NFL Lockout: Deal Could Still Come By Next Week

Ah, the ups and downs of the NFL lockout coverage. One day, the two sides are nearing a deal that could be done within days and then the next day something has gone wrong and the talks are in danger of falling apart.

If you've been following the day-to-day coverage of the work stoppage, like we have, then it's hard to keep your head on straight with all of the conflicting stories.

But despite some of the doom and gloom of the reported slow progress being made, it's still possible a handshake deal is done by early next week, according to Mark Maske of the Washington Post. Lawyers for the two sides met on Tuesday and will do so again on Wednesday. On Thursday and Friday, the owners and players, as well as the two principals, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith, will reconvene to continue the negotiations.

Talks would extend into the weekend if there's enough progress Thursday and Friday. A handshake deal by early next week could be possible.

Maske also notes that, once a handshake agreement is reached, it could take 10-12 days to sort out all the details and return to football. So let's say a handshake agreement is reached by next Monday, July 11. That would mean free agency could potentially start by July 21 -- one day before the Rams and Bears open the first training camp of the year.

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