Despite a widespread belief, fueled by reports of an e-mail setting a Monday meeting that apparently never was sent, that the players are delaying this thing for the weekend because they can, the truth is that the two sides continue to quietly work toward striking a deal that many believe is inevitable.
Ravens cornerback and NFLPA* Executive Committee member Domonique Foxworth, who deserves $10 million far more than Logan Mankins or Vincent Jackson for the work that Foxworth has done to get this deal in place, has declared on Twitter that everything is happening by phone today. Michael Lombardi of NFL Network reports that the owners will have a conference call today to discuss the situation. Multiple reports, including one from Albert Breer of NFL Network and one from Adam Schefter of ESPN, indicate that the 10 named plaintiffs in the Brady case are getting out of the way.
The most daunting hurdle, apart from the players’ 12th-hour, seven-year opt-out request, is the process by which the NFLPA* will drop its asterisk and become a union again. Setting aside for now the question of whether the players should do it their way or the way the league wants them to do it, both sides are at fault for not preparing for this moment.
“It’s like putting a man on the moon and worrying about how he’ll get back after he gets there,” one league source said earlier today.
And that’s an indictment on both parties. Maybe it’s a consequence of kicking the lawyers out of the room. Maybe the principals instead should have demanded that the lawyers, once kicked out of the room, get together and come up with an agreed flow chart for settling the claims and striking a new labor deal and reconstituting the union.
It’s hard not to point to the lack of urgency in May and June, once the parties realized that the time had come to start talking, as one of the primary causes of the current predicament. Two days per week ultimately weren’t enough, and now that the plane is supposed to be landing, the pilots are circling the runway trying to figure out how in the hell to put the wheels down.
For two supposedly sophisticated parties poised to do a deal that, over time, will kick out well over $100 billion dollars, it’s worse than disappointing.