Save for free agency that tends to only involve a handful of major names mixed with the majority of free agent movers that are largely considered contributor players, it still seems that nothing is wrong with the NFL's labor peace. With the NFL Draft coming up in a month, scouts and coaches are visiting college campuses. The NFL Draft will happen and we highly doubt the union will convince prospects to boycott the draft -- a free ride to New York on the NFL's dime and getting on television? OTAs and general offseason stories that would appear on these pages aren't due yet. The reminder of a labor disruption comes from the occasional SportsCenter update (when they're not involved with March Madness) or NFL Live analysis about the lockout. We know the lockout exists. We know it's in full affect. But all we've missed so far is free agency. And from the Bengals perspective, that might be a good thing because right now we could be talking about the impact of Johnathan Joseph signing with a new team.
But as long as the lockout continues, things will disappear as the two sides refuse to deal. Preseason games could be threatened. Preseason games, who cares? The team needs those games, especially with the high turnover in personnel this team could go through. Regular season games could be threatened too. Removed from our daily autumn and winter Sunday routine will cause fans to push back. Owners. They're wrong. Players. They're wrong.
That being said, the Bengals organization is asking for patience.
Ownership made a number of significant concessions in the mediation process that went on until last Friday, and though the purpose of this message is not to score debating points, we feel compelled to state to you our sincere belief that the players walked away from a very generous offer. It didn’t ask veteran players to take a step back financially, and it offered things that were important monetarily to retired players.
But labor negotiations in the NFL have gone through ups and downs over the years, and at some point the differences are resolved and the sides get back together. This one will be no different. We just need to get back to negotiations.
Though we hesitate to ask anything from fans at this point, we will request just a bit of your patience. The issues are complex, the calendar does give us a bit of time, and we want to get it done right. We realize the importance of staying in direct contact with you, and through our web site, public relations department and other means, we will do just that.