It’s day 112 of the NFL lockout and like the 111 days before it, there is little to no football news to talk about. There is an interesting deadline approaching however. The week of July 15th has widely been discussed as the deadline in which a deal between the owners and the players union needs to be reached in order to avoid impacting the Hall of Fame Game on August 7th. Theoretically, if a deal is reached that week there will be enough time for free agency to run its course and for teams to have a full training camp. Based on everything I read and hear, both sides are intent on reaching a deal by this point and things continue to slowly progress. While that’s somewhat good news, it doesn’t change the fact that as fans, we’ve been twiddling our thumbs waiting for NFL news of a non legal variety for 112 days.
One thing we have learned during the course of the lockout, is that Ray Edwards and Sidney Rice will both be unrestricted free agents once it’s over. While I think the vast majority of Vikings fans have said their good byes to Edwards, the same can not be said of Rice whose loss could be devastating to an offense dependent on the progress of a rookie quarterback. The Vikings will have this in mind as they attempt to retain his services, but as the top wide receiver on the free agent market (assuming Vincent Jackson and Santonio Holmes quickly resign with the Chargers and Jets respectively) they’re going to have to overpay to keep him. With rumors that the Bears could target Rice, I worry that they could be in position to get the last laugh on the Bernard Berrian signing. I hope this isn’t the case, but upgrading a position while also weakening a division rival is something the Bears have proven willing to vastly overpay for (i.e. Chester Taylor). From Rice’s perspective, I have a hard time seeing Rex Grossman, I mean Jay Cutler as an attractive quarterback option in which to pair up with for multiple years, but the Vikings unsettled quarterback situation can’t look too exciting either.
To leave things on a positive note, maybe this thing is closer to over than we think? I doubt it, but one can always hope.
Judson Coleman may be followed on Twitter @Jacalope37