As the NFL draft approaches, the storm cloud that is the lockout continues to hang over the league and threaten the most important night of the NFL offseason. With no collective bargaining agreement in place at the moment, teams will be unable to trade players, no players are allowed to visit team facilities, and this year’s rookie class could face the toughest transition of any rookie class, a scenario that is entirely unfair to all players old and new.

Without a new collective bargaining agreement in place, the entire dynamic of the draft changes. Often times teams trade players for more picks, but without a CBA that is not allowed so the only way to trade for picks is with other picks. Many teams use the draft to ship out underachieving or disgruntle players for the opportunity to draft a promising rookie.

For instance, the Bengals’ starting quarterback Carson Palmer is threatening to retire if he isn’t traded, and the draft would be an opportune time to trade Palmer and acquire a first or second round draft pick and use it on one of the highly regarded quarterbacks in the draft. Instead, the Bengals will either have to trade him for an older player already in the league, and probably not a quarterback, or he will retire and the Bengals will get nothing.

The lack of a CBA is just as big a problem for the rookies. Once drafted, they will be unable to sign a new contract because the CBA will decide whether or not there will be a rookie wage scale. Also, because of the lockout, rookie will not be able to meet any of the coaches or staff, damaging their learning curve and making their transition into the league more difficult.

This is such a major problem because numerous draft picks are expected to have an immediate impact, but if the lockout ends a week before the season, they will only have seven days to learn the playbook, their teammates, coaches, and to train in an NFl facility. And if that is the case, teams can not expect these players to be extremely helpful in the early going.

To avoid all of these problems, the NFL and NFL Players Association need to work harder than they ever have before over the next two weeks. They need to quit being stubborn and petty and simply sit down and figure out a new CBA because if they don’t, it won’t be the fans who suffer, but most importantly the players.

By admin

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