With the league coming closer and closer to the expiration of the current Collective Bargaining Agreement, and the league threatening a lockout, the NFLPA is reportedly ready to make a move that would take the battle from mediation to the court rooms. As Adam Schefter of ESPN originally reported, the NFLPA is supposedly planning to decertify by the expiration of the league's current labor deal. Mike Florio of PFT expanded on the issue further:
With five days until the current labor deal expires, the league's leverage remains the launching of a lockout if a deal isn't done by March 4. And the union's only leverage - for now - arises from decertification, a strategy that if successful would block a lockout and guarantee the continuation of football while the two sides settle their differences in court. The union can't waver now on its plan to decertify, just as the league can't waver now on its plan to lock the players out.
Put simply, the concept of nuclear deterrence doesn't work unless the two sides have big-ass missiles pointed at each other.
So as the parties prepare to reconvene Tuesday, they both realize that their ability to negotiate the best possible deal disappears if the opponent doesn't believe that the worst-case scenario is ready to be deployed. The union knows the league will impose a lockout, and the league knows the union will try to block a lockout with decertification.
I'm no legal expert, but things are certainly going to get tricky from here on out. I think the only way for both sides to avoid going to court will be for the NFL to extend the current labor deal, at least for several weeks. Both sides, as Florio explained, have "revealed their guns." As NFL fans, we can only hope nobody fires.