Theodore Olson, lawyer for the National Football League Players Association. (Photo: Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
It appears the end of the NFL labor issue is within sight.
According to several media outlets, sources are confirming that a deal could be made between the NFL owners and players in the next 7 to 10 days and that the new collective bargaining agreement could be ratified on July 21 during league meetings in Atlanta.
That time frame could end up pushing the season back slightly. That may also mean the cancelation of the Aug. 7 Hall of Fame Game between the St. Louis Rams and Chicago Bears. An agreement would likely need to be reached this week in order for the players to make it into training camp on time to prepared for the kickoff preseason game.
But that doesn’t seem to be a burning concern at this point.
What seems to be the most important is that the two sides are close to an agreement that would end the owner-mandated lockout that began March 11 and represents the league’s longest work stoppage. The two sides are scheduled to meet again Wednesday and Thursday with hopes of getting closer to a deal, according to ESPN.com.
This could all still fall apart, of course, because all parties aren’t and probably never will be completely happen with the new collective bargaining agreement.
ESPN.com is reporting that some players are concerned they are conceding far more than the owners, though the focus right now seems to be rookie salaries. Apparently the players have compromised the salaries of the rookies greatly, allowing the owners to slash their compensation to half. The owners are tired of paying top dollar for players who haven’t proven themselves and veteran players are likely tired of the same thing.
What is interesting is the players did not back down on allowing rookies to become free agents after four years. The exception, the report says, is quarterbacks drafted in the first round. They could receive five-year deals, but in the fifth year they would be paid an average of the top 10 players at their position.