It appears that that the NFL and the player's union will be unable to reach an agreement on a new CBA before midnight, so a lockout seems to be the likely next course of action. The first step is accepting the fact that football isn't a certainty for next season. But what comes after that?
The most commonly held belief is that the player's union will decertify before the midnight deadline, in an attempt to sue the league's owners for locking them out. But what exactly does that mean?
It's been reported that the NFLPA is leaning toward filing for decertification, which would effectively end themselves as an organized union. This would allow them to file for antitrust claims -- something unions are not allowed to do -- and file an injunction to stop the lockout. Essentially, this would potentially give them a leg up in the legal maneuvering we're going to see.
But why now?
First, there is a clause in the current CBA that says if they don't decertify now, they'll have to wait six more months. Decertification is one of the union's biggest weapons so there's no reason for them to wait until September to use it.
Second, it would potentially keep Judge David Doty under their jurisdiction, which is important because Doty has issued several player-friendly rulings over the years, including the latest TV contracts case.
Basically, decertifying would put a lot of pressure on the owner's to come to the table ready to make a deal. Because if they face a trial, things suddenly start to look a little bit more promising for the players.