I can't believe it has actually come to this. I guess I gave the owners and players too much credit in thinking that they couldn't possibly be dumb enough to shut down the NFL. But here we are. And both sides are to blame. The player's have some demands that are bordering on outrageous. The owners seemed to wait until the last minute to make a real offer to the players before the negotiating stopped on Friday.
At this point I am just pissed off. I know the "experts" keep telling us that nothing has really happened until regular season games are jeopardized. The "experts" are wrong.
Free agency was supposed to be well under way at this point. Offseason workouts should be under way. Young players should be building up their strength and size. Players with injuries are no longer working with the team medical staffs to rehab. New coaches are supposed to be meeting with their players to start teaching them the new systems.
ESPN and the rest of the "experts" can say that a delayed free agency doesn't hurt anything. But that is flat out wrong. The entire offseason dynamic changes if the teams don't get to address roster needs prior to the draft. I have a hard time believing the Cowboys wouldn't change their draft plans if they were able to sign a veteran safety prior to the draft. Free agency getting delayed until after the draft is a very big deal.
Players like Dez Bryant who aren't fully recovered from injuries during the season or offseason surgeries are on their own in their rehab. While some guys are driven to get themselves back into top shape there are players who need the push from the training staff to recover. I have no doubt that Dez will be working hard but there are guys who will only do what is required of them.
Any team with major coaching changes are put at a huge disadvantage the longer the lockout continues. Rob Ryan was able to meet with several of the Cowboys players prior to the lockout to get a head start but imagine how much more prepared the defense would be for training camp if the entire defense was installed over the summer.
There have to be free agents who are quietly steaming about the actions of the NFLPA in these negotiations. About 500 players were set to hit the free agent market. How many of them were counting on the signing bonuses that usually come with a new contract? That certainly gives the owners some leverage. It is just a matter of time until we hear players complaining about the situation they are in.
This is the most disappointed I have ever been in both the players and the owners. The owners say they want to get back to negotiating. The players haven't been willing to get back to the table at this point. That is absurd. Turning this thing into a legal battle in the courts could drag it out for months. Both sides need put their giant egos aside, sit back down at the negotiating table, and work out a deal.
It is sad that the owners and players both seem to have forgotten who supplies the $9 billion they are fighting over. It is the fans who make the game so profitable. They wouldn't get huge TV deals if the fans weren't watching. We are blindly pay the outrageous ticket prices. And we buy our favorite team's gear so we can proudly show our allegiance to our team. That seems to have been lost in all of this.
The longer both sides force this thing to drag out the more money they are costing themselves.