NFL Labor News: Bears Edition

Wcg_thumb_notes_medium As each day passes, it appears more and more likely that the NFL and the Player's Association will be unable to settle on a new Collective Bargaining Agreement. An uncapped 2010 seems almost inevitable now and a lockout in 2011 is looking more like a possibility.

If you're interested in tracking the NFL Labor talks, the NFL is now providing you a means. One (from the league's perspective) in the form of the website, NFLLabor.com.

Why should we care? Follow me past the jump...

How do the Labor Talks affect our Chicago Bears?

We are already short on draft picks, post the Cutler and Adams trades, meaning we will need to find quality players via Free Agency. However...

In an uncapped 2010 season more than 200 players (including nearly 75 starters) would be restricted free agents.  Previously, players with four and five years of experience would have been unrestricted free agents — free to sign with any team without their club receiving draft choice compensation.

Obviously, we all pretty much knew that UFA's would be somewhat minimal this year if an agreement was not reached. And that it would somewhat limit the Bears choices in finding much needed quality and depth at the OL, DL and S positions. But what is astounding, to me, is the sheer numbers of players that will become restricted, that would have been unrestricted, had a deal been reached.

For a complete list of players that fall in that category, go HERE.

The Bears on that list:

Yrs

Club

Player

Pos

'09
Starts

Current Agent

4

CHI

Manning, Danieal

FS

10

Hicks, Russel V.

5

CHI

Bullocks, Josh

FS

4

Nailey, Jeffrey S.

4

CHI

Anderson, Mark

DE

2

Ivler, James J.

4

CHI

Williams, Jamar

OLB

2

Ivler, James J.

4

CHI

Dvoracek, Dusty

NT

0

Johson, William L.

 

Some "could-have-been" potential targets:

OL: Deuce Lutui, Tyson Clabo, Richie Incognito, Chris Kuper, Logan Mankins, Jahri Evans, Willie Colon

DL: Marcus Spears, Johnny Jolly, Ray Edwards, Barry Cofield, Tony Brown

WR: Mark Clayton, Miles Austin, Brandon Marshall, Jason Avant, Vincent Jackson, Malcolm Floyd, Mark Bradley (for ifuwanna)

RB: Jerious Norwood, Jerome Harrison, Ronnie Brown, Leon Washington, Darren Sproles, LenDale White

S: Nick Collins, Antoine Bethea, Oshiomogho Atogwe

I'm not advocating that we would have, or even should have, targeted each of these players. And a good majority of them might have been, or still might be, resigned or tagged. But, there are a lot of players that might have been, and now won't be, available at positions where we desperately need help. I guess it's a good thing that we have Bobby DePaul to figure it all out!

For a complete list of 2010 NFL Free Agents (restricted and unrestricted), click HERE.

However, none of this affects us fans as much as a 16 month off-season would. And according to NFLLabor.com, we are quickly approaching that destination.

The true zero hour, then, won’t come until March 2011, when the CBA runs out. Negotiations often need a fast-approaching, hard deadline to produce a deal, but if that doesn’t happen in the next year, the league and its players will have three options in 2011: They can operate under the same rules as 2010; the players can strike; or the owners can lock out the players.

Judging by several steps the league and teams have taken, it’s all but certain the owners will lock out the players if it comes to that.

"We want an agreement," NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said at his Super Bowl press conference on February 5. "We want an agreement that’s fair to the game, to the players and [one that] will allow us to continue to invest in the game. The idea that ownership would want a work stoppage is absolutely false. You don’t make money by shutting down your business. It’s a bad scenario for everybody."

We'll just have to wait and see how it all turns out, until then stay tuned.

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