The current CBA between the NFL owners and players expires tonight at midnight, meaning that the lockout could officially begin in mere hours. I've been doing regular updates on the situation in the stream over at SBNation Philly, so I'd encourage you to check that out... but in the meantime, here's a general primer on what's been going on.
The two sides have been meeting all week, but little has come out about any progress toward a new deal. The players did win an important judgment over the owners this week, when federal judge David Doty ruled that the owners had not acted in good faith when negotiating their current TV agreement and could bar them from access to the $4 billion in payments the owners were due this year from the TV networks even if there were no football played.
The owners have formally offered to extend the talks past the midnight deadline and stave off the lockout vote, but the players won't agree to an extension of talks unless the owners make some concessions.
On it’s face, it may seem like the players are being petty in the face of a olive branch from the owners, but their demand makes sense. If the owners aren’t willing to budge on anything, then what would be the point of continuing discussions? The players want some sign that there’s hope for movement toward a deal if they’re going to put off de-certification or other measures to fight the lock out.
So while the owners have made a positive gesture here, they’re going to have to do more if they want to stave off of the midnight deadline.