The time is now for both players and owners to resolve the NFL labor situation and end the lockout in time for a 2011 NFL season to get off without a delay, a very costly delay. Talks between players and owners are continuing today, and Albert Breer from NFL Network has an update focused on a new motivating factor for both sides: the clock. So when could the talks happening now produce an agreement and why the urgency now from both sides?
Estimates - I would say conservative ones - put league revenue at $11 billion for the 2011 season. Missing the preseason would cost a billion dollars in and of itself (see, it's not so worthless after all). In order to make it go down as smoothly as it possibly can after three months of missed free agency, workouts and oodles of bitterness, most say that a deal would need to be done by July 15. As Breer reports, both league and player sources say there is a 4-6 window to negotiate and draft a deal to be formally approved.
Helping the process along, oddly enough, is the court system. All indications were last week, during the appeal of the lockout injunction in front of the 8th Circuit, that neither side would be satisfied with the outcome, potentially one that would allow the lockout to continue along with the antitrust suit. Lose-lose, everybody wins.
Be sure to read the entire update from Breer, who has done yeoman's work on reporting this whole mess in an accessible way, without contrived analogies, no small task in the current state of sports writing. Hopefully, he'll have a real, real big scoop to report in the weeks ahead.