I'm feeling a bit like Harold Camping right now. I predicted an end to the NFL lockout on or around the July 4th holiday and it hasn't happened. I was pretty optimistic heading into the holiday weekend. I've heard the July 15th date tossed around quite a bit as the date an agreement needed to be reached to keep the preseason intact. Well folks, the next date on the calendar is July 19th. That's when the main parties and their respective attorneys will be back in Minnesota to meet with Judge Arthur Boylan who will be back from his vacation. As I understand it, the goal is to have an agreement ready by the 21st so that the NFL owners can vote on it. As a fan I'm frustrated by the apparent lack of progress and urgency over the past two months. What I wouldn't give to don a referee shirt, lock both sides in a room, and "mediate" the daylight out of both.
FOX Sports believes that the preseason will be disrupted. Training camps are supposed to open soon and the August 7th Hall of Fame game between the Rams and Bears is in jeopardy. They correctly point out that even after the two sides agree on the specifics, the agreement needs to be ratified by both the players and the owners which could drag things out even longer.
The players aren't the only ones hurting during the lockout. The fantasy football industry is hurting as well. With player movements at a standstill, most are at a loss for stories and analysis as we can't definitively tell you where players will end up. Using the status quo, we fortunately can still look at scenarios and the associated analysis in anticipation of our upcoming drafts. For example, CBS Sports has a great piece on which running backs are due to break down. It's hard to fault their logic when they mention guys like Ronnie Brown, Willis McGahee, and Fred Jackson. All three will see less involvement in their respective offenses leading to a decline in production.
As the lockout relates to fantasy football, CBS Sports has announced that they will apply a credit towards every customer's account for each game missed due to the lockout. If the season is impacted to the point that it lasts only 8 weeks or less, they'll comp you the entire 2011 season and either apply a credit towards the 2012 season or refund your money. This seems to be the trend as we reported Fantasy Football Starters has a similar guarantee.
Once the lockout is over, I'm anticipating a flurry of movements as teams are able to start talking to players again. One guy who won't be moving is Kerry Collins who announced that he's retiring and won't be under center in Tennessee this year. We wish him all the best and are anxiously looking to see who will step up and take his place. Turns out that Kerry isn't the only one making news from the Titans. Yahoo's reporting that Kenny Britt has pleaded not guilty to three disorderly conduct charges from a June arrest in New Jersey. Britt's no stranger to the law as he was caught speeding last month, turned himself into authorities two weeks ago on charges of providing false information on a driver's license application, and has to respond to a lawsuit resulting from a bar fight in Nashville.
As long as we're in Tennessee, we've got to talk about Chris Johnson. Last year's top consensus pick has got to be hoping that the Titans front office is able to grab an experienced QB like Matt Hasselbeck so that he doesn't have to line up behind Jake Locker. Without a legitimate QB, defenses will stack the box against Johnson. This is assuming of course that the Titans will pony up more dough. According to a report on NFL.com, Johnson is willing to hold out as long as it takes to get his pay day. Considering that his 2011 salary is roughly $800,000, he has a point. His production warrants a bigger piece of the pie. Of course, we'll need to wait for the lockout to end before we can see movement on this topic.
On a side note, for those of you still on Favre-watch, rest easy. He's not coming back. According to the the Player News on RealTime Fantasy Sports, Favre's mother and brother have said that the ol' gunslinger will remain retired. "I would say there's less than a 1 percent change", said Brett's brother Scott. Whew! That's one less thing to worry about!