After weeks upon weeks of negotiations in the NFL lockout, talks started moving quickly on Thursday. Friday morning, Mike Freeman of CBSSports.com wondered why owners were giving the players what they wanted all of a sudden. What happened?
Well, now we know. The owners just learned that DeMaurice Smith of the NFL Players Association had gotten insurance that would pay each NFL player about $200,000 if the NFL lockout were to result in the cancellation of the 2011 season.
Domonique Foxworth of the Ravens told the owners about the insurance on Thursday, and it seems that the owners realized that ultimately, they were ones who most needed the 2011 season to happen. One source from the players' side says that Smith was simply planning for the future by getting the insurance, rather than buying a trump card to play on the owners later.
"Players Association leadership looked into this as a last possible resort to keep players together in case games would be missed," one players-side source said of the insurance war chest. "It was never intended to be used as a bargaining chip or negotiating point until things became critical."
Still, the insurance may well turn out to have saved the 2011 NFL season. Well played, Mr. Smith.
For more on the NFL lockout, keep following this storystream.