As the NFL and players representatives continue to haggle in New York, Baltimore Ravens veteran wide receiver Derrick Mason expressed confidence that a new collective bargaining agreement will be hammered out soon.
"Hopefully they’re working as hard as they can this week," Mason, a player union representative, told Ravens24x7.com today during his youth football camp at McDaniel College in Westminster. "Hopefully, they get a deal done this week or next week. I think it will get done soon."
Under that scenario, a full regular season and preseason are in the offing.
"I think there will be football," Mason said. "When? I don’t know, but I don’t think we’ll miss a regular-season or preseason game."
One potential complication that arose this week was the class-action complaint filed by a group of retired players. They feel left out of the labor talks and are concerned that their interests aren’t being looked after by the owners or the current players.
"They’ve got to trust that we’re going to do what’s best for the NFL, and the NFL encompasses all players, not just current players, but retired players as well," Mason said. "We’ve done a tremendous job of making sure that benefits have gotten better for the retired players in recent years. That would be crazy, asinine of us to cut those guys out.
"There are only so many seats at the table. They’re got to trust that we’re doing what we need to do to make sure that not only are we taken care of, but also the retired players. We’re going to be retired players one day soon."
Meanwhile, a frenzied free agency signing period will probably unfold as soon as the work stoppage is over. Teams need to sign veteran free agents, rookie draft picks and undrafted rookie free agents. Other transactions that will take place include trades and roster cuts.
"It will obviously be a rushed situation," Mason said. "Everything will be a little bit rushed, but I don’t think anything will be missed."