Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Barring mediation miracle, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, NFL will enter dark days

Hope for a Hail Mary.

Barring a mediation miracle this morning, the collective bargaining agreement between NFL owners and the player's union will expire at midnight.

What happens next is every fan's nightmare. There will be no on-field action or communication between players currently in the NFL and employees of the teams. Team doctors will be allowed to monitor the progress of injured players, but not at the club's facility. There will be no free agency, no trades. The NFL will hold its annual draft, but once those players are selected and have their introductory news conferences, they can have no negotiations or communication with the team that selected them.

Players will not be paid any bonus money due at the start of the new league year March 4. They also will lose all insurance benefits.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers plan to strictly enforce a league-imposed gag order on labor matters.

Unable to agree on how to split a $9-billion pie, a labor dispute will continue most likely into September. The next thing that will happen sometime before midnight is that the NFL Player's Association will file papers to decertify. They must do so before the current agreement expires or wait six months.

Players on all 32 teams have already voted to do just that. It means the union will no longer be negotiating on behalf of the players. Owners are expected to follow by locking players out of their facilities.

The reason for decertifying is so individual players can file an antitrust lawsuit against the NFL. Since the league operates as a monopoly, it would be violating federal labor laws by restricting trade. Players can also file for an injunction to asking a judge to rescind the lockout.

Once the situation gets into the hands of the lawyers, the dispute is bound to linger well into the summer.

Owners essentially wanted another $1-billion from players not included in the current agreement to help finance the construction of stadiums and to retire debt. There also were proposals for an 18-game season, rookie wage scale, retirement benefits and other issues that remain unresolved.

When will all this get settled?

Most likely, not until September. Players are paid their salaries during the regular season. Owners recognize that many players live beyond their means, and once they miss a few game checks, it will be hard to keep more than 1,900 players from splintering.

What NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith has to decide is whether players will get their best deal now or after games have been cancelled.

It's been 24 years since the last real work stoppage in the NFL. But unlike in 1987, when players voted to strike two games into the regular season, there can be no games held with replacement players.

It's possible NFL owners and players could extend the agreement by another week to continue federal mediation, but both sides feel like they're out of timeouts.

If you're keeping score, the biggest losers may be the fans.

Barring mediation miracle, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, NFL will enter dark days 03/03/11 [Last modified: Thursday, March 3, 2011 11:27am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Four-time Iditarod champ implicated in dog doping case, pulls out of 2018 race

    Sports

    A doping scandal has rocked yet another sport — this time, the competition that calls itself the "Last Great Race on Earth" — the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race.

    Dallas Seavey poses with his lead dogs Reef, left, and Tide after finishing the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race in Nome, Alaska, in March 2016. Four-time Iditarod champion Dallas Seavey denies he administered banned drugs to his dogs in this year's race, and has withdrawn from the 2018 race in protest. The Iditarod Trail Committee on Monday, Oct. 23, 2017, identified Seavey as the musher who had four dogs test positive for a banned opioid pain reliever after finishing the race last March in Nome. [Associated Press]
  2. Bucs: Quick and easy fixes for what ails Tampa Bay?

    Bucs

    The Bucs are 2-4 and have lost five straight road games, so there's plenty to fix. What's the quickest and easiest fix for coach Dirk Koetter and Tampa Bay? The Times' Bucs coverage team weighs in:

    PLAY A COMPLETE GAME

    Bucs head coach Dirk Koetter, seen during the first half, had a heck of a day calling plays, Tom Jones writes. [LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times]
  3. Dirk Koetter to Bucs: Take your complaints to someone who can help

    Bucs

    TAMPA — It was just another day of aching bellies at One Save Face.

    Dirk Koetter: “All of our issues are self-inflicted right now.”
  4. Bucs journal: Few complaints about Jameis Winston's play

    Bucs

    TAMPA — It wasn't enough to pull out a win Sunday at Buffalo, but a week removed from a shoulder sprain, Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston threw for 384 yards and three touchdowns against the NFL's No. 2 pass defense.

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback Brent Grimes (24) signs autographs for fans before an NFL game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Minnesota Vikings at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minn., on Sunday, Sept. 24, 2017.
  5. Lightning's Jon Cooper uses unusual tactic to create mismatches

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — Tyler Johnson is about to swing his left leg over the boards for his next shift alongside linemate Alex Killorn and … who else?

    Stamkos? Kucherov? Point?

    Tampa Bay Lightning head coach Jon Cooper argues the called as his team gets a faceoff violation, leading to penalty and #Caps PP goal, during second period action at the Amalie Arena in Tampa Monday evening (10/09/17).DIRK SHADD   |   Times