For the other 31 teams not holding a parade at the end of the 2010 NFL season, the off-season (whenever a team reaches it) becomes prime time for those teams to think about the promising future -- to wipe the slate clean and imagine the personnel moves, the coaching hires, the draft picks it would take to become the last team standing in 2011. Unfortunately, fans this year will have to wait -- possibly for a very long time -- before they see enjoy that process.
Everyone knows about the looming labor situation to some degree and that the threat of a lockout (or strike) is looming. The owners are on recent record saying they're ready to make a deal and want to extend confidence to the fans that the NFL product is important to all, but you must keep in mind that everything is about public posturing in the hopes the public places pressure on the players. You'll see and hear the same things from your favorite players as the March deadline gets closer.
The reality is that with literally billions of dollars at stake, both sides will dig their heels in to make sure they protect their own interests. The owners will get their 18-game season. Meanwhile, players like Scott Fujita (the most recent example) will say there's no way that will happen. You get the point. With so much on the table, the level of greed is enormous, and while the average fan can grumble about rich people arguing with other rich people, we all must admit that human nature gets greedier when there's more at stake.
Thus, the NFL Draft in late April is the only event on the horizon that's guaranteed. The usual shifting of veterans for draft picks might not happen. The trading of picks for next year may not exist. The addressing of a team's needs via several avenues might be limited to whatever picks you have ready for the 2011 draft. Anything other than that is a total crapshoot. So Chiefs fans expecting an exciting off-season of rumors of how a surprising 10-win team gets better might want to find something else to do.