News came down late last week that the NFL owners were leaning towards opting out of the current Collective Bargaining Agreement as early as tomorrow. The owners would only need 9 votes to opt out early, which would take effect in 2011 instead of 2013. The owners have until November 8th to opt out of the current deal early but word is that they might do it early to avoid taking focus away from the regular season and give them a head start on working towards a new deal. So what does all this mean? Well here are the highlights of changes that could happen if a new deal isn't reached:
- The 2008 & 2009 NFL seasons will be played with no significant changes.
- The 2010 season would be an 'uncapped' season and unrestricted free agency for players would increase from four to six years.
- The NFL Draft would not exist after 2011.
Basically all hell would break loose in the National Football League by 2011 if a deal isn't reached. The genius of the system though is that the consequences are so drastic in order to motivate both sides to reach a new deal. Gene Upshaw, NFLPA exective director, is already throwing out crazy talk of 'lockouts' and 'strikes,' but, at least in my opinion, both sides have too much to lose to risk anything like that. The NFL is by far the most popular and profitable sporting empire and I can't imagine a scenario where either side would threaten to ruin that.