Ruling could open trade doors for Panthers

With the NFL draft only a little over 72 hours away, things just might have gotten a lot more complicated and, in some ways, more simplistic.

Chris Mortensen reports that a judge has granted a motion for a preliminary injunction in favor of the players, who have been locked out by owners since March. Mortensen also reports the NFL is expected to file a request for an immediate stay of the order.

We’ll leave that up to the legal community to sort out. But this could mean the end of the lockout and that’s going to make things very interesting if it officially takes place before the draft. Potentially, an end to the lockout could open the door for player trades and free agency. Both of those areas have been frozen throughout the lockout.

I talked to Carolina general manager Marty Hurney a few minutes before the news broke and he said the Panthers still haven’t made a final decision on what they’ll do with the No. 1 overall pick in Thursday night’s draft. Hurney said the Carolina scouts were in today for a series of meetings and there will be more meetings with coaches tomorrow.

Hurney also said he wasn’t sure if the Panthers would wait until they're on the clock Thursday night or indicate their plans before that. But I’ve got a feeling that if the lockout is indeed lifted, the Panthers absolutely will wait until they’re on the clock to show their intentions.

They’d be foolish not to. If players suddenly are available to be included in trades, the Panthers could be getting some phone calls they probably should at least listen to.