Welcome to chaos, err, draft day

Welcome to the chaotic world of the NFL where today could be unlike any other.

Sure, the draft is tonight – and we’ll get to that in a minute – but the labor situation is increasingly cloudy. If you missed it last night, Judge Susan Nelson rejected the league’s request for a stay of her decision to block the lockout.

The NFLPA thinks that means the NFL should be open for business – workouts, free agency and player trades – but the NFL is holding the status quo until it hears from the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals.

UPDATE: Looks like the teams will open their facilities for players and their workouts at 8 a.m. tomorrow, but transactions will likely wait.


Here are the rules that have been put in place:

1. Players will be permitted to use club facilities for physical examinations, rehabilitation and medical treatment, as scheduled by the club.

2. Clubs will be permitted to distribute playbooks, game film and other similar materials to players.

3. Coaches may meet with players for the purpose of discussing any materials distributed to players under item 2 above, as well as the club’s off-season workout program, its schedule of mini-camps, Organized Team Activities (“OTAs”), and other similar matters.

4. Voluntary off-season workout programs, including OTAs and classroom instruction, may begin subject to the rules in Article XXXV of the 2006 CBA and Appendix L. Participating players will be paid $130 per day, provided the player fulfills the club’s reasonable off-season workout requirements. Such workouts will count toward the requirements of any off-season workout bonus in the player’s contract.

5. On days during which no official off-season workouts or OTAs are scheduled under item 4 above, nothing shall prevent the club from permitting any player to use the club facility to work out on his own on a voluntary, unpaid basis during normal business hours, or such other hours as may be set by the club, provided: (i) there is no participation or supervision by any coach, trainer or other club personnel; and (ii) the club has first verified that the player has an existing medical insurance policy in place. Players without such personal coverage should not be permitted to work out at the club facility on an unsupervised basis under this item 5, but may do so under item 4 above. Unsupervised workouts will not count toward the requirements of any off-season workout bonus in the player’s contract. This item 5 will apply both prior to and after the commencement of the club’s official off-season workout program.

6. Mandatory and voluntary mini-camps may begin subject to the rules in Article XXXVI of the 2006 CBA.

7. The league office will promptly make arrangements to resume counseling, rehabilitation and treatment activities in connection with the substances of abuse and steroid programs. We will advise clubs as to when and on what basis testing will commence.

8. Players may participate in club-sponsored charitable and community relations events

With respect to player transactions (such as signings, trades of player contracts, terminations, tryouts, etc.), we plan to distribute to all clubs, likely tomorrow, a comprehensive set of procedures governing such transactions. This will include the timing for the commencement of the 2011 League Year, free agent signings and other customary player transactions.

The NFL could very well still be in contempt of the Judge’s order, but it’s unlikely the NFL will open for transactions at any point during the draft. They’ll risk what could be a substantial fine.

Onto the draft, which starts at 8 p.m. tonight.

Whatever you need, we have it.

My column this morning was about my suggestion that the team use it’s bounty of picks and fix the pass rush by trading up to draft North Carolina OLB Robert Quinn. I lay out the case for making the deal there.

We reported that the Patriots have talked to the Browns at the sixth pick about trading up. As ESPN previously reported, the Patriots have inquired about trading into the top 10.

I wouldn’t be surprised if the Patriots also had conversations with the 49ers (7), Titans (8), Cowboys (9), Redskins (10), Texans (11) or Vikings (12). The team could have significant interest in moving up, or they could just be doing its due diligence to see what it would take to land a slipping player like Quinn, or Marcell Dareus or Patrick Peterson or Julio Jones. Value would have to meet opportunity, obviously.


Do I think the Patriots will trade up? No, I don’t. They’ve never made that kind of jump before.

Also have my mock draft. I have the Patriots staying put and taking Cal DE Cameron Jordan and then Alabama RB Mark Ingram (both of whom are discussed in the Quinn column) although I think the Patriots will deal the 28th pick. That all depends on when the QB run starts. Some think early, I think late. Late would benefit the Patriots.

Here are some other Patriots picks in notable mock drafts:

Rick Gosselin (Dallas Morning News): RB Mark Ingram, OG Danny Watkins
Bob McGinn (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel): DE Cameron Jordan, OG Danny Watkins
Mike Mayock (NFL Network): DE Cameron Jordan, QB Jake Locker (trade)

Other items of note:

Should be a fun night. Rest up. We don’t want you dehydrating.

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