The court ordered resumption of the CBA labor mediation ended Wednesday and will not resume until mid May due to a scheduling conflict in the mediator’s calendar. Judge Jensen must surely have been aware of the mediator’s calendar when she appointed him, so it appears this is the end of the half-hearted effort to reach a settlement before Judge Jensen issues a ruling on the lockout. Which should come any day now.
For fans, this was basically a two week waste of time, further postponing the timetable for getting a new CBA signed. Neither party had any intention of reaching an agreement until the legal issues have been dealt with. After Jensen rules on the lockout, the losing party will appeal to the Appellate Court in Denver. That’s where this affair has been headed all along.
Jensen is expected to rule against the NFL owners and the owners expect to win in Denver. If Jensen rules against the players, they might as well fold their tents and humble on back to the negotiating table. Their core injunctive strategy will have been soundly defeated. If she rules against the owners, it’s off to Denver sometime in late July — about the time Training Camp usually begins.
Meanwhile, the 2011 NFL Schedule has been released. This would normally set off a lot of wild blogosphere speculation about what the 49ers win/loss record will be this year, but the response this year was mostly a shrug. Franchises with stable rosters and coaching staffs are no doubt engaged in this annual prognosticatory hootnholler, but the 49ers are not one of them. This team is in limbo until a Free Agency period commences and a QB can be acquired to lead the team in 2011. A capable NT to replace Abrayo Franklin wouldn’t hurt, either.
One thing is clear about the schedule, though. Any lost regular season games will hurt the Niners and help the Seahawks and Rams. Seattle has two tough opening road games, the Rams one, the Niners none. If those two opening games are wiped out by a lockout, it’s probably a two game swing in the standings against the Niners — the two games Seattle would probably have lost.
49er fans are doubly confused because they don’t even know how good or bad the current team is. Last season at this time, the team was favored to easily win the NFC West. Kerplop. Was the team just overrated or was the coaching just abysmal?
A few of the questions about the team’s roster will be answered addressed beginning next week with the NFL Draft. It’s no secret the Niners need a QB, CB, OLB, and NT. For the first, and perhaps only, time this off season, actual football news will have a three day run and a week or two of furious debate. It’s about time.