Yesterday afternoon media reports (ESPN - NFL) indicated an uptick in optimism as the owners and players apparently made significant progress in the issues surrounding reformation of the union, the opportunity to opt out of the deal, and several other issues. It's also worth noting that Vincent Jackson (or his handlers or whatever) has dropped the demand for some kind of compensation.
Albert Breer tweeted last night that the NFLPA made arrangements for members of the Executive Committee to come to Washington, DC on Monday. This would seem to signify a vote could come early in the week as many of them had left town after the breakdown at the end of this week. Both sides had been working on the issues via phone and email, which would seem to indicate bringing the players back to town is a big step. Reports are going so far as to say Roger Goodell might head to DC on Monday to join in any press conference if a vote goes down.
I was a bit skeptical when Adam Schefter tweeted "Welcome back, football" and Chris Mortensen tweeted "I'm talking football!!!!" Until the vote happens and this lockout is ended, it struck me as a bit over the top to tweet that out. On the other hand, one could view that as an even more optimistic sign things are close to finished. At this point I'd personally prefer to stick somewhere in the middle and avoid another instance of both sides pulling the football out of the way just as we're about to kick it.
It's worth noting that Roger Goodell and DeMaurice Smith have apparently remained in contact this weekend in spite of the issues that went down with the non-vote by the players. Both men have taken a lot of crap over the last few months, but if they're able to get a deal hammered out without missing much more than just the Hall of Fame Game, they deserve some credit. It would have been nice if they had gotten their collective acts together back in March or April, but that's often the way these sort of things happen. A deal in the next few days would go a long way towards getting them some forgiveness.