NFL Network's Albert Breer is reporting that major progress has been made on what is supposedly the last major issue in the negotiations for a new CBA, the rookie wage scale. Now, to be fair, Breer works for NFL network and has been one of the relentless optimists that always seems to have "good" news to report (just like the owners want). He does have good connections, but after a full summer of this, I'll remain cautious until I actually see a deal.
Here's what he had to say.
"We want to be very careful about any ups and downs in this process; there are ebbs and flows to any negotiation," Breer said in a mid-afternoon report. "And yesterday wasn't a good day. The two days last week when the players and owners got together weren't' particularly good days. But it looks like they've finally rebounded. Players and owner have had a much more productive day so far today, I'm told. In fact, I'm told that they've made major progress in solving the rookie salary issue, which is the one big issue left on the table — or, at least, the biggest issue left on the table. And, they're only a couple of minor issues away from maybe solving the thing [the rookie pay scale issue] altogether. That's not to say that the thing would get done, but it is the biggest remaining issue on the table between the two sides. If they can get this thing fixed soon, it's possible that it could give them the momentum they need to close a deal.
"I'm very, very hesitant to use the word 'close' or anything like that here, but this is a big development," he continued. "Getting the rookie salary structure fixed would be huge for these two sides. They've been working for it for three weeks, and it's been a tremendously frustrating subject for all involved."
And it seems to be that the target is still to get a deal done by the time the owners meetings in Atlanta take place on July 21st.
[Update by JimmyK, 07/14/11 6:57 PM EDT ] - Per Schefter:
Filed to ESPN: two sides agreed to new Rookie Pay System. Still i's to dot, t's to cross on rookie system, but it's not impediment to deal.
[Update by JimmyK, 07/14/11 7:54 PM EDT ] - And some cold water from Mort:
Open issues to finish include right of first refusals on this year's FA class, workman's comp, settlement of Brady & TV damage cases....
Also open is NFLPA re-certifying as a union and more comprehensive arbitration system, minus judicial oversight.