The issues surrounding the Collective Bargaining Agreement tends to appear trivial to fans like us; who bust our hump everyday just to make ends meet. But the reality is that the issues are also what's causing the divide between the players and league. Players want a larger piece of the pie while owners want to give players even less than what they had before. There's the issue of making more money by adding two regular seasons games, a rookie wage scale and post-career health coverage. Offensive tackle, Andrew Whitworth, is the Bengals' players representative. How does he view the issues with CBA negotiations?
"It seems like they want to go down the road that the NHL went down. A lockout and no communication allowed between the teams and players. If you don't want to meet, that would seem to say you want a lockout. There have been two years of hard stances. Now's the time to talk. There's no reason not to talk."
The appearance is not far from Whitworth's perspective. The owners stormed out, after the player's provided a proposal, without a counter-offer. It almost appeared as if the league was protesting the union's demands, but publicly walking out of the talks in the hopes that the mob (fans, media, etc..) will see that the league views the union as completely unreasonable. In the end, it was the league that appeared foolish, as if they want to lock the players out. And that will not sit well with the mob.
Owners have two dates in mind to get a resolution completed. March 4, when the existing CBA expires and September, when league could lose regular season games (cha-cha-cha-cha-ching). All the while fans are increasingly aware of the seriousness that the league and player's union could be headed towards a prolonged split.
The NFL Draft and all of its activities, as of this posting, are still safe, even though top player agents and the union has discussed boycotting draft activities and events. Something we feel is unlikely. However, once the draft is over, we'll virtually be at a standstill.