While players trusted that their leadership made the right decision in turning down the NFL's last-ditch offer to extend the CBA, some owners felt that offer was too generous. Sounds like more disputing ahead.
There are more than a couple owners who felt that the 11th-hour proposal the league made to the NFLPA 10 days was a bit too generous, and that commissioner Roger Goodell came close to surrendering too much.
Cincinnati owner Brown - people can rip the Bengals' boss, but he was one of only two men (Ralph Wilson of Buffalo was the other) in 2006 to realize the CBA accord struck in Paul Tagliabue's final key act was a bad deal, and voted against it - said that some owners last week felt the offer was "stupid," in that it gave away too much. He also claimed the players were equally "stupid" to walk away from it.
Most of the owners who felt Goodell and league counsel Jeff Pash bent a little too much can be characterized as "hawks," but not all who privately suggested to The Sports Xchange that the league was overly generous fall into that category.
There can be no negotiations until a new CBA is in place, but the Arizona Cardinals were making progress on a new contract with star wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald before the moratorium, and are guardedly confident they can finish a deal when the two sides are permitted to talk again.
Not surprisingly, the New England Patriots are pretty likely to ignore the remarks this week from wide receiver Randy Moss, essentially a man without a club (unless one considers his NASCAR team) that he would consider rejoining the franchise. Coach Bill Belichick knows a bargain when he sees one, but he's moved on from Moss.
There's been a lot of attention afforded the April 6 date on which the NFLPTA's antitrust lawsuit against the league will begin, but most labor attorneys to whom The Sports Xchange has spoken this week don't expect a resolution for at least a couple weeks beyond that.
According to Adam Schefter of ESPN, there are 15 players who could forfeit offseason workout bonuses of $500,000 or more because of the lockout. New York Jets offensive tackle D'Brickashaw Ferguson tops the group, at $750,000, but the Vikings' Kevin Williams is also due $500,000 if he meets his workout incentives.
Assuming there is ever a free agency period, don't discount the Dallas Cowboys' interest in safety Michael Huff of Oakland. The five-year veteran and onetime first-round draft choice might wind up being too pricey for the Cowboys, who don't invest heavily at the position, but he played three seasons under new Dallas defensive coordinator Rob Ryan, and has improved notably over the past two seasons, and is starting to make plays. Huff, 28, had three interceptions in each of the past two campaigns.
Baltimore officials continue to be guardedly optimistic about the chances linebacker Sergio Kindle, who is recovering from a fractured skull that sidelined him for his entire 2010 rookie campaign, will play in 2011. Reports from specialists continue to be positive for the former second-rounder.
The Ravens, by the way, are in the market for a veteran backup quarterback to supplant Marc Bulger, who is likely to depart for a starting job elsewhere. Beyond the durable Joe Flacco, who has started all 48 games his first three seasons, the Ravens have only one quarterback, Hunter Cantwell, on the roster. And Cantwell hasn't played in a game yet.
Among the other teams using the lockout to investigate veteran quarterbacks expected to be available in free agency is Philadelphia. Despite the acknowledgement this week of coach Andy Reid that the Eagles will listen if other clubs inquire about the availability of Kevin Kolb, the team isn't likely to deal its backup unless someone offers a first-rounder and another choice for him. But if someone knocks the socks off the Eagles with an offer, anything is possible. The Philadelphia coaches really like 2010 draft choice Mike Kafka, but aren't about to go into the 2011 season without an experienced veteran behind Michael Vick, whose style makes him susceptible to injury.
Atlanta isn't likely to invest a first-round choice in a wide receiver, but the Falcons definitely are interested in adding more speed opposite Roddy White and probably will grab a fleet receiver in the first three rounds. The Falcons have talked plenty in the offseason about having more "explosive" plays in 2011, and White, who led the NFL in receptions in 2010, isn't a burner. Former first-rounder Michael Jenkins can make the occasional big play, and is probably better than his critics in Atlanta make him out to be at times, but he doesn't play fast.
The feeling in Detroit is that the Lions need to land at least one starting-caliber linebacker in the draft, but that may not be until the second or third round.
A few 4-3 teams are doing their due diligence on veteran defensive end Andre Carter, released by Washington last month. Although he posted double-digit sacks in two of the past four seasons, Carter was not a good fit for the 3-4 front the team now uses under coordinator Jim Haslett. His sack total dropped from 11 in 2009 to just 2.5 in 2010. Still, some 4-3 clubs see Carter, 31, as at least a situational pass-rusher.