......why the CBA WILL get done.....and sooner rather than later....and other assorted thoughts. 1. 500 That's the approximate number of NFL FAs that will hopefully become available on Thursday, and that's 500 critical reasons why the the "union" will have to eventually acquiesce to the great majority of the owners demands. Think about it. Strike or lockout, this work stoppage will be the result of a MUTUAL agreed to action (or inaction) by the owners and the players. I don't see how the "union" can be in a strong position when a full THIRD of its membership will be seriously harmed by any kind of long term work stoppage. Now I'm not saying something will get done by Thursday, but if it goes past the draft in late April, Many of those 500 guys are going to start to get antsy. And if it goes into August as a lot of media pukes are suggesting, then HUNDREDS of those FAs are NOT going find jobs in the NFL Its about time that this so called "union" figures out that they are responsible to the vast majority of its membership, not just to protect the right of the top 10% of its members to extract the last dollar out of owners that are struggling to maintain profitability. Their job SHOULD BE a lot more than just getting the maximum amount of dollars. It should be about improving working conditions, expanding job opportunities, and protecting against job LOSSES. I'm not saying the owners are totally blameless in this dispute. However the NFL has THRIVED because the players and owners had previously acted in PARTNERSHIP when it came to "labor issues". The results have be incredibly favorable to BOTH parties. Player incomes have simply sky rocketed in the last 2 decades, while the value of franchises have similarly increased many fold. Thinking that revenue will simply increase year after year is the kind of thinking that precipitated the last economic bust. It is just NOT realistic. It isn't true in any business let alone professional football, and as we are told so often, "NFL football is a business" So lets get back to that 500 number. If there is a long term lockout, NONE of those 500 FAs will be able to get jobs in the NFL in 2011. Again that's ONE THIRD of your membership with a STRONG incentive to want a deal worked out. They know as well as I that if there is a long term lockout, many of them will find themselves without a seat when the music stops. So for THAT reason, I can't see any kind of work stoppage going long term.....JMHO 2. When you look at the moves by the Jets today, its easy to explain what the Pats did when they decided to cut loose Nick Kascur. I liked him as a player, but considering he's coming off a back surgery, you'd HAVE to believe that among the 500 NFL FA's mentioned above, there has GOT to be a player of equal ability who would be willing to come to NE and play for $1-2MM. 3. On the football side of the 500 FAs, I think the immediate impact of the draft is minimized. First the mere vastness of the players available will definitely keep prices down. Simple supply and demand dictates that.. THere will be SO MANY NFL players who have started in this league that contract amounts will be depressed, and great values are there to be had. The elite players will STILL get paid, but for the vast majority of FA's the term "reasonable money" is going to replace, "maximum money". If there was ever a year to rebuild quickly, this will be it. 4. Now how does that effect the draft? I think it will minimize the impact of potential draft picks. It might be the year to take some chances, to go outside the box, simply because you KNOW there will be so many players out there on whom there is lots of film against the best competition. Its a lot easier to evaluate a guy with 4-6+ in the league than some "hot shot" kid playing in the Big Ten. 5. For the Pats it might mean they will look for quality over numbers for a change. It might mean the opposite, because this will be a year to pick players who you can afford to develop down the road, and get your "impact" players in positions of need from the FA market BOTTOM LINE - The Pats pretty much march to the beat of their OWN drummer, so any suppositions we make are just that.....guesses. That way EVERY draft day is really like christmas, where we are ALWAYS surprised when we open up our presents.