Players considering seeking injunction for rookies, free agents

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In what could be proof that the two sides really aren’t (contrary to what Drew Brees said Wednesday) “very close” to a labor deal — or in what possibly could be confirmation that they are — a source with direct knowledge of the negotiations tells PFT that the players could soon be filing a motion to end the lockout as to players not currently under contract.

In Friday’s ruling allowing the lockout generally to proceed, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit concluded that, regarding the rookies and unsigned free agents, the lockout possibly could be prevented until they sign contracts.  Though this ultimately is a distinction without a difference, the process of requiring the league to open the doors for the purposes of signing rookies and free agents before systematically locking each one out after giving them seven-figure-or-more signing bonuses would create, as the NFLPA* lawyers called it in a memo obtained by Sal Paolantonio of ESPN, a “bizarre chaos.”  (Is there another kind?)

To trigger that “bizarre chaos,” the named plaintiffs in the Brady class action would be required to file a motion with Judge Susan Nelson, who would then hold a hearing as to whether the lockout should be lifted for players not currently under contract, until they are signed to new contracts.

The argument would specifically be advanced not only by named plaintiffs like rookie Von Miller and pending free agent Ben Leber, but also by Peyton Manning and Vincent Jackson, both of whom are named platintiffs and free agents — and both of whom have been restricted with the franchise tag.  And so the “bizarre chaos” would include whether the Colts would be able to enforce the franchise tag, whether another team would try to sign Manning, and whether the players would claim collusion and/or contempt of court if Manning and other players receive no offers.

Bizarre or otherwise, it would indeed be chaos.  And it’s the only real hammer that the NFLPA* currently have, short of walking away from the table and incurring the total and overwhelming wrath of the fans, and possibly enough current players to start a union of their own.

With the parties getting closer to an agreement, but also closer to an impasse on the remaining issues, it’s the one thing that could get the NFL to quit assuming that the players eventually will cave.

It’s unclear when the motion would be filed.  Per the source, the tactic currently is on the radar screen.

61 responses to “Players considering seeking injunction for rookies, free agents

  1. Makes sense that if the NFL isn’t going to budge on the lockout until a CBA is signed and all the paperwork is done that the players don’t budge on their legal challenges.

  2. They’re probably just floating the idea so they can have a little leverage as they finalize this deal. I don’t think they would do it unless the sides were really far apart, which goes against almost everything we’ve heard lately, cold water splash posts notwithstanding.

  3. Good luck. Do you think the rookie – Judge Suzy – wants to get burned twice/overturned by the 8th Ct of Appeals? Methinks not.

  4. If the players do this, I want the owners to shut the whole damn thing down. Send the players back to the corner with their tails in between their legs. There is no need for this crap. Stop all the posturing, stop all this we need leverage crap, and do what adults do find a freaking compromise.

    I am sick of it. Enough is enough. Either keep the courts and the lawyers out of it until a deal is struck or go find another freaking career.

  5. Yup…If the players do this, looks like my Sundays will be free. Sounds like the *NLFPA is running scared. Anything De Smith and Co. can do to drag this out is more money in their pockets. Wonder how much they will get if the owners pull the plug on this season?

  6. If the players want to go down the litigation path again I say to Hel# with them.

    They should have learned the first time letting people like Kessler and Quinn continue to sue only makes the attorneys richer and does nothing to further their cause. In fact it brings them backward. If De Smith is so dense or so lacking in backbone to stop Kessler from finding some little crack where he can sue then to Hel& with them.

    Most likely this is just the final posturing to get captitulation on a few sticking points (that is why it was leaked to the press probably). But if they are truly considering letting the Gimp out of his cage again them To hel% with them!

  7. Looks like Kessler woke up with a hard-on and convinced d smith and the players in the law suit that he’s found a loop hole, all he’s looking for is an excuse to keep this thing going.

    If they let them file this suit it could mean the end. judge Susan will side with the players and the owners be granted a stay from the district court…..rinse….lather….repeat.

