The NFL lockout inches toward its one hundredth day and, despite the fact that we don't have a deal yet, there's some slight optimism in the air. Owners and players have met multiple times in the last two weeks and plan to do so again this week in the hopes of finding some common ground upon which they can begin to frame an agreement for a new Collective Bargaining Agreement.
Peter King of SI.com lays out the basics of what's been going on at those meetings. The owners and players are meeting -- without lawyers -- in smaller groups to nail down specific issues such as the health and safety of the players, the timeline of the offseason program and player retirement.
King writes that the two sides are making progress, but a deal isn't imminent.
Look for the talks to continue this week, somewhere. But don't expect a resolution imminently. The CBA is long and tedious, and each side is going over every sentence, even without the lawyers in-house. "It'd be a mistake to think it's certainly going to happen,'' said one source. "There's a long way to go. But instead of people yelling at each other, trying to score debating points, now people are sitting down and talking to each other, trying to solve a very involved case. That's progress.''
I'll take any shred of good news I can get and the two sides talking is good news. The Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals is expected to rule sometime in the next few weeks so, ideally, the two sides come to an agreement before that happens.
Various reports are indicating progress is being made and even shooting for some type of agreement by mid-July. We've heard this before but this time it feels real. Let's hope the momentum continues and, shortly after the Fourth of July, we're celebrating a new agreement.