As the NFL lockout continues to remain in place, time is becoming a factor. The news over the last couple of weeks has been better than it ever has in this lost offseason, but as of now, we have no deal in place. While we have a shred of optimism that the NFL players and owners will come together to make sure we don't miss any of the regualr season, certain offseason events are in peril. Namely training camps and preseason games.
Even if a deal was to be reached in principle this week or next, that wouldn't be the end of the lockout. The NFL owner's lead negotiator, Jeff Pash, made it clear that the lockout couldn't be lifted officially until all of the legal hurdles were cleared.
Goodell and lead counsel Jeff Pash made it clear that an agreement must be in place, with no unresolved items, before the league allows clubs to participate in free agency. In essence, that means a lag time between a handshake agreement and something formal, though it's unclear how much time would be involved.
"We would have to make sure the documents were fully drafted and approved," said Pash, "then both parties would have to ratify the agreement. We would have to do it, and the players would have to do it. There is some litigation that has to be dealt with, and so we would have to go before the various courts, and that would obviously (have to happen) on a quickened basis, as the court would hear us and have those lawsuits disposed of and resolved. Then we could open up."
As the calendar makes its way toward July, the timetables are becoming very tight. Even if a deal in principle is reached soon, by reading the statement above, it becomes obvious that there will still be weeks worth of work to do, at minimum, before things begin to operate as normal.
And that kind of timeline takes us right up to, and possibly into, training camp. The Cowboys have asked the Alamodome in San Antonio to hold three weeks open for training camp starting with July 25th. Based on what we know, that date is in peril. And the Cowboys have now acknowledged it.
A Dallas Cowboys spokesperson left the door open to the team spending training camp at its practice facility in Irving rather than in San Antonio, saying in an email that "nothing has been finalized regarding our plans for camp at this point."
Rich Dalrymple, the Cowboys' vice president for public relations/communications, declined further comment Monday regarding the team's contingency plans for camp should the NFL lockout continue well into July.
I've been thinking this could be a possibility for a while now. If the teams are forced to have a compacted training camp schedule, and deal with free agency simultaneously, they might want to forgo the issues that come with the entire team traveling out of town. Just one more thing this NFL lockout could rob the fans of, a chance to watch the Cowboys practice for a few weeks.