Today was the unofficial deadline for NFL players and owners to have a new CBA complete in order for the 2011 pre-season to stay intact. While a deal isn't officially signed, things are looking very good that a new agreement is incredibly close at hand.
Albert Breer tweets that the major financial issues have been settled and just some minor details - which shouldn't get in the way of a completed deal - still remain:
Filed to NFL Network: Outside of some ancillary details, the economics of a deal between the players and owners are done...There are still plenty of other hoops for the sides to jump through, and important issues like the Legacy Fund, player safety left to cover....But getting the finances to the right place is, of course, a pretty big deal. It seems they've done that.
NFL.com has a more detailed story with the breaking news.
Rookie compensation was the last big hurdle for both sides but that has since been settled:
While the institution of rookie compensation system is a concession in itself, the players side gave a little more in allowing some rules preventing the renegotiation of draft pick's deals until after three years. The owners' concessions came on the price tag for the fifth-year option for first-round picks, which the players want paid at the top of the market.
Other details that have been reportedly settled:
The owners and players put several issues to bed Thursday before breaking for the night, according to sources with direct knowledge of the talks. Those issues included re-addressing the commissioner's power via discipline. A panel of former judges will oversee special master and other decisions, but specifically how commissioner discipline issues are appealed hasn't yet been resolved, though it's "trending" toward a decision, sources said.
Also, salary-cap details became clear -- the 2011 projected cap will be roughly $123 million, according to sources, but as a practical matter will "feel" more like $130 million to teams when cap credits and new cap exceptions are factored. And teams will have to spend, in cash, 90 percent to the cap minimum, and league-wide spending will be pegged at 99 percent to the cap.
Both sides still need to vote on the new CBA but the July 21st deadline set by owners for their vote is looking very plausible.
Nothing is official yet but all signs are pointing to a deal actually being done in the very near future. Rejoice!