Owners and players reps continued their “secret” talks on Wednesday, the third week of such meetings between the two sides, but just how much progress has been made remains unknown. After a number of optimistic reports suggesting that both sides were truly intent on negotiating on Tuesday, talks hit a bump in the road--judging by reports, a rather large one.
One source close to the negotiations told ESPN on Wednesday, “This almost blew up yesterday.” The near-explosive climate led NFLPA Commissioner DeMaurice Smith to tell his lawyers to “stand down,” leading many to believe that the two sides will try to hammer out a new CBA without the aid of attorneys.
Some see this as a positive sign that a new deal will be worked out in time for training camp and a full preseason, and regular season schedule. However, even those who are optimistic about the talks are tempering their optimism, saying, in effect, that though progress is being made, there’s a long road ahead of the owners and players in the way of negotiations.
The only problem is, it’s mid-June, and there’s not really much room for prolonged negotiations--more or less, the window is closing. Saints’ quarterback and player rep Drew Brees told the AP this week that the reality of this has given the two sides a newfound sense of urgency.
"The general understanding from everybody is that if we don't have something done by July,” Brees said, “it would be hard to start on time.”
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