If the NFL Lockout, now well past 125 days, were a football game, we’d be late in the 4th quarter. With both sides bending on key issues over the past couple of days, the NFL Owners and Players seem on the cusp of reaching a new Collective Bargaining Agreement.
On Wednesday, the two sides agreed on the rookie wage scale and the salary cap for the 2011 season. A third issue, the owners desire to place the Right of First Refusal on 2011 free agents was seen as the last major obstacle. With players being granted free agency after four years, owners wanted some protection this year with well over 500 players set to hit the open market. The RoFR would give them that. The players, however, felt it would limit them and hurt their market value.
On Friday, the owners dropped the demand after it was agreed that once the new CBA was ratified and the Lockout lifted, the teams would have 72 hours to sign their own free agents. In essence, the last major hurdle was removed.
There are still issues to wrap up, and the retired players are still fighting for a seat at the table, but you get the sense that, now, with a deal so close, and fans getting less and less patient with the proceedings, that no side is going to wnat to put the breaks on the progress.