Judge Susan Nelson was appointed to the NFL vs. “NFLPA” case, and DeMaurice Smith’s original thought that the players had a good chance of winning the legal battle has proven—thus far, at least—to be correct.
In what was described as decidedly a “pro-players” couple of weeks in Minnesota, the judge decided that the lockout would be no more, and granted the players an injunction on Monday evening.
What does this mean going forward?
Well, the owners are sure to ask for a stay of the injunction to keep the players locked out as long as they can. Without a stay of injunction, the new league year essentially begins under the 2010 rules, which the players could probably play under forever.
This is good news for teams who want to possibly trade players in or before the draft. If the court gets in a quick ruling (I’m hearing it could be within a week or less, possibly 3-4 days) on the stay and says, “No, thanks,” teams could then go into the draft and trade player contracts, and possibly sign free agents.
The owners, from what I’m told, are not likely to be granted a stay, and they will most certainly appeal the injunction. Until their appeal is ruled upon, with no stay, the league will finally be open for business once more.
This is perhaps the biggest development of the entire offseason, and could be a huge step forward for the NFL as a whole.