8

July

NFL Free Agency Begins – 8th Circuit Court Rules In Owners’ Favor

In a decision that most expected but at a time that surprised many, the US 8th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of NFL ownership in the ongoing legal dispute that the lockout has become.

True to their word, however, the ruling was one that neither side really will like.  While they won the case, the court ruled that free agents are not eligible to be locked out due to no employer/employee relationship.

What that means is that free agency can finally begin.  While players under contract remain locked out, players whose contracts had expired (like Cullen Jenkins and many others) cannot be locked out and can begin visiting with other teams as soon as a hearing is held regarding the matter.

Despite this ruling, both the players and owners continue to negotiate.  With word coming out about a potential deal being reached in the next few days, there is no doubt many fans are concerned about this ruling giving all the leverage to the owners.

While that definitely is the case, the more ‘moderate’ owners have taken charge of the negotiations with people like Jerry Jones of the Dallas Cowboys being held in check.

It remains unclear if this ruling with break Jones out of his cage, but with the deals still so fragile yet a deal oh-so-close, it would be in NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell’s best interest to not let this be a distraction

Time of course is beginning to play a big factor in these negotiations.  Teams are scheduled to begin training camp in a few weeks and the first preseason games are roughly a month away.

The clock is ticking. And the fans are watching (and stewing).

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Kris Burke is a sports writer covering the Green Bay Packers for AllGreenBayPackers.com and WTMJ in Milwaukee. He is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA) and his work has been linked to by sites such as National Football Post and CBSSports.com. Follow @KrisLBurke

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One Response to “NFL Free Agency Begins – 8th Circuit Court Rules In Owners’ Favor”

  1. Ron LC says:

    Maybe this will be the nudge that gets things moving to a successful conclusion.

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