For outside observers, it may seem the NFL offseason is all fluff no substance. It's about gaudy contracts, free agents looking to be wooed and training exercises that are more of a grind than anything else. Why, then, would a potential NFL lockout have much of an affect if it ends before the 2011 season begins? After all, as long as no games are missed, the product will be just fine.
The focus today has been on the meaning of the NFL offseason, free agent signings, trades and training camps. Agents and players alike are championing the process of the offseason, and the impact it has on the game itself. Drew Rosenhaus, one of the power-agents at the NFL-level, took to Twitter to briefly explain how having a partial offseason, or no offseason at all, could prove problematic for the 2011 season.
March 4th is a key deadline for the CBA - no deal means no signings, trades, workouts, injury rehab, etc Next season would be hurt by this. We need a complete, functioning offseason in order to have a successful season in 2011 - can't just show up for the 1st game
In many way's he's right. A lockout stops the NFL dead in its tracks, with players barred from using the facilities and teams barred from working out contracts, filling out rosters and interacting with the players. In the event of a prolonged lockout, players would miss mini-camps, training camps and would be unable to participate in those preseason practices that can be so vital to a team.
Without the ability to sign or trade, teams are left working with what they have, while having to scramble whenever the potential lockout ends. At present, everyone is in limbo, with free agents facing uncertain futures and teams having only partially formed rosters.
So while the main concern is the games, a lockout that drags on through the offseason presents its own set of unique problems that could have an affect on the season. The whole situation is messy, and the collective bargaining agreement negotiations could have a ripple-effect that last long after an agreement is reached, whenever that may be.
For more on the CBA negotiations, check out our NFL lockout StoryStream.