Current talks look like a final push to complete the deal


Now that I’ve had a chance to get the rest of the IV sedative out of my system and otherwise recover from Tuesday’s necessary evil (which wasn’t nearly as evil as I thought it would be), I’m ready to articulate my interpretation of the latest round of labor talks.

For starters, four days of negotiations are twice as good as two, and the willingness to double down indicates the kind of commitment needed to get a deal done.

The fact that the owners and players aren’t present strongly suggests that the process has moved from concepts to concrete, with the lawyers taking all the things on which the parties agree and creating the guts of a new Collective Bargaining Agreement.  At one point in the past few weeks, there was a report that the process was 80-to-85 percent complete.  The reality is that 85 percent or more of the expired CBA wasn’t in dispute in the first place.  The parties were focused on several big issues and a group of secondary matters, with much of the arrangement between them not in question.

Streamlining the process of documenting the matters on which they agree and ironing out the remaining areas of disagreement gives the parties a chance to present to the federal court in Minnesota the paperwork necessary to launch in earnest the process for approving the settlement of the Tom Brady class action as of Tuesday, July 5, the first business day after the Fourth of July weekend.  The fact that the talks are being held in Minnesota could be, in this regard, much more than coincidental or symbolic.  If they get the paperwork completed, they’ll be in position to file it quickly.  If they have questions about the format of the filings necessary to get things moving quickly for court approval, they can communicate directly with Judge Susan Nelson and/or her staff.

The decision of NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and NFLPA* executive director DeMaurice Smith to fly to Florida on Tuesday and return on Wednesday so that Goodell can speak at — and thus fully legitimize — the NFLPA* rookie symposium has much more meaning than we (I) first thought.  If this thing wasn’t close to being done, there’s no way this happens.  And if there was any reason to think a roadblock to resolution could happen, at a minimum the two men would have traveled separately.

I’m not just saying all of this because it meshes, sort of, with my prediction of an agreement in principle by Thursday, June 30.  Albert Breer of NFL Network says that “[t]he parties’ legal teams are expected to trade proposals on the framework of a settlement, in an effort to move the process toward conclusion, and they will intensify their focus on the key issues, most notably the revenue split.”  Also, deeply buried in Jason Cole’s report on the Carl Eller class action was this potential treasure trove:  “A source very familiar with the circumstances indicated that the lawyers were working on paperwork toward a possible settlement.”

We’ve suspected for two weeks that the process is much closer to completion than the parties are letting on, but that both sides wanted to avoid creating a sense that an agreement was inevitable, in order to allow the issues to be resolved without the weight of media and fan expectations — and without one side feeling compelled to give in if the other side decided to take a hard line as to any lingering issues.

As we’ve said before, it would be brilliant for the parties to announce that the situation has been resolved before the upcoming three-day weekend.  Though that may not mean the announcement of a handshake deal on Thursday, it could mean the announcement of a dotted-i’s and crossed-t’s legal document being filed in court on Friday.

That would be even better.  Since it would mean that a handshake deal already was in place, and that the parties agreed it was in their mutual interests to keep it quiet until the paperwork was complete.

27 responses to “Current talks look like a final push to complete the deal

  1. I’m not getting my hopes up…but if it comes to pass, I’ll be one happy football camper!

  2. You are rarely wrong, Mike. I hope this trend continues at least once more…

  3. don’t really understand why the announcement of a deal before the July 4th weekend would be “brilliant”. Hell, next Tuesday (July 5th) would be just fine for me and any date is okay as long as they get this mess done in time for camps to open as scheduled. What would have been “brilliant” would have been to settle this mess last Spring before anyone was locked out.

  4. Good write up Mike, I hope you’re right.

    If the deal really is this close to being done, it makes me hate both parties just a litle more because they could have hashed this out months ago and instead decided to go to court like A-Holes…

  5. I will also take Tuesday off from work should a deal get done because the hangover from the party to celebrate will be that bad!

  6. This is about the 4000th interpretation you have done involving players/owners/lawyers/NFLPA/lockout etc…..And none of them have proved correct or accurate, these articles are basically coming with a grain of salt now….

  7. I’m sick of this speculation already. Within an hour, the latest headline will read: “Deal Not as Close as Earlier Reported”. When you have concrete facts of progress then report it. Or better yet, when the first free agent is signed, report that. I’m sick of this roller-coaster ride. Find something else to report on!

  8. Who could possibly be voting “thumbs down” on the two above posts? The only people that wouldn’t want a deal done are soccer fans hoping to gain more fans for their sport.

  9. No chance. If they work out a deal then Demaurice Smith won’t be famous any more. No one wants to see that.

  10. Dude, MAN UP! Stop the whining. To quote from Kevin Costner’s movie, Robin Hood, “you whine like a mule.”

    I hope you’re right (and I think youu are)

    I need my football…

  11. “biggerballz says:
    Jun 29, 2011 9:04 AM
    finally we can stop arguing pro owner versus pro player arguments and go back to arguing why your team sucks and mine doesn’t.”

    lmao, one of my favorite parts of football. Can’t wait to smack talk with the Eagles and Giants fans. I would say the Skins but they’re no longer relevant to the discussion.

  12. If this deal gets done I’m taking the day off from work and head to the store for a 12 pack of beer and some chicken wings

  13. It aint over until its over…If Jeff Kessler is at the table he will treat the owners like Mike’s medical procedure without the drugs. Kessler will remain a problem until Dee tells him otherwise.

  14. Im going to get a lot of “thumbs down” for this one, but I predict July 4th is going to come, and past, and the we will still be in this mess. Thats just how the NFL works. They don’t care.

  15. who thinks they will announce to a agreed deal on the 4th and later say they had to get a deal done so they can play on 9/11(which should be a priority)……. the nfl and the pa is a P.R. machine even now, they prob have a deal in place and are sitting on it so everyone is talking nfl at their 4th of july partys

  16. Really?

    I didn’t think people were that stupid. Apparently they are.

    Chance this gets settled before game checks and gate receipts are missed: ZERO.

    Mid Sept at the earliest. Don’t buy into the BS about 85% of this being done. That’s the same 85% that was NEVER in dispute.

    Sorry. Just telling it like it is.

  17. nudeman says:
    Jun 29, 2011 11:16 AM

    I didn’t think people were that stupid. Apparently they are.

    Chance this gets settled before game checks and gate receipts are missed: ZERO.

    Mid Sept at the earliest. Don’t buy into the BS about 85% of this being done. That’s the same 85% that was NEVER in dispute.

    Sorry. Just telling it like it is.

    Way to be positive nudeman. Apparantly sitting naked in your must be privy to some information we dont’t know. Care to share your “mid-Sept” prediction?

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