Could Aug. 4 not be the start of the NFL year? It’s quite possible.
Unless the NFLPA signs off on a new CBA by tomorrow, the agreement will not be in effect and all of the free agents who had been waiting a week or so to get on the field with their new teams – or even those waiting to get back on the field with the teams they re-signed with – could have to wait a little bit longer.
“We’re very optimistic and everyone is working for everyone’s best interests,” alternate Giants player rep Zak DeOssie said. “We need to get our free agents on the field but we’re not in a rush to sign anything prematurely. I’m very optimistic about it.”
DeOssie called Aug. 4 a “soft deadline” and said that if there is no agreement, players who are practicing now will be allowed to continue to do so, but the free agents will have to remain on the sidelines during practices. DeOssie said the biggest “hiccup” to a deal being finalized right now is player benefits.
“I can’t see it going any further than a couple of days,” he said. “Both sides have a vested interest in getting a deal done as soon as possible.”
Kareem McKenzie, who was the first alternate but inherited the full-time job as player rep when Shaun O’Hara was released, said “there are still some issues to be hammered out.”
If there is no deal, then players like Ahmad Bradshaw, Brandon Jacobs, Ben Patrick, Mathias Kiwanuka, David Baas, Michael Clayton and all the others who are new to the team will have to continue missing practices until an agreement is reached.
The person I really feel bad for in this situation is the one who has to tell all of this to Tom Coughlin.