    Fighting to get unsigned players not locked out…until the minute they sign their contracts? And it won’t accomplish anything money wise….teams will turn all signing bonuses into roster bonuses that won’t be paid until the first day of the league year.

  8. “lickenkittens says:
    Jul 14, 2011 11:04 AM
    How bout the players just get a deal done? I’m just saying…”


    “Just saying”, it takes two to negotiate. Stop being so simplistic.

  9. PTF should have addressed the appeals route in this. Cause sure the players and ask for this, but can the owners then appeal, request a stay until the appeal is heard and so on….. It is a part of the story. It does let the reader have a better idea of how valueable this approach could be.

  10. The owners are NOT going to sign ANY rookies until there is a wage scale in place !!! As to the free agents, how can teams negotiate with a player and not be in violation of anti trust laws ?

  11. Once again, the players show they only want things their way or no way—
    1. They DON’T want a rookie wage scale–they want the rookies to keep getting those 50M guaranteed checks–before they prove themselves.

    2. They DON’T want to help fund the reserve for retired players–even though it is the retired players who helped pave the way–see the 1993 CBA that provided true free agency–out of their slice of the pie.

    3. They DON’T want improved drug testing–testing for HGH.

    You would think that college-educated men would figure out that if the NFL loses 800M from the preseason being cancelled, that loss affects the players–the owners can withstand such a loss–but the players–they’re already complaining about “making financial sacrifices”–in the words of Drew Brees–can they stand for the league to lose that much when it affect their pay and benefits???

  12. It would be real nice if they would just focus on getting a deal done instead.

  13. I bet I can sum up the player’s proposal.

    Fine we’ll take 48 cents on the dollar, you pay for everything else. Excellent negotiation.

    Surpirse, players will go back to court instead of negotiating again.

  14. Won’t happen. No way Nelson lifts the lockout for rookies when the rookie wage scale is a major item in negotiations.

    Important to note this is coming from the NFLPA* lawyers – NOT D-Mo. This seems like a desperation move by the lawyers to keep the litigation process going.

  15. What a bunch of selfish morons. Both of my middle fingers are extended high towards the negotiating room in NYC.

  16. Tick Tock Tick Tock it won’t be long before we all start talking about how many Regular Season Games will be missed before the whole season is gone. De Smith already said that if progress is not made then he was going to file and it’s starting to become clearer that no progress has been made. The owners ultimate goal is to go back to the way the NFL originally was with no salary cap and eventually become like MLB. Time is ticking here as we all hope for a deal but the real power players really know that given the current economy and current revenue sharing with other teams there is no deal to be had even at 48/52 split. They are just letting time go by as slow as possible because if they decided to tell everyone what they really wanted to do they would lose more fans by coming out saying “Hey we are going to cancel this season until we get what we want”. It’s going to be a long dragged out series of events that will eventually have 3-4 different lawsuits out at once while the owners have 11 months to squeeze the players and re-shape the NFL as they see fit…..You heard it here first……

  17. Obvious posturing move on the players part and I can’t see them exercising it unless talks completely broke down.

    Anything “leaked” to the media really isn’t “leaked” and have a very deliberate intention of applying pressure to the other side.

  18. I really don’t care anymore who’s to blame for the whole mess, JUST GET A DAMN DEAL DONE AND PLAY FOOTBALL YOU IDIOTS!!!!!!

  19. qj1984’s idea of compromise is for the owners to “shut the whole damn thing down”? The players aren’t the only ones exercising leverage here. Being obstinate benefits the owners more than the players.

  20. Makes as much sense as politics. “I was for it before I was against it” will now be “I was locked out before I was let in and then locked out.” Amazing that such smart people can be Dumb and Dumber.

  21. As predicted by me and a few others, the clusterfudge is about to happen.

    “but a deal will happen on july 17, er 19, oh I mean Aug something…., just get the deal done…., ”

    So, now I fully expect that PFT will announce that according to sources close to the situation, a deal was made and agreed to on March 3, 2011.

