The lawyers and staffs for the owners and the players were at it again on Monday, meeting for several hours, working on a framework for a new CBA once terms have been agreed upon. There is some hope that by July 21 that the current NFL lockout will be over and the offseason and training camps can commence. The lawyers and staffs will meet Tuesday once again and then the players and owners will return to the negotiating table on Wednesday.
The hope is that there can be an agreement in principle by the end of this week. That way on July 19, when the owners and players will meet with Judge Boylan, a settlement agreement can be reached and then there can be everything in place when the owners meet on July 21 so they can vote to ratify the new agreement and end the lockout that has entered its fifth month.
This is great news, but it is not without a lot of obstacles. Very little progress was made last Friday in talks and rookie contracts were much of the issues. The main thing that is holding things up in that sense is the length of rookies deals. Likewise, there are issues with the opening to free agency and the desire that teams have of being able to "tag" players to keep them, something like a right of first refusal where if a player agrees to a deal somewhere else, the original team could have the option to keep that player for those terms. If they refuse, though, there would be no compensation.
Such a notion could be "a deal-breaker" for the players.
Also, dealing with retirement benefits in the revenue split has yet to be worked out.
According to Clark Judge on CBSSports.com, sources including an NFL head coach has said this (bolding added):
Amid reports that an agreement could be reached as early as this week, a head coach on Monday morning said he's been told July 21 is the key date -- with owners expected to meet to ratify a new deal -- while a source with another club said he and members of the team's staff have been notified that training camp will open without a hitch.
It would be great if this happens, but there have been other reports stating that any date given is simply foolish. It is not a set date things will happen, but rather a goal that is in mind because the owners are meeting.
This would be one goal we all want to be reached, no matter what.