Everyone’s favorite dynamic duo, NFLPA representative and loudmouth DeMaurice Smith and NFL Commissioner and owner apologist Roger Goodell now appear to be the best of buds.
As much as a Muppet (Smith seriously looks like a Mupper) and a puppet (sometimes I think I can actually see strings attached to Goodell’s shoulders) can be buds. What is even more mind boggling is that a Muppet IS a puppet.
Think about that and try not to go cross-eyed.
Um, anyway, the reason for this post is because it would appear the NFL and the layers may be getting closer to a deal. We got word this week that the sides have committed to four days of talks instead of their usual two. Then we found out that the players and owners are out of the room and that it is just Goodell, Smith and a bunch of lawyers meeting in Minnesota. The Minnesota courts have jurisdiction over the CBA and will have to approve a settlement of the Anti-Trust lawsuit the players have filed against the owners. Logic tells us, although we can’t confirm it, that the meetings are taking place in Minnesota so that once a deal is reached, the necessary legal documents and forms and other boring stuff can be filed right away so that the NFL can get back in business as soon as is possible.
The other good sign is that Roger Goodell and Smith traveled to Florida Tuesday so that Goodell could speak to the NFL rookies at the NFLPA sponsored Rookie Symposium. The NFL usually holds a symposium for rookies during the offseason in order to help them get acclimated to NFL life. The event usually features a number of speakers and informational sessions. This year, however, the symposium was canceled because of the lockout. The fact that Goodell is speaking at this event sponsored by the players pretty much indicates that the league approves of the meetings which Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk points out would be unlikely if the sides weren’t closing in on an agreement.
The duo is expected to return to Minnesota this afternoon to continue talks. There is growing urgency for the sides to get a deal struck just before or right after the 4th of July holiday weekend. Time is running out as teams will need to prepare for their training camps which are suppose to kick off at the end of July. Before then GM’s will need to negotiate and sign their rookies and free agents, as well as make moves in what will likely be the most hectic free agency period ever.
My guess is that we won’t hear any good news until after the July 4th weekend but hope springs eternal so maybe we’ll get word that an agreement in principle has been reached before we all head off for a weekend of hamburgers, hot dogs and PBR.
Let’s just hope those folks pulling the strings on the Muppet and the Puppet don’t mess things up in the homestretch.