Given the apparent proximity nearly everyone seems to think we have to a new CBA, I thought it might be prudent to make a Saturday night run through my favorite labor update sites to see if there would be any news from today's lawyer talks.
Boy, was I right to trust my hunch.
Come with me across the jump to get your Saturday Night Special Labor Update.
Profootballtalk.com was my first stop of the evening, and it yielded a few nuggets of "news" for us.
Gregg Rosenthal referred to "Casual Saturday" in his opener this morning, and he linked to Albert Breer's tweets about lawyers entering the building in their Saturday "golf outing" best.
About 40 minutes later, Rosenthal posted some rehash of what Chris Mortensen said on ESPN Saturday about the remaining issues to settle in regard to player health and safety issues.
...the two sides still need to figure out settlements in the remaining Brady antitrust case and TV money case.
Speaking on ESPN Saturday, Chris Mortensen also indicated that players "won't give in" on the remaining player health and safety issues still on the table.
We know about the reduction of OTAs and offseason practices. Mort also reports players want less contact during camp and to "basically eliminate" two-a-days.
At 1:23 pm EST, Michael David Smith got into a bit of what happened to the kerfluffle over the 18-game season?
Then Mr. Smith came through with a bit about the official NFL denials of the cancellation of the HOF game. I think we all saw this coming. Just attach a big ole ellipse and a "yet" at the end of all that text Smith put up there on PFT about what the NFL said.
In Rosenthal's post-Saturday talks, um, post, he links to another of the NFL Network's delicious Albert Breer tweets that reports all the final CBA details being worked out via telecommunication methods.
He closes it by letting us know what's next:
The slowing pace of things is a sign that both sides are comfortable with where things stand. The two sides will meet with mediator Arthur Boylan Monday evening and Tuesday. Breer reports those meetings could take place in New York, rather than Minneapolis.
At this point, it would be a surprise if an agreement isn't reached next week.
UPDATE: Boylan will meet with the parties in New York City.
But as my good friend Lee Corso of College Football Gameday likes to say, "Not so fast."
Barely an hour after that last post appeared on PFT, Rosenthal links to a Chris Mortensen report about Monday face-to-face talks between the players and owners.
Is this good or bad news? Depends - check out the actual words from Rosenthal:
This news seems to come as a small surprise to some. NFL outside counsel Jeff Pash told Albert Breer of NFL Network that the "principles" did their job, and that the CBA was in the hands of the lawyers now. The league's network reported no further face-to-face talks were expected to be necessary.
Something clearly changed in the meantime. We don't think there is any reason for fans need to panic, but it's a reminder that it's not a deal until it's a deal.
Consider this report lukewarm water.
UPDATE: More Mort: "Main point : NFL/NFLPA need more hard negotiations on unresolved issues when hoping tough stuff was over." He says there is still optimism for a deal by Tuesday or Wednesday.
The final word from PFT that I got on Saturday was this Rosenthal report on Chris Mortensen's report on some details of the soon-to-be-ratified CBA:
Per ESPN's Chris Mortensen, the new labor deal will be good for ten years.
Citing multiple sources familiar with the negotiations, Mortensen reports that the decade-long agreement will give the players somewhere between 46.5 and 48 percent of the revenue generated by the NFL. There is a specific credit for the players allowed if three new NFL stadiums are constructed, including one in Los Angeles.
The sides agreed on a format for free agency rules on Friday. Mortensen reports that the market will most likely open on July 25, following the three-day window for teams to re-sign their own free agents.
According to Mortensen, the owners have conceded to eliminate all two-a-day practices from training camp. Teams can instead conduct a helmet-less, non-contact practice in place of a second full-contact workout on the same day.
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From nfl.com, I bring you this video report from Albert Breer that went up at 4:57 pm EST. And here's Breer's spin control piece to stop the major hemorrhaging of the NFL and HOF executives over the rumors of the cancellation of the HOF game in Canton.
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And what, pray tell, did espn.com have for us as the cherry on the top of this Saturday Night Special?
Chris Mortensen's labor report that was updated at 8:25 pm EST, and includes a video. (I'm not sure when it went up originally.)
Here's the lead:
With the NFL closing in on a new 10-year collective bargaining agreement, owners and players will return to the negotiating table in a mediation setting on Monday and Tuesday to settle a handful of unresolved issues, according to sources familiar with the negotiations.
The rest of the story includes numerous details of the CBA, some of which were mentioned above in the PFT section, but at least here you can get it in one continuous sequence.
And th-th-th-th-that's all folks, I'm Hans D., reporting live on tape delay for CSC from my living room, bringing you all the latest on the NFL labor negotiations.