Over the last few weeks negotiations between NFL owners and players have produced a rollercoaster of emotions. One minute there was a positive update suggesting progress was being made, but shortly after reports of something negative drowned out all of the optimism. This seemingly never-ending cycle continued last week and diminished hope that a deal would be in place before the start of training camp or preseason games were threatened.
Fast forward to now and optimism from both sides is at an all-time high. Following a new rookie wage system being agreed to on Thursday, the two sides worked out a number of other issues on Friday, including if teams will have the right of first refusal on any of their unrestricted free agents.
Originally owners wanted three tags (for this year only) that would give them the right to match offers made to their UFAs. However, the players resisted the idea, even after owners suggested teams have only two tags instead. In order to move forward, the owners dropped the idea altogether and settled on teams having 72 hours to re-sign their free agents before the rest of the league has a crack at them.
While nothing is official until the owners and players sign off on the new CBA, all of the major roadblocks preventing an agreement have disappeared in the last 48 hours. As Albert Breer reports, all the two sides need to do is settle the litigation with the Brady v. NFL case and the TV rights case. To some that might seem like something that could be problematic, but Breer says this part of the process is "considered procedural." What that means is we could have an agreement on a new CBA in the next few days, and by next Thursday it could be ratified by NFL owners.
Obviously I'm not going to start celebrating too much until everything is official, but it certainly looks like this will be the last weekend without football goings-on until next February.
All I can say is enjoy the calm before the storm, because the fun is about to begin.