With negotiations for a new collective bargaining agreement between the NFL and NFLPA stalled, each side is bracing for the very real possibility of a lockout on March 4. The players union went to court to prevent the NFL from pocketing TV money earlier in the week, and is continuing to make moves in an effort to increase its leverage with negotiations ongoing. Currently, though, little headway has been made by either side and the threat of a lockout could have an effect on the 2011 NFL Draft and scouting combine.
According to a report from USA Today, the union has suggested agents hold players invited to the NFL scouting combine out of the events should negotiations stall ahead of the event.
Two people familiar with the talks tell the Associated Press the union has suggested keeping potential 2011 draft picks away from the combine in Indianapolis and from other draft-related activities while there is no collective bargaining agreement. The people spoke anonymously because they are not authorized to give out the information.
As the report mentions, holding players out of the combine could jeopardize their standing and status ahead of the 2011 NFL Draft. The combine is seen as the most important pre-draft event, with representatives from each team attending to evaluate prospects as they set up their draft boards.
Six local prospects were invited to the combine, headlined by Washington quarterback Jake Locker. Washington Linebacker Mason Foster, safety Nate Williams, Eastern Washington running back Taiwan Jones, Washington State punter Reid Forrest and offensive lineman Zack Williams were also among the players invited.