As we stand right now, the NFL and NFLPA are meeting, along with a federal mediator, in their ongoing discussions for a new Collective Bargaining Agreement. The vast majority of people are predicting a deal won't be done, and many others predict there won't be an extension to the current deal.
So what happens then? There are a couple of significant moves to be made, starting with the NFLPA.
It's been reported that the NFLPA is leaning toward filing for decertification, which would effectively end themselves as an organized union. This would allow them to file for antitrust claims -- something unions are not allowed to do -- and file an injunction to stop the lockout. Essentially, this would potentially give them a leg up in the legal maneuvering we're going to see.
Decertification would have to happen by 5:00 p.m. (ET). It seems the most likely scenario at this point (though things can change).
There are two reasons to decertify now.
First, there is a clause in the current CBA that says if they don't decertify now, they'll have to wait six more months. Decertification is one of the union's biggest weapons so there's no reason for them to wait until September to use it.
Second, it would potentially keep Judge David Doty under their jurisdiction, which is important because Doty has issued several player-friendly rulings over the years, including the latest TV contracts case.
The owners reaction to this will be to call decertification a sham -- as they did in a complain with the National Labor Relations Board -- and that the players will still look and act like a union even though they claim they're not. They will also say the strategic advantage of decertifying is to stay in Doty's courtroom.
Until the NFLPA makes this move, though, we're stuck waiting again.