Pro Football Talk is reporting that the NFL Players Association and the NFL owners are on the verge of extending the deadline for negotiations once again, possibly for another week or more. The two sides agreed to a 24-hour extension yesterday in order to avoid a lockout by the owners and/or the decertification of the NFLPA.
If the NFLPA still plans on decertifying itself in order to avoid a lockout, the deadline for that is at 3 PM Central time this afternoon. Otherwise, the NFLPA would not be able to decertify itself for six months.
As things stand now, all league transactions have been halted, as yesterday did mark the end of the league year, if not the end of the negotiations for a new Collective Bargaining Agreement. So, there will be no more player signings, player trades, player releases, or any other transactions until such time that a new CBA is hammered out.
Michael Silver of Yahoo! Sports is under the impression that a deal is "highly achievable."
Sources on both sides of the conflict agreed on one basic premise: If enough progress is made that another short-term CBA extension – perhaps a week, perhaps two – is announced by Friday night, the players and owners will almost certainly be headed for a settlement that will result in a multi-year deal before the end of this month.
If not, as one person familiar with the negotiations put it, "It will be Armageddon." The union will decertify and file a class-action, anti-trust lawsuit against the owners, who’ll issue a legal challenge to the validity of the act while implementing a lockout (or de facto lockout). A long, bitter standoff would likely ensue, and the 2011 season could be threatened.
Given the lose-lose nature of the latter scenario, the smart money is on a settlement. And while the situation remains delicate, for the first time key figures in each camp believe a deal is highly achievable.
For the sake of us football fans, I certainly hope that Mr. Silver is right.
We'll have more on this as the situation develops.