The next 24 hours will tell the tale about the immediate future of the NFL. After meeting together in the same federal mediation the two sides have been have engaged in for 9 days now, the NFL Owners and NFL Players Association ended today's negotiation after four hours, with owners headed to a NFL Owner's meeting 25 miles away in Chantilly, VA.
With the threat of a NFL Lockout still hovering around the negotiations, both sides added ammunition to the negotiations with all ten members of the NFL labor committee joining the talks along with players' union president Kevin Mawae along with New Orleans Saints' quarterback Drew Brees.
"We're talking," Mawae said when he left. "It's better than not talking."
What lays ahead is likely up to the owners. In their meeting they are likely to decide if they want to prolong negotiations or if they are serious about getting agreement sooner rather than later. The two sides could decide to extend the deadline a bit - the current CBA expires at midnight Thursday night - if there is a feeling that an extension would help get a deal done. If the two sides are set on getting everything they can, you can expect the deadline to pass, the owners to lock out the players or the union to decertify.
NFL general counsel and lead labor negotiator Jeff Pash reiterated that it is possible that the league and union could agree to extend the deadline for arriving at a new CBA.
"We have to see where we are. We've said that's an option. We're not taking anything off the table," Pash said.
Anything that keeps the two sides talking is progress