  22. Every source that leaks something is doing it to send a message to the other side. I think someone with the PA said this to tell the owners that they’re ready and willing to fight. I don’t think we will get there though. Goodell said this in 08 when the owners opted out of the CBA..”Often it’s not until you have a deadline that people realize the consequences of not reaching a deal.” Whenever their deadline occurs, I believe both sides will give up on some of their positions and have some last minute breakthroughs. But until the NFL and PA’s deadline occurs, I think every night we’ll hear Albert Breer say the same thing..”it was a tough, frustrating day”, and that’s because neither side will be willing to give up on their position until the last minute when they realize they’re better off cutting a deal than losing $.

  23. So it’s a possibility that Peyton Manning, and all free agents, might be free to sign with any other team prior to the lifting of the lockout? And this is supposed to force the owners hands to settle this deal? Indy would be against this, but who else?

  24. “granadafan says: Jul 14, 2011 11:20 AM

    “lickenkittens says:
    Jul 14, 2011 11:04 AM
    How bout the players just get a deal done? I’m just saying…”


    “Just saying”, it takes two to negotiate. Stop being so simplistic.”

    Duh, but if the players push this issue they could possibly derail the talks. Don’t poke that hornets nest.

  25. I have to say it did cross my mind how individuals who have never been paid a cent to play football (at least not by the NFL, *coughs*… Terrell) can be legally locked out. They aren’t part of the union (whether it exists right now or not) that was locked out.

    But apart from that, we’re now at the point where the players seem to have negotiated, the revenue was the big issue and I think the owners have got their way. Why do they have to drag out this rookie cap issue? If after 4 years you don’t know if your 1st round pick is worth signing to a market level contract then use the franchise tag. If a year later you still don’t know, then you need to fire your GM!

  26. If the lockout did end for rookies and free agents, it seems like that could just mean that teams could speak with them. I don’t think they would be forced to sign them. I’d like to get the rookies in to talk to the coaches.


    Try this scenario on for size:

    The players and the owners have a handshake agreement on all of the free agency and rookie rules. They realize that they still have a week or so of I dotting and T crossing but are eager to begin free agency.

    Now- the owners themselves cannot partially lift the lockout even if they wanted to. Only the court could issue a ruling allowing the partial lifting.

    So maybe the owners have suggested to the players, or vice versa, that the players file this motion to facilitate an earlier start to free agency than would be possible if the process has to run it’s course.

    A stretch? Maybe. Possible? Certainly.

  28. tomsd1 says:
    Good luck. Do you think the rookie – Judge Suzy – wants to get burned twice/overturned by the 8th Ct of Appeals? Methinks not.

    Um…it’s the courts in St. Louis that suggested the non-contract players file suit. And they’ll be the ones to overturn it?

    Good luck.

    And how was the judge in MN “burned”by the appeal? As if she has any personal stake in the matter.

  29. If this happens, I say it is time for the NFL rank and file to grow some new brain and a pair of b@lls, fire Smith, Kessler and the gang. These guys are not working in the players best interest . Drop all existing lawsuits. Fire them all, form a new union, elect either Troy Vincent or Brian Dawkins as director, elect new player reps and get a deal done.

  30. I wish there was more we could realistically do as fans, besides acting like we are done with football for good. We know we will watch and many will continue to pay and attend the game. So really they got us by the footballs. And all we can do is complain here at PFT comment sections. But at least we can get it out of our systems I guess.

  31. this is nothing but crap, we cant let the owners get a one up on us and vice versa..
    stop, rationalize and stop worrying who is getting the better of who and close the deal-youve agreed on almost everything now including the biggest thing that caused the lockout in the 1st place–stop saying weve given up too much and now its the owners turn or we arent budging-
    i used to side with the players but now im tired of both sides acting like children, its a joke
    if the players do whats mentioned in this article then everything will blow up and whats agreed upon will be taken off the smith/roger g.
    -take contrtol of this, stop listening to the lawyers,the objectives that they have arent the same as yours..
    im done with the league if the players try to pull a move like this..we are so close..

