NFL players and owners have been making more progress in the last several weeks and it's gotten to the point where there are just a couple of key issues remaining, namely the rookie wage scale. As the two sides figure out the details of the rookie wage scale, ESPN reports that the key date in the NFL lockout right now is July 21.
There are league meetings in Atlanta on July 21 which is part of the reason for that date. 24 of the league's 32 owners have to approve of the new CBA.
As one NFL owner said this weekend, there's "no reason to believe it won't get done."
Other people familiar with the talks now think an agreement in principle will be put in place in the next seven to 10 days, a handshake deal that would allow each side to ratify the deal to start the 2011 season.
July 21 is when the two sides are hoping they could realistically come to an agreement. Supporting that idea is the presence of a document called "The Transition Rules" which is basically a guide for every team in making the transition from the NFL lockout back to the start of the league year, according to ESPN's report.
Under "The Transition Rules" it appears the goal is to ratify a deal by July 21 and open free agency on July 28. Though things would be hectic with training camp starting at the end of July, it would allow preseason games to go on as scheduled.
So it appears most feel a deal will get done and it will get done in time to save preseason.
Stay tuned for more NFL lockout news.