While draftniks and bloggers sit around toying with mock drafts and potential free agent signings, the football world braces for a long, painful work stoppage.
A work stoppage means a news stoppage. Once the Super Bowl is over, the only news football fans are going to hear - that has any basis in fact - will be regarding the negotiations.
A new CBA will have to be in place before any team dares to sign a high or medium priced free-agent. With no salary cap in place, teams will not know how much money they have to spend. Plus, no agent worth his salt would let his client sign a deal without knowing the top and bottom of the market.
The owners want some revenue points back. It is believed they want as much as five percent back from the players.
The players are not willing to give a penny back to the owners. The resolution will be a compromise that will satisfy both.
The owners will get some sort of concession from the union. The players will walk away with their pound of flesh as well. In exchange for points off the revenue pie, the union could force the teams to increase the salary cap ceiling, expand rosters, revamp IR rules and eliminate restricted free agency.
The two will agree on a rookie salary cap. Unions always sell out the unborn, so this is a given. They will also agree on an 18-game season format to begin in 2012 or 2013.
If the agreement works out as above, the market will be flooded with a ton of unrestricted free agents. That will alter everyone's off-season shopping lists. If it happens before the draft, it will change the complexion of the draft.
If it doesn't, the draft will change the complexion of everyone's free-agent plans.
The consensus believes the deal will not be done by the draft. This means that this summer will be a free-for-all the likes we haven't seen in this league in awhile. Players and teams will be scrambling like shoppers on Christmas Eve.
That is the way I see this playing out. I'll take questions / comments on this...