So just what pushed these lockout negotiations from a complete standstill to a deal nearly being done well before the season is scheduled to start? A cunning move by DeMaurice Smith: shortly after taking over as executive director of the NFL Players Association in March 2009, Smith got the players to buy into a secretive insurance plan that would pay every player roughly $200,000 if the 2011 season was canceled. Almost no one outside of the top NFLPA executives knew about the plan until Smith decided to disclose it recently when the negotiations looked ready to grind to a halt last week. It's a brilliant move to get the insurance, and to sit on it until a deal was so close yet so far from being signed. By sitting on it, Smith cut the owners off at the knees at a time when they'd b forced to react quickly. As a result, we could have football as scheduled for 2011. If everything goes smoothly and this thing gets done within the next week in a way that both sides can stomach, you have to give Smith some props for that move.Despite being reduced to a part-time role in New York last season, Keith Bulluck ranked as the 5th best 4-3 OLB according to Khaled Elsayed at PFF.
Shutdown Corner goes over something I mentioned a while back: as much as the NFL will try to punish players for misconduct and speaking out against he league during the lockout, they'll have a very hard time winning if the players take it to court. You just can't prevent someone from working and withhold their salary, yet hold them to the full standards of an employee.
More lockout news!
Former Titan, and favorite of Gramsey, Derrick Mason leads Joel Beall's list of the most underrated players.
Matt Bowen looks at the proposed banning of two-a-days under the new CBA.
Elliot Harrison at NFL.com gives his take on the current state of the AFC South.
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