As the NFL’s news cycle slows to an enlarged-prostate trickle, those of us who cover the NFL for a living will be scrounging for anything we can. Regardless of whether admitting it makes it OK (and I definitely admit it), there’s one specific type of news that should not be regarded as alarming, at least not in isolation.

In the coming days, there surely will be reports that a given team has yet to engage in serious negotiations with a given player who is heading to free agency. That doesn’t mean that the team is giving the player the cold shoulder and/or the shaft. It means that it’s very difficult if not impossible for teams to finalize their 2021 budgets when it comes to signing players unless and until they know what the salary cap will be.