NFL should open for business but ...

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  • April 27, 2011 - 10:08 PM

Star Tribune NFL writer Mark Craig will have much more on this situation, but just wanted to give a quick update for those who have heard about U.S. District Judge Susan Nelson's ruling Wednesday that denied the NFL's request for a stay on the injunction that ended the lockout on Monday. 

Technically, this means the NFL's new league year should begin and we should have free agency, player trades, contract extensions and all that good stuff. The only problem is what technically should happen and what will happen are very different.

Andrew Brandt, a former executive with the Green Bay Packers and now an NFL business analyst for ESPN, posted this on his Twitter account: "[I] hate to dash hope for signings and trades right away, but [I] don't think NFL opens for business until 8th Circuit says they have to."

That is the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Louis and that is where we are headed as the league not only tries to get a "stay" but also a different ruling than the one Nelson handed down. If the 8th Circuit sides with Nelson, then there is a real chance the NFL will have to open back up for business. (It sounds like the 8th Circuit could rule on this issue next week.)

But there are still big problems with that scenario. The NFL could go back to the 2010 collective bargaining agreement -- something the owners don't want to see happen -- but there are many players who also won't be happy.

Honestly, however, it might be the best thing for the Vikings.

If the 2010 CBA is put back into operation and the league is forced to get back to business, the Vikings could not only hold two mandatory minicamps (they get an extra one because Leslie Frazier is a new coach), but also start their offseason program. There would be no more worries about drafting a quarterback and not getting enough time with him.

There also would be almost no worries about losing wide receiver Sidney Rice or defensive end Ray Edwards.

Keep in mind, last year's CBA had no salary cap and no unrestricted free agency until a player had six years of service. Rice and Edwards were expecting to be unrestricted free agents with a new CBA. Without a new labor agreement, they will be restricted again and there is little chance any team would sign them to an offer sheet since both received first-round tender offers.


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