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NFL, players close to a CBA deal?

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Owners and players agreed to a 24-hour extension of the CBA deadline as the sun went down last night. It was a positive sign for fans wanting something to do besides watch hockey and handle extended "honey-do" lists on Sundays this fall. According to Yahoo's Michael Silver, who has the scoop du jour, the two sides have made big concessions and are close to settling on a new CBA.

What probably happens next is that the NFL and the NFLPA will agree to extend talks by a week or two, building on progress made so far. The whole thing is still pretty tenuous and still collapse; there is no middle ground today. 

Silver's big scoop is a story in and of itself, given the gag order placed on the whole thing. The new CBA, as you would expect from a high stakes negotiation, has plenty to dislike and appreciate, but the most important take away is that football could be saved real, real soon. According to Silver's sources, the new deal would include:

 

  • More money off the top for owners, not the $2 billion they wanted, but more than the current $1 billion.
  • An 18-game season, with two fewer pre-season games and a some concessions to players on workouts, etc. That's a bitter pill to swallow, but it ups the total pot of money for everyone involved...except for the fans.
  • A rookie wage scale. Probably a good thing, and hopefully one that reigns in spending on top picks (high first round picks are the most egregious) without being as draconian as owners initially wanted, i.e. one that would ruin free agency.
  • The end of Judge David Doty's oversight of the whole thing, a big get for owners.
  • Health insurance for players in the event of a future lockout.

 

A number of things could still happen in the next 12 hours, but there's only two possible courses for the league after today: a new beginning or a bitter end. Silver says that if they agree to an extension, it signals that a deal is coming.