No NFL agreement until at least next week

Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, one of the high-profile plaintiffs in players' anti-trust lawsuit,...

Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, one of the high-profile plaintiffs in players' anti-trust lawsuit, talks last season with New England owner Robert Kraft. Kraft's wife, Myra, died recently and the players wouldn't comment yesterday 'out of respect.' (REUTERS FILES)

RYAN WOLSTAT, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:04 PM ET

Friday was supposed to be a happy day for NFL fans. A week ago, it seemed almost guaranteed that the lockout would be over. Now, nobody really knows.

The NFL Players’ Association declined to say much on Friday other than that the union bosses were discussing the latest proposal. NFLPA President Kevin Mawae declined to say anything else “out of respect for the Kraft family,” which was mourning the death of Myra Kraft, the wife of New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft.

What do we know? The NFL owners have been charitable enough — at least they appear to see it that way — to agree to their own deal (by a vote of 31-0 with the Oakland Raiders abstaining because they didn’t like the economics of the pact). The NFLPA is annoyed that the owners ratified the deal allegedly before they even saw it and the NFLPA doesn’t plan to vote on the deal until Monday. At the earliest.

There have been whispers that the not-until-Monday talk is posturing, but with the proposed deal binding for 10 years with no opt-out allowed, the players aren’t about to jump in line to get this done quickly. They will take a good, long look at it.

So much for the wild and wackiest free agency period ever kicking off on Monday.

So much for teams being able to re-sign their own free agents on Saturday, as they had been anticipating for over a week.

So much for the Hall of Fame Game, which has already been canned.

And soon, the pre-season starts getting obliterated from the map.

If a deal isn’t reached by Wednesday, the first week of the pre-season could be eliminated because the warring factions previously had agreed that there would be a mandatory 15-day reporting date before any pre-season games and ESPN reports nothing has changed on that front.

Before a deal can be done, all 32 team representatives must vote in favour of accepting it and the high-profile plaintiffs in the players’ antitrust suit — including Peyton Manning and Tom Brady — must also voice their approval.

Only then would the rest of the players vote to bring back the union, which decertified in mid-March.

The owners’ proposal allows the player to have next Wednesday, Thursday and Friday to try to counter-bargain in any changes. The owners would then have to accept the alterations or keep things status quo.

PUSHBACK

A bunch of players stood up and responded to the way the owners handled themselves in accepting their own deal.

Outspoken wide receiver Chad Ochocinco tweeted: “Smart move by the owners to gain positive public perception and pressure the players into a bad deal shifting the negativity on us #kudos”

New Orleans Saints fullback Heath Evans tweeted: “The owners tried 2 slip many things n2 the CBA ‘they’ voted on that were NEVER agreed 2! #PRPlay”

Various owners and CEOs denied any wrongdoing.

SHAME GAME

Canton, Ohio won’t have a game to go with the Pro Football Hall of Fame enshrinement for the first time since 1966.

The Chicago Bears and St. Louis Rams were supposed to square off on Aug. 7, the day after Deion Sanders, Marshall Faulk, Shannon Sharpe, Chris Hanburger, Richard Dent enter the Hall.

According to reports, the Hall will lose $1.5 million U.S. of its $20 million operating budget due to the cancellation.

The game was first played in 1962 and few expected it to be called off this year, despite the labour issues facing the league.

QUICK HITS

Former New York Jets wide receiver Braylon Edwards, a coveted free agent to be, pleaded guilty to driving while intoxicated but should avoid jail time and probation. Edwards will only pay a fine and stay in the NFL’s alcohol counselling program and gets a six-month suspension of his driver’s licence. It is unclear if he will be suspended by the league. He might face jail time in Ohio, though, because he was on probation for another arrest at a nightclub in Cleveland ... Most of the Patriots attended the funeral for Kraft, as well as former Patriots like Drew Bledsoe and Curtis Martin ... According to the NFL Network, top pick Cam Newton of the Carolina Panthers will make about $22 million US over the first four years of his contract and $36 million over five if his option is picked up. Lowering the salaries of rookies was a key part of the owner’s demands. By contrast, last year’s top pick, Sam Bradford of the St. Louis Rams, inked a six-year, $78-million deal with $50 million guaranteed. Oakland Raiders bust JaMarcus Russell got $32 million of his six-year, $61-million deal ... According to Profootballtalk.com, teams would have an extra $6.5 million to spend over the 2011 salary cap of $120.375 million. Up to $3 million of that can be “borrowed from a future salary cap. The amount that can be “borrowed” will shrink to $1.5 million in 2012 ... The Baltimore Sun informs us that Ravens fans shouldn’t expect to see dates and times of games on their tickets. The team said it wasn’t sure when the lockout would end and preferred to have no dates than the wrong ones, should dates of games change.


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