It was several weeks ago that we heard reports the NFL wanted to try to get an agreement on a new Collective Bargaining Agreement in place in time for the start of the 2019 regular season. The incentive for the atypically early arrangement, in theory, was because the league did not want anything to dampen its plans to celebrate its centennial.
Even Commissioner Roger Goodell admitted that it was their intention to try to get that done. It was later countered by subsequent reports, denying that the league had made it a priority. Then a mid-July meeting between the NFL and NFLPA for which three days had been set aside was cut short after one.
There is now barely a month before the regular season begins, and it looks likely unlikely that such an agreement would be realistic, but according to Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk, the two sides are back talking again.
They were initially supposed to reconvene in late July, but it looks like that was pushed back a week or so. Florio reported yesterday that they had a Monday meeting, and earlier today reported that the two sides continue to meet for a second day in a row, which to my understanding is the first time this offseason that they had had consecutive meetings go through.
No further details were provided regarding the nature of these meetings, pertaining to what topics are being discussed or who is in attendance. When news of the last meeting came out, we were told that there were plans for some of the thorniest issues to be broached for the first time, and that some of the key figures in the discussion, such as Pittsburgh Steelers president Art Rooney II, would be present.
Will we learn more about what was discussed in the meeting later today, or in the coming days? Will they continue to meet tomorrow? How much further discussion will take place between now and the start of the regular season, and how close could they come to reaching a deal?
While that arbitrary deadline is not overly significant in the grand scheme of things, it would be beneficial for both sides to get a deal done and in place in time for the start of the new league year in 2020. While the current Collective Bargaining Agreement does not expire until 2021, its effects would be felt in 2020, as it would initiate an uncapped year and would also affect things like the franchise tag.
The last round of negotiations in 2010 and 2011 got rather contentious, and the broad belief was that the players got the short end of the stick. They will be fighting to get as much of it back as they possibly can this time around. With the NFL eager to avoid signs of labor strife, it may be the ideal time for them to maximize their take.