WASHINGTON (CBSMiami.com) – A deal seems to be in sight to end the lockout between the NFL owners and the NFL players. If a deal can be struck, it would mean the NFL could open for business and start free agency and other off-season programs as soon as possible.
Negotiators from the NFL and the NFL Players Association are in Washington, DC and are said to be in deal-making mode.
The NFL lockout has been ongoing for months and both sides are starting to come to the realization that if they cancel pre-season games, it’s going to take a big chunk of money that could have been divided up amongst both sides.
And if fans were looking for more encouraging news, then ESPN’s Adam Schefter may have given them an early Christmas present.
According to Schefter via Twitter, the NFL sent a memo to teams Monday night that said for owners to be prepared to “stay overnight during next Tuesday’s NFL meetings in Chicago.”
Schefter also said on Twitter that the lawyers have finally been brought back into the process, but “this time its good.”
While this could be nothing, both sides have been reporting some progress and the relationship between the players and owners seems to be thawing after spending most of the spring in a deep freeze.
This was especially evident during a recent dinner with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith. The dinner was said to be very cordial, which is a change from both sides trying to vilify the other.
According to the Washington Post, the goal right now is to get a deal done before the July 4th holiday weekend. But, it’s still possible for the talks to unravel, the Post reported.
If a deal is struck, it would end the longest work stoppage in the history of the NFL. The lockout started March 12 after talks collapsed. The NFLPA responded by dissolving and then had players file an anti-trust lawsuit.
The lawsuit is stuck at the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals, but both sides seem to realize that it’s better to strike a good deal for both sides than rely on the courts to settle the dispute.
Any deal will have to approved by at least 24 of the 32 NFL team owners.