- Vaughn McClure at the Chicago Tribune reports that top receiver prospect A.J. Green was in town. Unfortunately it was for an NFL Films feature and not to visit the Bears. They could only wish they had a pick high enough to justify such a visit.
- Michael C. Wright at ESPNChicago.com asks a sharp question. Would a union have helped offensive line coach Mike Tice to be allowed to interview in Tennessee for their offensive coordinator position? The Titans were denied permission to contact Tice by the Bears. The NFL assistant coaches are meeting at the NFL Scouting Combine to consider unionizing.
I think the answer here is likely “No. Tice was under contract and had the Titans been allowed to contact him, it would have been because head coach Lovie Smith simply thought it was the right thing to do. But in the business landscape, a contract is a contract whether you are part of a union or not. Indeed, once you get union representation, you take the “human” factor out of the equation and everything becomes all business. The position on these issues like this is likely to harden and no one will ever get permission.
- ESPN’s NFC North blogger Kevin Seifert also points to an interesting aspect of the effects of a lockout on the Bears assistant coaches. He asks ESPN legal analyst Lester Munson about the coaches contract around the division. Teh Bears coaches get a 25 percent salary reduction on the day a lockout begins with a team option to dismiss after a 60-day notice.
But get this. Minnesota Vikings coaches get ninety days of full pay after a lockout begins, followed by a 75 percent salary reduction for 90 days and then dismissal. September is 6 months from March, folks.
That means that the Bears can (and I think likely will) keep keep their most valuable coaches employed during what would have been the season, probably because they wouldn’t want to lose them. But the Vikings apparently aren’t going to do that. If other teams have handled it in a similar fashion, there could be a free-for-all tussle amongst teams to sign assistants once a lockout ends.
- The Vikings may have a savior that will get them a stadium to keep them in Minnesota. Let’s hope.
- Jeremy Fowler at the Pioneer Press reports that Vikings players are planning to workout together in the hopes of learning their new offense despite being locked out of the facilities at Winter Park.
- Tom Kowalski at milve.com says that once the NFL filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board against the players, pretty much all hope for a clean, quick resolution to the labor problem was lost. He says that the StarCaps case proved that once you put it all into the hands of the lawyers, nothing quick or clean will come of anything:
“Three years and tens of millions in legal fees for a few celebrity diet pills. What do you think the price is for the fate of 2,500 football players and the long-term fate of the NFL?”
I would say that Kowalski’s got a point but that the complaint wasn’t when it started. It started when lawyer DeMaurice Smith was elected NFLPA president. The players have been angling to get the NFL into court ever since.
- NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has written an op-ed column on the CBA talks which has appeared in various newspapers around the country. Adam Schefter reacts in a way which I agree with. I wouldn’t pay much attention to the rest. The owners aren’t going to open up their books, nor should they:
- Carolina owner Jerry Richardson has been accused of being “condescending” in meetings with players. I’ve read some of the comments and it sounds to me like “direct” might have been a better term. Richardson is a former NFL halfback and I think that the players at the bargaining table shouldn’t heave been surprised at some blunt comments from him. He’s basically not just an owner. He’s a peer. Cowboys owner Jerry Jones apparently agrees (via Darin Gantt and Joe Person at the Charlotte Observer):
“Jerry’s greatest strength is communication The more that is at stake, the more direct and clear he is with his words. When he speaks with people he cares about deeply – players, business partners, his fellow owners – he is always particularly straightforward and to the point. That is how he shows his respect for the situation and the individuals involved.
“He is one of the most effective leaders I have ever known because he is one of the best communicators I have ever been associated with.”
- Mel Kiper and Todd McShay break down the running backs in the NFL Draft:
- According to The Onion, a magazine has decided to publish a special sex issue, something Sports Illustrated is basically already doing.
One Final Thought
Bob Sturm at the Dallas Morning News on receiver Roy Williams and the danger of high expectations:
“You always wonder how you would feel about a player if he was not tied to his contract. Expectation levels shot up for Tony Romo and Miles Austin when they went from being one of the cheapest contributors in the league to one of the most expensive on the roster. Perhaps one of the worst moves Jerry Jones has ever made was his decision to not only trade premium draft picks to the Lions, but then to sign Roy Williams to a 6-year, $54 million deal before he ever stepped on the field for the Cowboys.