After an extension in negotiations that lasted a week, and with the negotiation deadline looming, set for 11:59 p.m. on Friday night, the NFLPA has decided to decertify in an effort to take the battle to the courts. This time around, no extension was reached and a deal could not be made, leaving the union no choice but to decertify. The next step, reportedly, is for the union to file an antitrust lawsuit, with Drew Brees, Peyton Manning and Tom Brady likely to lead the charge.
The report of the NFLPA's decision to file for decertification comes from the NFL Network. The decision to file for decertification required a unanimous vote from the players, though the union had reportedly been lobbying for it throughout the last few months.
Edit: The NFL Network is retracting the report, saying someone, perhaps the union, has asked for a delay. The NFLPA has not dissolved as of now.
With the NFLPA choosing to decerify, a lockout is all but assured. The owners will now have to vote on a work stoppage, reportedly just a formality and set to take place on Friday. With a work stoppage in place, players will be unable to sign with new teams and roster moves will suddenly grind to a halt. The NFL Draft will go on as planned, but teams will not be able to trade players during it -- only draft picks.
It's unclear how long a lockout, or the NFLPA's legal battle, could last, but it appears we're in for the long haul as the two sides were nowhere near reaching a consensus on revenue sharing issues. The union did win an important legal battle last week, preventing owners from pocketing television revenue during a lockout after Judge David Doty overturned an earlier decision that would've allowed the NFL to earn some $4 billion during a lockout. It's possible that decision prevents the owners from digging in for a long lockout lasting well into the season.
At 11:59 p.m. on Friday night, the current collective bargaining agreement will expire, putting the NFL into no-man's land without a deal. Stay with our NFL lockout StoryStream for the latest on the negotiations as the NFLPA and owners work towards a solution, one way or another. To commiserate with Seahawks fans, check out SB Nation's Field Gulls.