Jets Fans Shouldn't Hate NFL Lockout Too Much

No one likes labor issues, but the end result could really help the Jets

By Josh Alper
|  Tuesday, Mar 15, 2011  |  Updated 9:04 AM EDT
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Friday's news that the NFL owners and players were going to the mattresses in their fight for a new collective bargaining agreement was not particularly surprising.

Everyone saw D-Day coming and no one did much of anything to get in the way, so it was a bit funny to see Twitter and the web blow up with people's indignation at the outcome.

They aren't wrong to feel upset about two sides failing to come up with a workable solution to splitting up $9 billion, but it's kinda like tearing your hair out on April 15th because taxes are due.

You know what feels even stranger, though? Rationalizing a positive spin on the lockout because of what it might mean for the Jets in 2011. Thanks to the large number of key free agents on the roster, there was a bit of a desperation attached to their run to the AFC Championship Game last season.

We kept hearing that the team would either be able to sign Braylon Edwards or Santonio Holmes, but not both.

Antonio Cromartie had his ups and downs in his first year at New York, but the thought of losing him without an obvious replacement across from Darrelle Revis makes for a good reason to worry about next year's defense.

Brad Smith, Brodney Pool and others essential to making the Jets a deep and dangerous team are also set to hit the open market if a new CBA is put into place.

Now, though, there's a court case looming that, thanks to the NFLPA's decision to decertify, could wind up leaving the NFL operating under the 2010 rules. That means no salary cap and it means that some players -- Holmes and Cromartie, most notably -- would be restricted free agents closely bound to the team.

Even if that doesn't pan out, there's a high likelihood that the league will be in stasis well into what would normally be the offseason.

That means an abbreviated free agency season, and for many teams, a disinclination to make too many changes because of the short window to actually put a team together. For players looking for huge paydays, it would behoove them to play a one-year shot in a familiar system and set themselves up for a big score when things get back to normal.

The Jets are well positioned to sell that scenario. Their schemes have been established over the last two seasons and everyone knows that the current roster is able to challenge for the championship.

Money rules the day, but it's hard to imagine choosing a new coach and unsettled roster over that if the numbers are close. 

Hate the game that the Jets and the rest of the NFL are playing with the sport you love, but don't miss the forest for the trees. This can work out well for the Jets if everything falls their way.  

Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City. You can follow him on Twitter and he is also a contributor to Pro Football Talk.

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