Last Thursday, the situation with the NFL lockout and labor negotiations looked pretty grim. Talks were seemingly falling apart and all optimism had disappeared.
Thankfully, this grim outlook lasted for only a few hours. The talks continued on into early Friday morning, and by the time the two sides went home for the weekend there was once again hope that a deal could be done sometime soon.
All of this leads to the negotiations taking place today and throughout the rest of this week.
The negotiations continued Tuesday morning in Manhattan. Legal teams and staff from each party are meeting Tuesday and Wednesday. They will be joined by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, NFL Players Association executive director DeMaurice Smith, Boylan, owners and players Thursday and Friday.
It is now July 5, meaning time is of the essence when it comes to getting a new collective bargaining agreement worked out. If a new deal isn't taken care of in the next 10 days, actual football events could be threatened by the lockout. The start of training camp would be in trouble, and it would only be a matter of time until preseason games are canceled. While that may not seem like a big deal, owners say that up to a billion dollars in revenue could be lost if the entire preseason is wiped out. Suddenly negotiations would become even more problematic and the threat of losing regular season games would become very real.
The reason July 15 is such an important date is twofold. For one, a new CBA won't go into effect the second it is agreed to. It will take time for all of the fine details to be worked out and for the courts to write off on it. Secondly, teams need time to sign free agents and would like to have a few OTAs before jumping into training camp. With the Bears and Rams set to begin training camp on July 22, preseason games will be threatened even if negotiations linger on a week past July 15.
To say it's crunch time for the negotiations would be an understatement. Usually by this time of year football fans, players and coaches are just waiting around for training camp to start. This year, everybody is waiting around for the lockout to end and a new CBA to go into place just so we can have free agency. Once that is out of the way the focus will turn to training camp, but only if a deal is done in the next week or so. If the two sides still can't agree on a new CBA by July 15, this battle could continue on throughout the rest of the summer.