The NFL and the NFLPA have concluded their 7 days of negotiations and while fans and players alike await for the announcement that a new CBA has been agreed upon, they will have to wait awhile longer.
According to mediator George Cohen, “Some progress was made (over the last 7 days) but strong differences remain“.
Not a good sign for those wanting to see football kick off next week with free agency. Cohen said that both sides have agreed to meet next Tuesday to resume mediated negotiations. Tuesday would be the 1st of March meaning that the start of the NFL league year would be only 3 days away and that barring some miracle two days of negotiations, a labor agreement will not happen.
The question then becomes whether or not the two sides have become close enough that the owners see no need for a lockout. If the owners decide that they are too far apart or are being asked to give up too much, then all of this will be for naught as the owners will likely lockout the league. If that happens, talk of negotiations will turn towards the NFLPA disbanding. In that event, it would be likely that the players would file a lawsuit to stop the lockout.
Regardless, it doesn’t look good for the two sides to come to an agreement in time to see a regular schedule to the start of NFL free agency. It should be noted that when the last CBA was agreed upon, the night before free agency was to start, the NFL and the NFLPA delayed the start of the league new year for 3 days while parties came together to ratify the deal. A deal that the owners opted out of two years later.