There has been some talk about a possible delay in the vote to ratify the new CBA on the players' side Wednesday, but early reports on Wednesday morning indicate that the players are going to put it to a quorum Wednesday in Washington, D.C. If the new CBA passes muster, it then goes to Thursday's owners meetings in Atlanta, where it is expected to be rubber-stamped with just a few dissenting voices.
There will be no delay brought about by the named plaintiffs in the Brady v. NFL suit; certain players such as Vincent Jackson, Drew Brees, Logan Mankins and Peyton Manning were said to be asking for special compensation in the global settlement of all outstanding lawsuits required to complete the process. The NFLPA said Tuesday evening that it would not recommend the process be held up for that reason. The only delay remaining is the actual review of the documents completed on Tuesday by the legal teams for both sides.
"Our goal today is to see what's on the table, and discuss outlying issues that may or may not be there," NFLPA president Kevin Mawae told a group of reports Wednesday morning. "But make no mistake — the players are not tied to a timeline of July 21. Our timeline is that which gets the best deal for our players. Whether that's today or tomorrow, whatever it may be. We want to play football and we want to go back to work, but we're not going to agree to any deal unless it's the right deal for all the players."
Mawae also discussed the fact that all the named plaintiffs in Brady have to agree to the deal. "Whatever argument there is, I think there's a lot of sensationalism going on between the named plaintiffs that were [discussed] yesterday," he said in a slight jab to the reported requests for extra benefits to settle. "At the end of the day, the deal we're working on is the one that's best for all the players, and not just four guys.
"We're in a good place in that all our guys are here. If a decision needs to be made, it can be made," Mawae said of the attendance of all the player reps. "But the process is what we need to worry about. Today's meeting with our board is not to OK a deal and move forward — our board is here so that if the deal in its totality is the right deal, they will then propose it to the rest of the players of the NFL."
It's likely that in voting Wednesday, the players could also vote to re-certify the NFLPA as a union. The NFLPA has been a trade association since its decertification on March 11, the same day the owners locked the players out and the current work stoppage started. As a union, the players' association could sue for antitrust concerns as it did in Brady.
"We'll break down whatever information we have right now, and we'll break it down to the most minute detail," Mawae said of the process. "We'll answer any questions, and there's going to be lot of debate. We've got 32 guys who represent 1,900 players and each of their individual constituencies. So, there are a lot of issues, and a lot of guys we have to make sure are happy and feel comfortable with it. Whenever the deal is struck, there are going to be things we don't like, and things the other side doesn't like … I would agree that it's the sign of a good bargain."
A majority vote by the players will be needed, and if the players' association suggests it, there should be no problem there, as indicated by the totally unanimous agreement by all players to de-certify when each team was polled in the six months prior to the move.
From there, a majority of at least 24 owners must ratify the deal when it gets to them. NFLPA head DeMaurice Smith and NFL commissioner Roger Goodell have spent a lot of time on the phone in the last 24 hours; another good sign that the longest work stoppage in the sport's history is finally coming to an end.