There’s been a lot of talk about the league’s current CBA. Many around the league, including the NFLPA, continue to view a lockout as a strong possibility when the current bargaining agreement expires after the 2020 season. Owners are widely seen as having won the last round of negotiations, and players are sure to have stronger demands this time around. At first the league was anxious to get a new deal done and avoid a drawn out process, but the “NFL recently has shown less urgency to get a new labor deal done” according to Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.
A source told Florio that “the NFL previously had wanted to get a new labor deal in place by the next Super Bowl”, but that’s no longer the case. The change in heart is “fueled by the league’s happiness with the 2018 ratings performance” Florio writes. Florio notes that the ratings increases give the league more leverage in negotiations with networks which makes them “feel less compelled to bend to the union a bit in order to be able to sell labor peace deep into the next decade to the broadcast partners.” It’s an interesting angle that Florio presents, and the whole situation will be one of the biggest stories to monitor over the next year.
Here’s more from around the league:
- The league’s executive vice president of international, Mark Waller, thinks London is ready for an NFL team right now, according to Albert Breer of SI.com. Breer had an interesting conversation with Waller, who thinks the “pieces for a London team are in place.” It was rumored earlier this week that Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shad Khan had his sights set on moving the team to London.
- Cardinals guard Justin Pugh broke his hand in the team’s loss to the Vikings, the lineman told Josh Weinfuss of ESPN (Twitter link). Lineman can often play with a club/cast on their hand, but it would seem likely Pugh misses at least a little time, and may need surgery. It’s a big blow to an Arizona offensive line that is already among the worst in the league.
- Ravens guard Alex Lewis suffered a scary neck injury that had him down on the field for a while, but he appears to be alright. There was a lot of concern after Lewis was taken to the hospital, but he’s regained feeling in his extremitites and has “been cleared to travel back tonight with team”, according to Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic (Twitter link). Lewis will have more tests tomorrow, but overall it’s very positive news after what initially looked like a very serious injury.