While the NFL lockout appeared to be flying towards an ending it was easy to forget that the 8th District Court was still waiting to release a decision on the appeal of Judge Susan Nelson's ruling that the NFL lockout was illegal. Of course, the other reason that was easy to forget is that by all accounts they were going to allow the lockout to continue.
And they did. The timing seems a little odd as it the two sides have been reported to making so much progress. But they worded the decision so as not to upset the balance of power. Because while the lockout can continue, if it does the owners will still be vulnerable in a law suit.
They did that by not ruling on the merits of the NFLPA decertifying. So, let's just say there is no 2011 season, the owners would likely be facing a $12 billion lawsuit.
The owners and NFLPA vowed to not let this decision effect the negotiations. They released this joint statement found on ESPN:
"While we respect the court's decision, today's ruling does not change our mutual recognition that this matter must be resolved through negotiation," the league and NFLPA said in a joint statement. "We are committed to our current discussions and reaching a fair agreement that will benefit all parties for years to come, and allow for a full 2011 season."
Despite all of this it is widely reported that little progress was made today, and the negotiations will go on hold for the weekend.
The biggest source of disagreement appears to be the right of first refusal clause in free agency that would apply to players with five and six years of service. The owners want it and the players don't.
I think the owners just need to drop this. Let's say this applied to the Raiders. Let's just say for hypothetical purposes—because I don't think this would happen—that the Saints and Raiders offered Zach Miller the same contract. If Miller would rather play for the Saints than good riddance. Don't let the door hit you in the ass on the way out.
I don't want players on the Raiders that are here reluctantly.