Order to lift lockout ushers in NFL confusion

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Order to lift lockout ushers in NFL confusion

By TomE. Curran
CSNNE.com
Got chaos? Kinda. Since Judge Nelson's command that NFL owners lift the lockout and let players resume work immediately, confusion over what happens next has taken hold. "It's getting very complicated," one NFL executive told me Monday evening. What's complicated? Here's a little FAQ action for you. The answers? To be candid, some will be educated guesses. I'll let you know when I'm guessing. 1. Lockout lifted, can players go to work on Tuesday?

Yes. Unless and until there is a "stay" of Nelson's ruling pending appeal, her order to end the lockout is in effect. The NFL's Management Council has reportedly told teams to let in players who show up at the stadium but to keep them out of the weight rooms. Players, of course, would want to show up if they have fat offseason workout bonuses. There may be no offseason program to be present for, but it's possible they'll just show for effect just in case. There's a lot to process on the workout bonuses but that's the main reason players would want to be there. Put pressure on the owners to pay them or for the players to allege that the owners should. 2. When will the appeals court rule on whether or not to grant the "stay" Judge Nelson didn't?Dunno. The NFL immediately filed a request for the stay Monday night. ESPN legal analyst Lester Munson said, however, that the way Nelson worded her ruling, a stay by the appeals court seems unlikely. Judge Nelson mentioned the "public interest" several times in her 89-page ruling. My guess? The appellate court's decision on whether or not to grant a stay will come quickly as it's in the public interest to get this moving forward.3. Could the 2011 league year begin soon, meaning free agency starts?That's the biggest question for fans and the football branch of NFL teams (as opposed to the business branch). If the stay is refused, then it would logically follow that business as usual is supposed to begin under the 2010 league rules (no salary cap or floor, six years service for unrestricted free agency, no rookie wage scale, etc). The owners will want to delay thestart of the league year, especially this week. If free agency opens before the draft begins Thursday night, the football folks will be trying to acquire players on two fronts. And player trades - which were suspended during the lockout - would be in play on draft night. Now, this may not be in the best interest of the league as a whole. And it will be interesting if that's weighed by the courts. 4. What's this mean for your New England Patriots?Lots of meetings. Bill Belichick will not want to be caught sitting on his hands when the chance for player acquisition is upon his team. If there is no stay, one would have to expect Belichick to launch his free agency plan immediately. But would the sting of this ruling cause the Krafts to be bitter and reluctant to proceed as if the lockout is over, done and gone before the appeals process has run its course? In short . . . it's getting very complicated. Tom E. Curran canbe reached at tcurran@comcastsportsnet.com.Follow Tom on Twitter at http:twitter.comtomecurran

Arizona Cardinals place franchise tag on Chandler Jones

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Arizona Cardinals place franchise tag on Chandler Jones

PHOENIX - The Arizona Cardinals, in an anticipated move, have placed a non-exclusive franchise tag on outside linebacker Chandler Jones after failing to reach a long-term deal with the player.

The non-exclusive tag allows the Cardinals to continue negotiating with Jones through July 15. If another team makes him an offer, Arizona can either match it or receive two first-round draft picks.

It's unlikely that any team would express interest in Jones, however, given what it would cost.

Under the franchise tag, Jones would receive about $15 million for the coming season.

Acquired in a trade with New England a year ago, Jones had 11 sacks, four forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and 15 tackles for loss last season

Jones has 25 1-2 sacks over the past two seasons, third-most in the NFL over that span.

The Cardinals' move came two days before the NFL deadline for making franchise designations.

It also came on Jones' 27th birthday, prompting teammate David Johnson to tweet "Happy BDay to `The Man,' `Mr. Franchise' himself.....The one and only."

The franchise tag move came as no surprise.

Club President Michael Bidwill has stated all along that Jones would not be going anywhere, that the team didn't make the trade - sending guard Jonathan Cooper and a second-round draft pick to New England - to keep him just for one season.

"We're not going to mess around with that," Bidwill said in a recent interview on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM. "He's a great pass rusher, but if we can't agree to terms that work for us, we're just going to franchise him, and his people know that."

Jones immediately upgraded what had been an average Cardinals pass rush at best. His fellow outside linebacker Markus Golden had 12 1-2 sacks and seven tackles for loss. Together they form one of the better outside pass rush combinations in the NFL.

By all accounts, the contract talks with Jones have been cordial and Jones has said he wants to stay in Arizona.

"I love it here," he said near the end of last season. "I love the vibe that the people give off and I can see myself being here for a long time."

Chandler heads a long list of free agents that the Cardinals must either re-sign or let go. That group includes starters defensive tackle Calais Campbell, safety Tony Jefferson and inside linebacker Kevin Minter.

Mayock: If I'm Cleveland, I'd be 'stoked' to land Garoppolo for No. 12 pick

Mayock: If I'm Cleveland, I'd be 'stoked' to land Garoppolo for No. 12 pick

NFL Network draft expert Mike Mayock quarterbacked a marathon conference call with reporters from around the country on Monday in order to shed some light on the prospects who will compete at the combine later this week. One thing that stood out? He's not ready to crown anyone in this year's crop of draftable signal-callers.

As a result of the dearth of pro-ready talent at quarterback, Mayock recognized Patriots backup Jimmy Garoppolo as perhaps the top target for any quarterback-needy team. Garoppolo might interest the Cleveland Browns in particular, Mayock noted, because of the number of picks they have near the top of the draft.

"In my opinion," Mayock said, "if I'm the Cleveland Browns and I've got No. 1 and No. 12, if I came away with either [defensive end Myles] Garrett or [defensive tackle] Jonathan Allen at No. 1, and gave up the 12th pick in the draft to get Garoppolo? I would be stoked.

"I would feel like I had a difference-maker on defense and we had a quarterback on offense. Now let's get to work. We got five in the first 65 picks. Let's get to work. From my perspective, especially looking at the quarterbacks this year, if they gave up No. 12 and could get Garoppolo, I'd be all over that."