What seven-day extension means in West

A few NFC West-related thoughts now that NFL owners and the players' union have bought another week to work toward a labor agreement:

  • Imagine getting to press pause on the world around you while tying up loose ends. NFL teams will continue prepping for the draft, as usual, so they'll be busy. But with a moratorium on roster transactions, teams do get a chance to plan and reassess. Players cannot sign new deals. Teams cannot speak with agents for projected free agents from other teams. But rules allow teams to hold discussions with their own players' agents. That seems like a plus.

  • On the other hand, teams spent the last several months scrambling to prepare for a lockout. They also had to be prepared, just in case, for free agency to open Friday. They've been preparing contingencies. Smart teams wouldn't have much left to do at this point, anyway.

  • Players looking forward to free agency have extra time to reflect on their options. If things were getting tense as free agency approached, perhaps the down time will help cooler heads prevail. And if a labor agreement gets done, some of the chill between management and players should melt off.

  • The agreement to extend labor talks makes a resolution seem far more likely. I'd be surprised at this point if owners and players didn't work out an agreement in principle next week. That would come as fabulous news for NFC West teams after a season filled with turnover. The San Francisco 49ers stood to lose the most during a prolonged lockout. They have a new head coach, new coordinators across the board and no starting quarterback. Three of four NFC West teams have quarterback issues. The other one, St. Louis, has a new offensive coordinator, Josh McDaniels, working with its prized quarterback. Getting a deal done before the draft would allow division teams time to install schemes and work toward improving their rosters, a huge benefit.

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