NFL News and Notes July 7th
The clock is ticking for the NFL league owners and its players to come up with a new CBA (collective bargaining agreement) over the next few days to avoid any disruption to the 2011 season. The owner-imposed lock-out of the players has entered its fourth month and unless a new agreement is reached by the middle of this month, there is a good chance that the start of summer training camps would have to be delayed and preseason games would be lost.
If that is allowed to that happen, both the owners and players will start to lose money, so the general consensus is that both sides will continue to negotiate in good-faith to arrive at an equitable solution. The most optimistic scenario has this whole mess getting resolved by the end of the week as the lawyers continue to pore over the details of the newly proposed CBA, but given the way the situation has dragged on, do not be surprised if things come down to an eleventh hour settlement next Friday, July 15.
When a new CBA is finally in place, one of the biggest tasks at hand for teams will be to try and cram four months of free agency into about two weeks as there were a number of players without a contract when the lockout began at the end of March as well as a number of un-drafted rookies available after April’s draft. There has been rampant speculation as to where some of the more high-profile players such as CB Nnamdi Asomugha (Raiders), WR Randy Moss (Titans) RB Cedric Benson (Bengals), and DE Marcus Spears (Cowboys) might end up playing this season, but the reality is that there are quite a few quality players that are currently available and more than capable of making an immediate impact for a new team. The odds makers will be tasked with calculating the impact of all these moves on the current ‘futures’ odds as well as the Week 1 lines that have already been released.
The list of free agents could grow even larger depending on the final eligibility rules in the new CBA. The past two seasons a player needed six years in the league to become an unrestricted free agent, but the new agreement could very well revert back to the original term of four. There are also a few veteran QB’s who appear ready to part ways with their current team and could end on the market once the wheeling and dealing begins, such as Donovan McNabb (Redskins) and Matt Hasselbeck (Seattle).
Whatever the case, the next few weeks in the NFL are shaping up to be some of the wildest in league history as 32 teams try and get their house in order to hit the ground running once the league reopens for business. The teams that can get up to speed the quickest will have a huge advantage over the ones with multiple personnel issues especially at the quarterback position.
It is little wonder that Bodog.com has New England (Tom Brady) and Green Bay (Aaron Rogers) as the co-favorite to win the Super Bowl this season at 7/1. San Diego (Phillip Rivers) is next at 11/1 followed by Pittsburgh (Ben Roethlisberger) at 12/1. The team with the best odds to win it all that does not have an established starter at quarterback heading into this season is Minnesota at 25/1.
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