Wednesday it became known that Judge Nelson denied the NFL request for a stay of the injunction she ordered to lift the lockout. Technically, this means that the league s required to begin its new calendar year. This would mean that now, on draft day, teams should be able to negotiate with and sign players to new contracts. It would allow communication between coaches and players. More importantly, it would allow players to be moved in trades.
However, Judge Nelson's ruling stipulated "nothing in this Court's Order obligates the NFL to even enter into any contract with the Players." So, the league us required to end the lockout, but there is no guidance as to the rules of operation. Except that there are rules -- don't do anything that would get you sued. Basically, free agency has to start, but no one has to sign anybody.
As expected, the league has filed an appeal with the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals to attempt to reverse Judge Nelson's ruling. Going along with that, the NFL has state that it would advise the teams what to do Thursday morning.
The league has to be careful. To come out and tell the teams to collectively not sign any players is collusion and a violation of antitrust laws.
It is also unknown if anybody, players or executives would want to sign a contract under the current circumstances.
Technically, draft day trades that also include players should be able to happen, but with things being the way they are, I would not expect a single thing other than the draft to happen.
For Cardinals fans, that means sit tight and relax. Don't expect that Kevin Kolb/Kyle Orton/Carson Palmer trade today. Expect the status quo -- the draft. Beyond that -- contract extensions, free agent signings, etc. -- it looks like it will be unlikely that will happen.