[Kansas City.com] The NFL’s player lockout may have ended, but Tuesday was still an uneventful day at Chiefs headquarters.
There were no reports of players arriving for work at the team’s Truman Sports Complex practice facility one day after a federal judge in Minnesota issued a preliminary injunction lifting the league-imposed lockout.
Chiefs guard Brian Waters told The Star on Monday after the ruling from U.S. District Court Judge Susan Richard Nelson that he would advise teammates not to report for work until there was some clarity to the situation.
The league has asked the judge for a stay of the injunction pending its appeal of her ruling. Nelson could rule on the stay as soon as today.
Chiefs players appeared to be following the advice of Waters, a member of the players’ executive committee.
The Chiefs had no comment on the situation and referred instead to an NFL statement that read in part, “We do not believe it is appropriate for football activities to take place until there are further rulings from the court. We need a few days to sort this out … ”
David Scupp, an antitrust lawyer for the firm of Constantine Cannon in New York, said it’s unlikely Nelson would grant the owner’s request for a stay.
“It seems to me there are two reasons the judge would issue a stay,” Scupp said. “One would be if she thought the league had a high probability of succeeding on its appeal or if it presented some sort of novel legal question to the court of appeals. I can’t imagine since she granted the injunction that she believes the league will succeed on appeal. I don’t see there being a novel legal question.
“The other consideration is whether the league would suffer irreparable harm if this stay isn’t lifted. I don’t think she’s going to think that either.”
If Nelson declines to grant the stay, free agency could begin within days. The Chiefs need to be ready to not only sign players but lose some as well. The Chiefs have 24 players without a contract for 2011, though not all would necessarily become unrestricted free agents.
The owners would be able to set the rules for free agency and most likely would settle on the rules from last year.
That would mean players with six or more seasons are unrestricted free agents, those with between three, four or five seasons would be restricted free agents and those with two or fewer seasons would belong to the Chiefs.
Under those guidelines, unrestricted free agents would be McGraw, wide receivers Kevin Curtis and Terrance Copper, center Casey Wiegmann, defensive linemen Ron Edwards and Shaun Smith and linebackers Mike Vrabel and Charlie Anderson.
Restricted free agents would be quarterback Brodie Croyle; running backs Tim Castille, Jackie Battle and Mike Cox; tight ends Leonard Pope and Brad Cottam; offensive linemen Barry Richardson, Rudy Niswanger and Ryan O’Callaghan; defensive end Wallace Gilberry; linebacker Corey Mays; and defensive backs Brandon Carr, Travis Daniels and Maurice Leggett. The Chiefs would have to make minimum contract offers to make these players restricted free agents. They are known to have done so with at least Cox, Richardson, Gilberry and Carr.
Safety Reshard Langford’s rights would belong to the Chiefs if the team makes him a minimum contract offer.