ESPN’s Chris Mortensen and Adam Schefter are reporting that the target date to have a new collective bargaining agreement ratified is July 21st when owners meet in Atlanta.
The fact of the matter is that a deal should have been done by now. However, it isn’t as owners and players have met two times a week for a month or two after months of litigation in court.
That is on the NFLPA as the NFL was willing to extend the old CBA to keep negotiations going. Also, they stated numerous times during the litigation process that they were willing to return to the table whenever the NFLPA wanted to.
Most likely what happened is the NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith took the advice of Jeffery Kessler to decertify the union, and proceed through the court. What changed is that Smith realized that nothing was getting done and if they continued through the courts a new CBA wasn’t going to get done in time for the regular season.
Also, players numerous time expressed their opinion that they wanted to get back to work. That sent a clear message to Smith that if something doesn’t get done anytime soon many of them will turn on him, thus making negotiations very difficult for the NFLPA and his reelection as NFLPA executive director almost impossible.
When Smith took the job he knew fully well that Kessler was a problem from what was reported in the media.
In the end, if something doesn’t get done it is all on Smith.