The NFL Network’s Kara Henderson reports that the NFL and NFL Players Association agreed Thursday to a 24-hour extension of the negotiating window for a new collective bargaining agreement, which extends the deadline for at least one more day.
According to the report, momentum to approve the idea of “stopping the clock” had been building all day Thursday as the sides reportedly met for over eight hours in front of federal mediator George Cohen. The original deadline for the expiration of the current CBA had been 11:59 p.m. ET Wednesday.
The report also states that the terms of an extended deadline are open to negotiation, citing a league source. Now some of the questions remaining appear to be how long they’ll continue to keep this window open, along with how it corresponds to the league year (ie: free agency, player transactions, etc.). That’s reportedly what talks are centered on now. NFL.com reports that the NFLPA still isn’t willing to take decerification of the table, according to sources, just as the NFL owners also won’t rule out the possibility of a lockout.
So now it comes down to how tonight’s negotiations go that will decide what happens next, but it’s good news for fans who were obviously dreading this deadline. The fact that they’ve agreed to keep things open and continue negotiating is clearly a positive sign, although the number of issues they still need to work out are numorous (and financially large enough) where it’s doubtful they’ll work everything out in one night. However if they’re at least willing to continue communicating, that’s somewhat encouraging.
It’s a move in the right direction, especially considering there are already some big names lining up on the players’ side to fight what had appeared to be an impending battle.
Hopefully if we’re lucky enough, it won’t come to that.