Last Wednesday, NFLPA executive director De Smith met with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. Now, Smith is involved in meetings with a broader set of individuals.
Smith, we’re told, is meeting with the league this week. It’s unclear how many days this week will be devoted to the sessions. The full roster of attendees also isn’t known.
It’s also unclear why he thinks it makes sense to talk, given this quote from Smith that appeared in Sunday’s New York Times: “Nobody talks their way to a good deal.”
On January 16, FOX’s Jay Glazer reported that a full-blown bargaining session would occur either that week or this week. Apparently, it ended up being this week.
The meetings occur at a time when the league and the union continue to snipe at each other in the media from time to time, and roughly two weeks after the NFLPA filed a collusion claim that the union still refuses to publicly acknowledge.
Also on Monday, a report emerged as to recent comments from Falcons owner Arthur Blank regarding the league’s desire to get cracking on the negotiations.
“I’m hoping they will accelerate,” Blank said, per D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “The Commissioner is prepared to go 24/7. The Commissioner and the negotiators that are involved are ready to do whatever it takes. Throwing themselves in the room, throwing away the key and have them feed them food under the doors, whatever it’s going to take . . . we need to get the NFLPA to step up with the same sense of urgency to make that happen.”
That “lock-in” approach previously has been suggested by the union. With both sides interested, it now seems like they should be able to get in the room together and get cracking on getting a deal done.
Hopefully, they’ll make some real progress before next week, when the dueling NFLPA and Commissioner press conferences could result in new rhetoric that causes any strides made this week to possibly come undone.