According to ESPN's Sal Paolantonio, a settlement of the NFL's collective bargaining agreement is now on the "fast track."
NFL Network's Albert Breer hears Thursday will be a late night of ongoing talks, with 12 hours already in the books. At the current pace, ESPN's Chris Mortensen estimates a final agreement could be reached in 24-48 hours. Two hurdles are being cleared with the rookie salary scale and arbitration system overhauled. Still on the agenda: retirees benefits and this year's free agency rules. The best guess on the latter is a three-day exclusive negotiating window with no rights of first refusal.
Seems like NFL season will start either tomorrow or Saturday. Either way, owners have to bendover and take it so Friday seems reasonable.
ESPN's Chris Mortensen adds a few more items, such as workman's comp, NFLPA re-certification, a more comprehensive arbitration system without judicial oversight, and settlement of the anti-trust suit. It seems likely that free agency will have either a right of first refusal or an exclusive three-day negotiating window. The players have more vigorously opposed the former, which acts as a transition tag. Mortensen would be "surprised" if the owners win that issue.
ESPN's John Clayton reports the salary cap for the 2011 season will be $120 million.
NFL Network's Jason LaCanfora has the cap at close to $123 million with exceptions that will make it "feel" like $130 million. This year's cap will also come with a salary floor, adding a new element. Some teams will have to spend in free agency to meet the floor while others will have their hands tied near the cap. This news is the final touch in a Thursday chalk full of progress. As Chris Mortensen suggested, "Even skeptical participants among negotiating teams are almost stunned at momentum resolving [the] remaining issues."
We gotta spend alot of money.
Edited by ARSEN, 14 July 2011 - 10:21 PM.