SPORTS w/The Jock 7-21-11

by Tom Weppel
NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE
Assuming things will finally get settled and agreed upon between all the parties involved in this NFL lockout, look for there to be absolute and utter complete CHAOS to ensue!
I say that as an observer and borderline prognosticator! (thank you very much!)
Seriously, though…if you look at this whole mess that has taken place, we’re talking about a situation here where everything that usually happens over the course of about four months…from unrestricted free agency signings, to signing draft choices to contracts, to off-season workouts…even signing rookie free agents to fill team rosters…everything the League normally does within these past four months will now take place in the span of about three weeks!
My guess is that it is virtually impossible for that to happen. You simply cannot tell me that every team will have the manpower to do the following:
a) try and sign free agents that played for their team last year.
b) get all rookies, including draft picks and free agents, signed to deals, then brought into camp up to speed and ready to go (without previous exposure to the team playbooks).
c) try to get unrestricted free agents they might’ve wanted previously on a ‘wish list’, signed, then working, all within the aspects of the new CBA.
d) squeeze the off-season, including OTA’s, mini-camps, and weight training, into a couple of weeks, on top of all the training camp fare!
e) be up to speed and ready to go for the first week of exhibition games in August.
I’m sure I haven’t covered it all, but I think by now you get the point I’ve tried to make here. The bottom line, like I said before, is that I’d be shocked if all teams can take care of all this business within the time frame they are trying desperately to establish.
My guess is that more than half of all NFL players will not even have taken the time to look over the aspects of the new Collective Bargaining agreement which has been drawn up. They might not even know what can and cannot be done. They probably don’t know how much will be shared, and at what percentages, between themselves and the NFL owners.
I would even be willing to guess that a number of NFL owners haven’t taken the time to look over the new CBA. I’m sure a lot of them are much more concerned about getting everything up to speed and ready to go so that everything is in place for the first pre-season games! That’s because THAT is when they start making THEIR money!
And isn’t that what this is all about, anyway? Guess we’ll see what shakes out…should be fun.
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What I CAN tell you is that for me personally, as part of the mainstream Media, this should be an absolute joy to cover and observe! I will without a doubt have plenty to stay in tune with.
One of the main areas that will receive considerable attention will be what players will be signed by which teams. Normally this all happens in March, before the Draft. Now here we are in late July and early August. All these guys have had a Summer without a contract, and without a team (a/k/a employer!)…
Here are just a few of the names that will garner attention, without question…
QB Matt Hasselbeck/SEA, RB Ricky Williams/MIA, RB Cedric Benson/CIN, WR Randy Moss/TN, WR Terrell Owens/CIN, WR Braylon Edwards/NYJ, WR Mark Clayton/STL, DE Shaun Ellis/NYJ, DT Pat Williams/MIN, LB Mike Peterson/ATL, LB Takeo Spikes/SF, CB Ike Taylor/PIT, CB Lito Sheppard/MIN, S Lawyer Milloy/SEA
Those are just a few of the couple of hundred guys available on the open market to teams, who may or may not be looking to bolster their rosters. There should be a flurry of wheeling and dealing, to say the least.
While teams will focus on certain players, they also will be doing their best to get deals done with their draft picks so they can get them into Camp as well. Every season, we usually have holdouts, mainly first-rounders. I’ll be curious to see how those deals evolve this year.
All that said, get ready for a ton of happenings with your favorite NFL teams!

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