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Fifth day of talks is a “big day” for progress

Goodell_Smith AP

In response to multiple reports that the NFLPA has decided to cancel a key meeting with a select group of agents on Thursday in Indianapolis to allow the union to devote Thursday to the ongoing talks, we’re told that the move came because Tuesday, the fifth straight day of negotiations, was a “big day” at the bargaining table.

Liz Mullen of SportsBusiness Journal initially reported that the meeting with a hand-picked collection of agents won’t occur, due to the ongoing negotiations.  Mark Maske of the Washington Post has confirmed the news.

We’ve confirmed the confirmation, for what that’s worth.  Coupled with the news that some sort of a breakthrough occurred on the fifth day of the talks, there’s reason for optimism as the deadline for getting a deal done approaches the single digits.

The Thursday meeting with a small group of agents would have served as a precursor to Friday’s all-hands meeting with every certified agent, and it would have entailed union leadership reviewing key issues with the agents before sharing information with all of them.

The NFLPA typically conducts an advance meeting with some agents on the Thursday of the Scouting Combine before conducting the larger meeting on Friday.  This year, the NFLPA has made the Friday meeting mandatory for all contract agents.

Scant details remain available regarding specific areas of progress and/or the basis for Tuesday’s breakthrough.  Our guess is that, after spending the first few days focused primarily on reaching agreement  on issues about which there is less controversy, mediator George H. Cohen focused the two sides on one or more of the core issues:  (1) carving up the financial pie; (2) length of the regular season; (3) the rookie wage scale; and (4) the ability of U.S. Judge David Doty to resolve future disputes regarding the terms of the contract between the league and the union.

The decision to cancel the Thursday meeting with the agents means that, barring an unexpected turn, the two sides will continue to negotiate through Thursday, fulfilling their agreement to meet for seven straight days, which came out of the blue after more than seven days of no meetings.

It’ll be interesting to see how the union plans to handle Friday’s all-hands meeting with the agents.  With the two sides committed to discretion, it will be impossible for the union to provide a meaningful update without risking that someone will blab.

Also, the fact that the parties agreed to meet for seven straight days doesn’t mean that they’ll definitely break after Thursday’s session ends.  Cohen surely would prefer to keep the process going, if progress is being made.  And if progress is indeed being made, there’s no reason to pull the plug and give the two sides a chance to cool off.

Though it remains too early to expect to see a puff of white smoke emanating from the chimney (if there even is a chimney) at the offices of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service in D.C., the best sign of real progress will come if/when the two sides announce that they have agreed to extend the current deal for two or three weeks to permit further talks.  If/when that happens, the question of “if” a deal will be done reasonably can be replaced with “when”.

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22 Responses to “Fifth day of talks is a “big day” for progress”
  1. scytherius says: Feb 22, 2011 6:11 PM

    Keep (what seems to be) the good news coming!

  2. joecoz17 says: Feb 22, 2011 6:14 PM

    don’t stop until its finalized

  3. j0esixpack says: Feb 22, 2011 6:29 PM

    …. and on the Seventh Day, God said, “Let there be a CBA”

    And there was… and it was good.

  4. oldhamletman says: Feb 22, 2011 6:32 PM

    uber rich arrogant kids vs. uber rich arrogant suits… can’t wait to see who wins

  5. rolltide510 says: Feb 22, 2011 6:35 PM

    I predict this ends with the union getting just enough “concession” to declare victory, and fairly soon.

  6. brutus9448 says: Feb 22, 2011 6:47 PM

    Anyone know if daboll runs an offense utilizing the TEs? It seems like double TEs are becoming the norm in the NFL.

  7. FoozieGrooler says: Feb 22, 2011 6:50 PM

    Unfortunately, it seems other sources are claiming 18 games is a done deal.
    I hope not…

  8. mayfieldroadboy says: Feb 22, 2011 6:55 PM

    There will be football. Each side will concede just enough to claim victory. No winners here; but I feel it will be the fans who come out on the short end of that “schtick”.

  9. 2011to2020lions says: Feb 22, 2011 7:11 PM

    Well this is the best thing I could have heard today. Finally these two sides are acting like adults!!! Lets hope this is the beginning of a finished deal, and there is no interruption to our off-season. GO LIONS!!

  10. johnnyb216 says: Feb 22, 2011 7:15 PM

    Thats right, baby! Lets power through this just like the Green Bay Packers powered through the playoffs to won Super Bowl XLV!

  11. renaissanceman87 says: Feb 22, 2011 7:21 PM

    “Anyone know if daboll runs an offense utilizing the TEs? It seems like double TEs are becoming the norm in the NFL.”

    ___________________

    ^Is it possible that this might be the first PFT comment to be viewed by thousands of pairs of eyeballs, and not receive a single thumbs up?

  12. hooterdawg says: Feb 22, 2011 7:24 PM

    ” Our guess is that, after spending the first few days focused primarily on reaching agreement on issues about which there is less controversy, mediator George H. Cohen focused the two sides on one or more of the core issues”

    Duhhh….

  13. steelergold says: Feb 22, 2011 7:49 PM

    7 days locked in a room with Goodell and I’d agree with about anything……. just to get the heck out.

  14. idriveamoped says: Feb 22, 2011 8:00 PM

    Each day that passes is making me think more and more there wont be a salary cap. I don’t know why I am thinking that, but for some reason I wouldn’t be surprised if there was no Salary cap.

    As someone above said, its going to be a win/win except for the fans, and no Salary cap would be a big slap in the face.

  15. bradjames33160 says: Feb 22, 2011 8:02 PM

    I hope the CBA is done on time. I would love to see my Broncos have a chance to get into camp early and make some progress. GOD BLESS GEORGE COHEN if he can get this done. He will be the patron saint of the NFL forever more if successful!

  16. lasher1650 says: Feb 22, 2011 8:10 PM

    I live in St Louis, between this and the Pujols contract drama I am extremely mentally fatigued with off-field drama. Please NFL, get this done and cut my sports woes in half.

  17. freedomispopular says: Feb 22, 2011 9:10 PM

    After 5 days, they just finished saying “Hello.”

  18. thefiesty1 says: Feb 22, 2011 9:20 PM

    A breakthrough on the fifth day??? Yes, they all figured out that their ALL making too much money (players and owners alike.

  19. badleeroy says: Feb 22, 2011 9:22 PM

    I have to give you credit for the “choosing the pope” reference in relation to the ongoing negotiations. Good stuff.

  20. chedberg says: Feb 22, 2011 9:27 PM

    “We’ve confirmed the confirmation …”

    When did this become an ESPN site?

  21. bensstinkyfingers says: Feb 22, 2011 9:52 PM

    Man, I just hope they agree to drop the prices of stadium beer and nachos, and to ban those annoying terrible towels.

  22. rcali says: Feb 22, 2011 10:25 PM

    No matter what their agreement is one thing is for sure. It’s only going to cost the customers more.

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