By Tom E. Curran
CSNNE.com Patriots Insider Follow @tomecurran
ATLANTA - A few quick hits from Atlanta's Gateway Marriott where NFL owners are convening to, ultimately, restore professional football in America. 1. As the NFL lockoutdraws closer toits final breaths, conflicting reports have become the norm. Why? Three factors: a) The number of sources with informed opinions. b) The complexity of the issues leading tosources drawing different conclusions. c) Attempts on both sides todrive their ownagendas.
For example, there is confusion over whether the plaintiffs in Brady vs. The NFL can hold up settlement of the case if they aren't satisfied (it appears they can since it's not a true "class action"). There is confusion over whether Logan Mankins wants the franchise tag removed or a 10 million payout and how far he's willing to push. There's confusion over whether the players have to reform their union before a vote is taken. 2. If this thing gets solved on Thursday, the owners will get to enjoy the glory shots. Media is here en masse. The players are in Washington with far less media. So if this ends Thursday, the video will be of NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and the owners being able to talk about the restoration of football. And they are the ones who locked out the players. 3. This is how the players' voting breaks down. First, the 11-man executive committee has to vote to recommend the proposed CBA. Then the 32 player reps, after consulting with their teams, will vote on the proposal.
Now, the problem is -- and this is a sticking point -- can the player reps represent their teams if they are not a union? Or do the players have to recertify first? And how quickly can they do that?4. Logan Mankins' and Vincent Jackson's interests in the Brady vs. The NFL lawsuit are still sticking points. As the two sides try to reach a "global settlement" of all litigation, multiple sources have said that the owners need to buy off Jackson and Mankins to proceed.
Whether the players themselves are pushing that or lead litigator Jeff Kessler is responsible isn't known. Still, including Mankins and Jackson in the suit brought the expectation that they would get something for their inclusion if the suit was settled. It does make sense. But there's a way to satisfy it.
The players are asking for the restoration of 320 million in lost benefits from 2010 as well. They won't get that because those were the rules of engagement in 2010. Tough boogers. But the "lockout insurance" case which already has one ruling in the players' favor is still there. The owners should simply settle that for, say, 200 million and the union can pay off Mankins and Jackson. Done and done. 5. While the owners are here at the Atlanta Gateway Marriott, GMs and key decision makers on the football side are at the Westin being briefed on how things will proceed once this business is done. Tom E. Curran can be reached at email@example.com. Follow Tom on Twitter at http:twitter.comtomecurran
By Tom E. Curran