With the lockout looming Thursday night, the NFL and the NFLPA came together and finally agreed on something, as they both agreed to extend the deadline by 24 hours in the hopes that an agreement can be made. This extension comes after the two sides have finally started to make some headway in their negotiations.
According to reports, the two sides narrowed the financial gap between them by roughly $5 million per team per year. While this is progress, the gap still remains around $25 million per team or around $750 to $800 million total.
In additional efforts to get this deal done, Federal mediator George Cohen reportedly already has gotten the union to agree to a 7-to-10-day extension on labor talks, but still awaits the owners’ response. If no further extension is agreed upon, it is likely that the NFLPA will file for decertification, opening the door for the players to file an antitrust suit against the NFL.
"We just know right now that we granted a 24-hour extension," Indianapolis Colt’s Jeff Saturday said as he and Steelers quarterback Charlie Batch left the session.
Though the deadline has been extended for negotiations, it does not mean that the NFL is still open for business as one of the clauses for this extension is that teams no longer can cut, re-sign players or make any player moves beyond Thursday, until there’s a new CBA. Officially, the NFL year has ended as the current CBA has expired.
If a one to two week extension isn’t granted and the players union decertifies, it will be the first work stoppage since 1987 for a league that rakes in $9 billion a year.
"I don’t see how we can be that close right now unless somebody is going to pull a rabbit out of the hat,” Washington Redskins player Vonnie Holiday said. “I just don’t see it."