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2011 NFL Lockout: The Final Hours?

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Logan Mankins may finally get his new deal--even if it's not from the Patriots.
Logan Mankins may finally get his new deal--even if it's not from the Patriots.

According to Adam Schefter of ESPN a labor deal is imminent.

A player rep said that, assuming the two sides have addressed unresolved issues, NFLPA is planning to vote Wednesday to approve settlement.

The league also appears to be serious about this:

NFL sent a memo to all 32 teams today, instructing key executives to attend Thursday's owners meetings in Atlanta.

Schefter quoted Jerry Jones as saying that the labor deal is down to "circumsizing mosquitoes". So what's left on the table to hammer out?

The legacy fund for retired players has been worked out--over the course of the new deal an extra $1billion will be added to that fund. Apparently the issue of the revenue split has been worked out (which was by far the largest issue). Rookie wage scale has been worked out. Off-season workouts and OTA issues have been resolved.

So what's left to do?

  • The league still needs to settle the Brady vs the NFL case. Logan Mankins, Vincent Jackson, and Osi Umenyiora do not want to be franchised when the labor deals are finalized. Any settlement on the lawsuit needs to factor in solutions for those players. (I can't see any scenario in which those three players are going to hold up a deal--they'll be allowed to go to other teams.)
  • Tthe TV revenue case needs to be settled. (This case is worth hundreds of millions--I'll be interested to see how it gets settled. My guess is that it will be split down the same lines as any revenue sharing.)
  • Players would like an outside appeal board to handle penalties assigned by the commissioner, rather than having those referred back to the commissioner. (I think this is completely fair. The makeup of any review board would be a key issue, but that's something that can be determined later.)
  • The league would like to have the jurisdiction of worker compensation claims to be moved from California, to the individual states of the players. (I think this is a legitimate concern from the owners--other national businesses have workers file in the states they work in.)
Again, according to Schefter the two sides want to combine all the various lawsuits into one settlement.

NFLPA/NFL aiming for Global Settlement of CBA, Doty TV case, collusion suit, Brady case, retired players lawsuit. Want all settled, dropped.

There seems to be a real sense of optimism and momentum regarding a new deal. Speculation has been that teams will be allowed 72 hours after a new deal is done to resign their existing free agents before it's open season. Assuming the NFLPA approves the deal on Wednesday, the owners approve it on Thursday (24 of the 32 owners have to approve a new deal for it to take affect), then the doors to facilities could be opened on Friday with official team activities taking place on Monday.