We've noted in various posts this week the rising level of optimism among the owners and players that a new CBA can be completed, perhaps as soon as the end of the month, ending the NFL lockout.
Here's more good news: Mike Freeman of CBSSports.com cites a source reporting that discussions on a new CBA are estimated to be 80-85 percent of the way done.
One source with intimate knowledge of the discussions tells me negotiations are 80-85 percent complete. They've made such fast progress, I'm told, it's catching many of the principals by surprise. Some are now canceling vacations, believing an agreement will be reached within a matter of days.
The good news doesn't end there. Freeman reports one source tells him that it would be "very difficult" to screw this up now. Apparently, the tone in the talks has changed dramatically where both sides are now truly negotiating.
The tone of the meetings has taken such a dramatic turn it has indeed been like a different set of gatherings. The players, I'm told, had no trust in anything ownership said during the initial mediation sessions but that has completely changed. Different proposals are exchanged almost daily. The two sides are, well, finally and heartily negotiating.
This is outstanding news, football fans. It's important to not only figure out a way to play the 2011 season but to also reach a long-term agreement that won't find us back in this same mess next year.
Stay tuned for more positive NFL lockout news.