  32. Deeper and deeper the hole is being dug by the “Assoc.” lawyers. Guess who owns the rescue company the players will need to hire to get out of this rat hole they have created. Their very own mouthpiece. Billable hours for all the fast talkers who talked them into this mess.

  33. Of course the union is considering going to court AGAIN,that is all D. Smith (the head lawyer),knows how to do. Hire a litigator as your union chief and you put the whole process in the lawyers hands and they put it all in the courts hands,and nothing ever gets done !
    Walk out of talks, phoney decertification,sue for everything under the sun to ruin the League and first and foremost,make sure the lawyers are getting lots of billable hours so they can make millions of dollars off all the delays !
    Man do they miss Gene Upshaw !!!

  34. Just when you folks thought it was safe to back into the water, one of the great white sharks, dressed in business suit, found a way to screw the whole mess. Kessler should be very carefull. Who can afford a year long lockout and who cant ? Kessler seeing a billion dollar payday for himself, in attorney fees, has found another way to skin a cat. This is going to get real ugly, real fast. Forget July 17th.
    Are you ready for some arena football ? ;-0

  35. jw731 says: Jul 14, 2011 11:00 AM

    9 billion and growing….

    UMMMM, more like 9 billion and shinking very day this CRAP lasts longer!

    I for one, have made a annual trip to at least one game for about a decade, NO LONGER!!! Not this year and not next either!

    Yes, I’ll watch on TV, but Screw you Roger GOD-ell and you greedy ass players!!!

  36. I am starting to think that it wouldn’t be all bad to just punish the union and players for all their delaying nonsense,by cancelling the season.
    One good thing that would come out of it is that Alex smith would not get another year starting for the Niners if there were no season in 2011 and they didn’t get a new CBA until next Feb or so !!!

  37. TIM says:
    Of course the union is considering going to court AGAIN,that is all D. Smith (the head lawyer),knows how to do. Hire a litigator as your union chief and you put the whole process in the lawyers hands and they put it all in the courts hands,and nothing ever gets done !
    Walk out of talks, phoney decertification,sue for everything under the sun to ruin the League and first and foremost,make sure the lawyers are getting lots of billable hours so they can make millions of dollars off all the delays !
    Man do they miss Gene Upshaw !!!

    I love how a report that the players might be considering something can whip certain people up into a frenzy.

    For practical purposes, the players should have filed the injunction last Friday, as soon as the St. Louis ruling was rendered.

  38. the owners should just do what other major US corporations do: lay them all off and find replacements for pennies on the dollar in India, China, etc. and then beg for huge tax breaks

  39. bearskoolaid1985 says:
    Looks like Kessler AKA tommyf15 has found another way to kill the talks and to help him in his quest to KILL THE NFL.

    Dear Lord…another childish poster that wants to play pretend games.

    For the adults in the room…if you’re Peyton Manning, wouldn’t you instruct your attorney to get that injunction filed NOW NOW NOW so that in the event the judge rules in his favor he can not only become a free agent and be able to negotiate with all 32 teams, without the Colts being able to put the franchise tag on him?

    This is me being critical of Manning and his advisors. They should have already done this.

  40. OMG!!! How anyone can think this is a good thing and means a deal is close checked their brains at the blogging door. Nothing, and I mean nothing good can come out of this. In fact, if they go through with this you can guarantee the owners really get tough and things break down. Again, I care less about Pre Season and hope it’s canned altogether, but it would be nice to have a regular season, this would probably end that.

  41. Albert Breer says:

    Will say that I think once the rookie wage issue is solved, there is hope the sides can capitalize on the momentum, start pushing to a deal.

  42. purpleman527 says:
    Jul 14, 2011 12:15 PM
    Hey phantomstranger,

    The all star break is over and its July 15 tomorrow.

    Do you still think a deal is done by tomorrow?

    Nope, but I just made a prediction, I never guaranteed it. Do you still think a deal won’t be done until September? Let’s see which one of us is closer.

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