NFL Lockout > Owners APPROVE Proposed Labor Agreement, Now Up To The Players

~ The NFL has taken another big step towards ending the lockout which is now at 128 days. Mark down July 21st, 2011 as the day that the wheels offically were put in motion to end the work stoppage.The owners have approved the proposed 10-year CBA (collective bargaining agreement) and now the spotlight will shift to the players as they will now have to vote.

 This is clearly big news and from the way things are shaping up, the NFL may only end up losing one game off of their schedule. Training camps would most likely open by August 1st. The commissioner has announced that the Hall of Fame game (Chicago vs St.Louis) scheduled for August 7th will have to be cancelled.

 Communication can go a long way when the threat of games and additional money being lost. The players are going to carefully review the agreement before voting. However, they still must reform the union they decertified months ago.

 According to ESPN, Commissioner Roger Goodell and NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith have been in constant contact with each other to come to an agreement where if the players are prepared to vote to approve the proposed deal, they would work to recertify the union in time for the start of training camps.

 More news is expected to come fast and furiously on what the players are going to do. Any projected schedules that are being put in place can’t become official until they do their part. Football fans at least can feel comfortable knowing that football is as close to returning as it’s been throughout these 128 days.

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NBA 2K12 To Feature Three Legends On Their Cover

 ~ The NBA is coming off one of their more exciting seasons in recent history. Derrick Rose had a sensational year for the Chicago Bulls that ended up being an MVP year for him. Dirk Nowitzki erased any doubt that he is a big time NBA star when he led the Dallas Mavericks to an NBA championship. The season mainly featured the year-long storyline in Miami with Lebron James and Chris Bosh teaming up with Dywane Wade. Those are all valid choices to put on the cover of the upcoming NBA 2K12 video game. Well, the makers of the game decided to take the Hall of Fame route for the 2nd year in a row.

 Michael Jordan will return for the 2nd consecutive year to the cover of NBA 2K12 and this time he will not be alone. Fellow all-time greats Ervin “Magic” Johnson and Larry Bird will also get their own covers on the video game.

 The three stars will each have his own cover with the Bird and Magic covers being made available in limited quantity at launch. Jordan will once again be the primary cover star.

 NBA2K12 is expected to be released on October 4th and just like last year it won’t have any competition from EA Sports, their next basketball game will not be out until 2012.

The Potential Impact Of The New NFL Salary Cap

~ As the NFL gets closer and closer to the end of the lockout, teams are getting closer to the madness that will come once free agency starts. How the teams pick and choose through their list of free agents will be largely impacted by how much flexibility they’ll have with the 2011 salary cap of $120 million. There are quite a few teams who are presently over the cap or not too far under it. This means only one thing, there is going to be quite a few big name cap casualties.

According to John Clayton of ESPN, quite a few high profile names are going to be up for discussion when it’s time for teams to decide who stays and who leaves.

The New Orleans Saints are actually $11.7 million under the cap. They also have a high profile running back on their team named Reggie Bush who is scheduled to make $11.8 million this year. Bush might be saying all the right things lately to help assure himself of staying in New Orleans however he could very well be on his way out the door.

A change of scenery might actually do Bush some good. The Saints drafted him with high expectations after his electrifying college career at USC. That was six years ago though and the old saying goes that the real definition of the NFL is NOT FOR LONG.

 Bush has shown flashes of what he can do and he’s also been injury prone. The Saints went out and drafted running back Mark Ingram and that was an early sign that they maybe ready to withdraw from their investment in Bush.

 Bush is only 26 years old and quite a few teams could be in a position to add him and for the money that he may no longer be able to get in New Orleans.

 Bush should strongly consider moving on to another team. In this league with the way the salary cap is now going to be structured, players like Bush are going to have to maximize the best out of their long term contracts. He may only have one more left to get and it’s looking like it wont be in New Orleans.

 Where quarterback Vince Young ends up could depend on if he has matured any during his time away from the field. He couldn’t get on the same page with his former coach Jeff Fisher and that led to the  his placement on the potential cap casulaty list.

 If Young’s tenure with the Tennessee Titans is over (and all signs point to that being the case), it could clear up close to $12.8 million in cap room for the team. The Titans are currently $10.3 million under the cap.

 Young is in the same boat as Bush, he’s still young and came into the league with a lot of hype based off a succesful college career. He just has not been able to turn that hype into professional success yet. Young has shown flashes, now it’s time for him to show consistency.

 Just like in the case of Bush, there might not be room for another long term contract with the only pro team he’s played for. He’ll most likely have to do this with another team.

 

 There are some other interesting storylines to watch for that will result from teams who are already over the cap.

 The New York Jets have made the AFC championship game two seasons in a row. They’ve done well to surround their young quarterback Mark Sanchez with the right amount of pieces on offense. Braylon Edwards, Santonio Holmes, and Brad Smith played large roles in their passing attack and on special teams and all three of them are up for new contracts. That’s a problem for a team that is $1.2 million over the cap and also have other roster signings to make.

 Most likely one of those three are going to be making big plays for another team. Edwards and Holmes are going to want to test the market to see if they can land a big money offer from another team. Smith’s stock is rising because of his versatile skills set.

 With the season just around the corner from starting, the Jets will have to move quickly and move smart. Randy Moss and Plaxico Burress are looming as potential free agent targets who could replace either Edwards or Holmes at an affordable price.

 The team that shares the same stadium with the Jets are also going to be in a race to get under the cap. The New York Giants are $11.3 million over the cap and still have to decide what to do with their running back free agent to be Ahmad Bradshaw.

 Bradshaw is reportedly getting interest from the Miami Dolphins which also happens to be where his agent is based and where he’s been training. How quickly the Giants can execute their plans to get under the cap could impact what happens with Bradshaw.

 I couldn’t help notice the Tampa Bay Bucs when looking at the list of teams that are under the salary cap. Being under the cap by a good amount could lead to an exciting time for a team’s fanbase. The Bucs are $59.2 million UNDER the cap. The Bucs should be big time players in free agency once the lockout concludes.

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