Looming Lockout?

I’m excited about the 2010 season.

It could be due to the fact that my 2009 fantasy campaign across all my teams was one that I could never expect  to replicated again.

It could be simply because before the season begins, the upcoming year holds so much promise for all of us.

I fully understand that most of us probably consider ourselves experts in our own minds, but that oblong ball of luck still needs to bounce in the right direction for us . In most cases we just aren’t in control of that aspect of the game.   Past success or not, the new season begets an amount of enthusiasm that I welcome every year.

This year though, I find that there is a nagging, persistent, weight dampening my excitement.  A little further introspection finds that the potential 2011 NFL stoppage is causing me a surprising level of concern.

On one hand, I’m certain in my belief that both sides understand the nature of what is at stake and the golden goose that they are in possession of.

On the other hand are the egos of two very stubborn and self-asbsorbed sides, joined by the great game that we all enjoy, but firm in the foundations of their own ideals that are likely to culminate into an epic battle over, primarily, money.

I want to believe the ghosts of the 1987 NFL strike have not been entirely banished or forgotten.  I have to believe that the resulting damage of the 1994-95 MLB strike provides a frame of reference for those at the heart of the current ongoing negotiations.  I absolutely believe that this, at best, is going down to the wire.

You have your choice of issues this time around including revenue sharing, pension benefits, 18-game schedules and rookie salary cap consideration. These are just a few of the litany of issues up for discussion over the next year.

While some of these have already been addressed in the current Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA), they remain topics of discussion going forward and points of conflict that further erode the relationship between the owners and the NFL Players Association (NFLPA).  Much ground needs to be covered before March 5th, 2011 (expiration of the current CBA). Note that, as an item within the existing CBA, a lockout or strike cannot not occur before this date.

The 2010 uncapped year affected many would-be unrestricted free agents (UFA) in previous months.  By design, the termination of the existing CBA allowed for teams to retain these scheduled UFA’s through the course of the normal restricted free agent (RFA) tender designations.  While perfectly acceptable by design, a significant number of players now harbor further resentment towards ownership over what they consider to be an unfair issue.

The two sides must come to some sort of agreement or common ground before we can hope to retain our favorite past-time in 2011.  While the owners may not elect to lock out the players in 2011, by forcing what the players see as “unfair” business practices, the NFLPA may determine that a strike is necessary. Should that come to pass, the 2011 season could easily become a modern-day 1987.

No one wins and NFL fans are the ultimate losers.

As much as I would like to hide behind the easy phrases of “they won’t …. ” and “they wouldn’t….,” the politics and emotions of these negotiations, as well as the results from them, are no different than any other labor negotiation.  Egos, money and ideals are on full display with little real consideration of the ultimate end-result should a stoppage occur – at least beyond the almighty wallet.  It will be all too easy for each side to hold the other culpable for a stoppage and the war for public support to be fought in the media towards securing the final advantage in the court of popular opinion.

What does this all mean for you, the dynasty fantasy football coach?

  1. Regardless of the positive statements we are hearing, the 2011 season is very much in jeopardy
  2. You absolutely must consider this 2011 possibility in 2010, especially as it relates to aging players, trades, and contract periods
  3. You must prepare for a greater degree of player movement after a new agreement is reached
  4. As a commissioner (or player) in a dynasty league, how will your league handle a partial or full-year lockout with respect to the rookie pool and draft picks
  5. As a commissioner, consider the possibilities of a prolonged stoppage and the effects on rosters and your free agent market.  You may want to consider freezing rosters after the Super Bowl until a new agreement is in place.
  6. As a commissioner, consider a moratorium on player/pick trades until a new agreement is reached.
  7. You should invest heavily in psychiatric counseling services because there will be a lot of NFL-related symptomatic depression that results.

Whether a casual NFL fan or a dynasty fantasy coach, any level of NFL stoppage is a hard thing to comprehend or imagine.  As hard-core fans, many of us exist year-to-year bridged only by that period of time known as the off-season.  Much of the allure of the dynasty format is that there is no off-season but, instead, only an extension of the end of regular season to the beginning of the next, filled wtih events such as the NFL Combine, Rookie Draft, OTAs, Training Camp and the preseason.

The thought of going without, if even for a short time, is not a pleasant one.

Let’s hope that our representing owners and NFLPA representatives understand the big picture and what is at stake, not leaving out of the equation perhaps the largest variable in the discussions that are to take place over the next year – us!

Until then, any takers for Brett Favre?  Will take a 2012 pick in return.  Surely he won’t still be playing …

Will he?

Jeff Haverlack

Jeff Haverlack

Senior Partner / COO at Dynasty League Football
Husband and father who devotes far too much time to Fantasy Football, research, statistics and content development.We created DLF to ultimately assemble the largest fantasy football community on the planet and want YOU to be a part of it.

You can find Jeff on Twitter at @dlf_jeff
Jeff Haverlack

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  1. Farhan

    August 28, 2010 at 2:07 pm

    Will there be a rookie draft next year if there is a lockout?

  2. Dlf_JeffH

    August 28, 2010 at 2:14 pm

    Yes, there should be either way.

  3. Eric

    August 28, 2010 at 10:15 pm

    You bring up a good point here and I have a very important question in regards to the lockout.. What would happen with a rookie draft next year? If there is no agreement it is my understanding that there would in turn be no NFL Draft. Now for a commish in a league as well as a guy who owns 4 first round picks in the 2011 rookie draft. Any suggestions as to how leagues should go about this? Would you just push everything back a year? Some people are complaining about that because it would in turn be a “double draft” with talent from both 2011 and 2012. Just curious as to your thoughts..

  4. Eric

    August 28, 2010 at 10:21 pm

    Wow sorry I totally ignored the other post and just went straight to the comment section. My bad. However there “could” be a draft, but with no agreement no rookie would be signed and if it goes so long those rookies would then be able to enter the draft the following year ala what Crabtree was threatening last year. Which in turn creates a “double draft”. So do dynasty teams just wing it and have a draft where you just assume that there will be an agreement and those players will remain with those teams? The whole thing is headache in my opinion I just hope they can somehow reach an agreement by the end of the year. Otherwise this could very well effect underclassman declaring for the draft. A MESS I TELL YOU, A MESS!

  5. rangerdave

    August 29, 2010 at 8:04 am

    There will be a NFL draft in 2011 despite the fact that the CBA officially expires in March. Below is an excerpt from the current CBA:

    Section 2. Effective Date/Expiration Date:
    Except as provided in Section 3 below, this Agreement shall be effective from March 8, 2006 until the last day of the 2012 League Year, except for the provisions relating to the Draft, Article XVI (College Draft), which shall expire in the League Year immediately following the expiration or termination of this Agreement.

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