On Monday, the players and owners will get together again for negotiations, still in a position where a deal could come soon, but is not imminent. Last week, the two sides finally talked bout rookie contracts for the first time. It was tough, but NFL.com reporter Albert Breer feels that it is nothing more than "the normal flow of negotiations."
The issue of rookie contracts is something both sides want to change, but the two sides disagree. The players want free agency to be reached more quickly while the owners want smaller contracts and to keep these rookie deals long as a means of keeping costs down. If there is to actually be a sort of wage scale for rookies, the owners are going to have to expect that rookie deals are going to be shorter -- probably three or four years maximum (as after four seasons unrestricted free agency would apply)
As time continues to pass, we are reaching a stage in which the preseason schedule would have to be altered if a deal is not struck soon. Some have said that July 15 is the critical date in which a deal must be in place or football gets affected. We are still a little bit away, but talks must continue with the decision makers regularly. They need to put the time in they need to.
My prediction has been July 1. I am less confident that this will happen, but once the revenue split is sorted out and agreed upon, everything else should just fall into place and it should happen quickly.
Let's hope it does.