Poor Rodger Goodell. He went and did the hired goon work for NFL owners, and now even some of his masters are turning on him. ESPN's Adam Schefter reports that there is dissent among a "handful" of owners who do not like the terms of the current labor deal being negotiated. Will that be enough to scuttle the progress...and the 2011 NFL season?
It sounds as though, based on Schefter's report, that the deal will get torpedoed. The extra time being planned for at the owners meeting in Chicago next week is going to be used to garner support from reticent owners, rather than vote on a deal as was once thought. Of course, lobbying is a two-way street. Those upset owners, at least two of which are from the AFC, could try and turn nine parties into "no" votes, which would be enough to scuttle the deal when it comes up for a vote. Owners need 24 of 32 to approve.
Another thing worth noting in Schefter's report, is that the two sides have tentatively agreed to a timeline for free agency, training camp, etc. which would allow those things to move forward before the deal is actually signed on the dotted line. No word on what exactly that timeline is, but Schefter gives some indication:
One NFL executive has been urging the league for weeks that, in order for the full preseason schedule to be played, an agreement between the NFL and NFLPA would have to occur no later than July 14.
If business got underway on that date, that would leave the St. Louis Rams about a week before they are scheduled to start training camp, which starts early because of their date for the Hall of Fame Game on August 7. That timeline seems pretty tight to make that happen, considering teams haven't been near their team facilities, except for a brief day in late April, for a long, long time. The Rams regular preseason schedule kicks off on August 13 at home against the Colts.