everyday pretty much. It took these guys this long to divide up $9 billion but common sense would tell ya to keep meeting until something got resolved.

    2) The 8th circuit and Judge Doty would have made decisions by now regarding the pending cases brought before them giving one side or the other leverage on particular things.

  15. I’m sure Roger and De woke up this morning, read this article and wondered why they hadn’t thought of meeting this week. My guess is that none of these so called leaders of a 9 billion dollar industry has a clue what they are doing, versus the Monday Morning quarterbacks that run and comment on this site. If only we could get you guys to run the talks…what do you think Mr. Goodell?

  16. If this is indeed strictly in the hands of the lawyers for the next 48 – we got a real BIG problem. That’s the same as leaving the cookie jar on the floor, with the lid off, and expecting your five year old to be cool. We’re doomed.

  17. The article is interesting enough, but the bigger issue is that’s got to be the most attractive photo of Ron Jaworski you’ve ever published!

  18. Ok, my turn to offer a prediction, and unlike PFT’s, mine will be correct.

    In spite of all the wailing about the purported lack of meetings, definitive documentation will be complete no later than July 14, 2011.

  19. It’s time for Judge Boylan to say, “You have until Monday, boys. Then I render my decision.” That should get them working a little harder…

  20. Well, if they are dotting I’s and crossing T’s, which everyone seems to be saying, I had no idea the CBA was this big. I’ve been keeping a meticulous journal for at least 10-11 years while it has filled six 180-page books and I am on page 1801, so yes, 1,500 pages takes a long time to compile. Get this done guys. GO BRONCOS!!!

  21. jaxxus says: Jul 5, 2011 10:20 AM

    It is critical that the issues get resolved and we get on with football.

    Minnesota wants to offer Brett a one season contract——

    or—-they may trade for Aaron Rodgers———–Green Bay would like to move him for a 4th round pick

    You got it going on this 5th day of July, 2011.
    How funny

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