Wednesday came and went with plenty of drama surrounding the meeting of the former players union and its player representatives from each of the 32 NFL teams. However, a new Collective Bargaining Agreement was not voted on by the players. What was advanced was a conditional vote to approve the new CBA - provided a few "issues" were resolved before finalizing the new pact between the players and the National Football League.
Chief among these issues is the demands of both Patriots guard Logan Mankins and Chargers wide receiver Vincent Jackson. Both players feel (rightfully) that they have been shafted by the entire process of the two sides untangling themselves from the prior CBA and are demanding, as named plaintiffs in the lawsuit against the league, $10 million each. (Both players had reportedly originally asked for a lifetime exemption from the franchise tag as well, but have supposedly dropped that demand)
When word of the demands was made public yesterday, Jackson took to Twitter to proclaim that fans should not "believe everything they read in the media" - even though what was being reported in the media was completely accurate.
Meanwhile, according to Pro Football Weekly, the former union's player representatives were all on a conference call Wednesday afternoon so as to enable those representatives not present to be brought up to speed on the proposal being presented to the group. Reportedly, the call did not go well. (Quick side note - outside of a funeral, what possible reason would a player representative have for not being present at what would most likely be the most important meeting of their professional lives?)
Several representatives left the meetings in Washington D.C. early. ESPN reported that the departing players have given De Smith and the players who remain their "vote of confidence" to enact whatever actions need to be taken tonight and tomorrow on movement toward a new CBA.
In the background on all of this is the owners meeting down in Atlanta, where today the Labor Committee met for several hours in advance of the entire group of NFL owners meeting tomorrow. League council Jeff Pash indicated this afternoon that the owners could possibly vote on a new CBA before the players do, though the thinking now is that the two sides will most likely resolve their differences in the next 12 hours, the players will sign off on a new CBA (which, don't forget, would also require them to re-form their union) and then for the owners to vote and agree - giving us labor peace for the next decade.
Of course, there are many moving parts here and this could end up playing out in any number of ways. But regardless, tomorrow is shaping up to be the most important day the National Football League has seen in quite some time.