From the department of unscientific surveys, Mike Freeman at CBSSports.com checks in with five NFL players, getting their opinion on the deal. Apparently, they "can live with it." That's good news, though not particularly unexpected.
Dissent among hundreds of NFL players was expected throughout the lockout. Pundits believed that eventually some might start to crack, missing out on a free agent pay day. While there were plenty of stupid things said over the last three months, cracking never happened. That might have been a different story had the lockout cut into the season and players started missing game checks, but it does not appear that the lockout will get that far.
That a "random sampling" of players are fine with the outlined proposal shouldn't come as a huge surprise. Players negotiated it directly with owners over these last few weeks of hush hush settlement talks. Player interests are more singular than owner interests. Players get paid and they want their pay checks, their share of the league's revenues, to grow too. Free agency rules that benefit all players, from the superstars to the role players, will be back in place, and the rookie wage scale doesn't appear to cut too deeply into the pool of mid-tier free agents.
It's a little different for the owners, a much smaller group with a wider array of interests. Those rifts have been exposed in recent days with whispers of unhappiness among small market teams over revenue sharing. However, those grievances never materialized as a threat at the owners meetings this week.
And now we have the first word that players, the larger group of players, can make peace with what's being offered. That's a good sign. Eventually, we're going to have football again.