How the Brady Lawsuit Affects the CBA Negotiations

As we've all been paying close attention (snicker) to the negotiations going on between the NFL and NFLPA, we all know that a new deal is likely on its way very soon and this whole labor dispute thing will be in the past. What some may have forgotten, however, is that there is still litigation pending in the federal courts. The Brady et. al. v. NFL lawsuit remains on calendar.

As a procedural matter, this doesn't mean a whole lot. Once the two sides come to an arrangement, they simply enter the settlement with the court, and file a joint request for dismissal, which will be granted assuming the court approves of the settlement. Where potential problems could arise is that each of the named plaintiffs in the case, including our own wayward Vincent Jackson, must approve of the settlement for it to be entered.

Why would Jackson, or any of the named plaintiffs refuse to approve of the settlement? Because they could possibly hope to extract some kind of special benefit. For example, in the aftermath of the 1993 labor dispute, the named plaintiffs in the players' anti-trust suit against the league were able to secure perpetual freedom from franchise tags. It's theoretically possible that Tom Brady or Drew Brees or Vincent Jackson could block resolution of the matter in order to gain free agency.

Will one of the plaintiffs do this? My gut says no. If the NFLPA and NFL agree that no special treatment is forthcoming, I don't think one of these guys would break from the pack and block the deal just to try and force it. They'd earn public ire, as well as ire from their teammates who would blame them for prolonging the crisis. If any of them is crazy enough to try it, though, Jackson would probably be the one. So everyone hold your breath.

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