In each of the last four weeks, the NFL and NFLPA* have met in undisclosed locations in order to attempt to hammer out a new labor deal. Per Albert Breer of NFL Network, they’ll be getting together again next week, in yet another undisclosed (at least for now) location.
And if the past trend holds, they’ll meet for two days before breaking once again.
Look, we realize that they’re communicating when they’re not meeting. And they’re likely making progress. But there’s no substitute for packing up bags and heading to a neutral site and sleeping in a hotel bed in order make real progress. Though marathon sessions could cause nerves to fray and tempers to flare from time to time, once the two sides accept the fact that they will continue to meet, every day, until a deal gets done, the two sides will move toward getting a deal done.
Besides, what other business considerations could be more important than getting the labor agreement finalized in time to have semi-meaningful free agency before the Bears and Rams open camp on July 22? It all sends a bad message to the fans by creating a perception that the parties are moving way too slowly.
Of course, there’s a chance they’re closer than they’re letting on, making round-the-clock meetings unnecessary. If so, they still need to be moving from handshakes to paperwork signed soon, so that the various courts can dot all i’s and cross all t’s ASAFP.