The labor talks continue to ping-pong, with optimism alternatively replaced by pessimism, then optimism. And so with signs pointing to a possible resolution by the weekend, Sal Paolantonio of ESPN reports that progress is slow, and that the first week of the preseason could now be in jeopardy.
Per Paolantonio, lawyers haggled Tuesday regarding the terms of a rookie wage scale and a revised drug program. Citing two unnamed sources with direct knowledge of the talks, disagreement still exists on the key issues of dividing revenues and defining “all revenue.”
The news should come as no huge surprise, given that only the lawyers are present. Without Commissioner Roger Goodell, NFLPA* executive director DeMaurice Smith, mediator Arthur Boylan, the owners, or the key players, the lawyers are unlikely to make much progress.
That’s why Goodell, Smith, Boylan, the owners, and the key players need to get to Manhattan, sooner rather than later. If the parties merely had decided to suck it up and meet through the weekend, I’m convinced a deal would have been struck. Instead, the parties will be trying to recapture on Thursday, July 7 the vibe that existed on Thursday, June 30.
Much can change in a week, and the stakes are increasingly higher.
Hopefully, the parties will quit talking about hard work and start engaging in it. At $200 million per week in potentially lost preseason revenues, the two sides have every reason to get this thing done.