I wasn't too sure how credible Scout.com's "source" was, but this source is impeccable:
The NFL appears on the verge of reaching agreement on a new labor pact with its players union.
Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said Monday that progress has been made in talks about a Collective Bargaining Agreement extension.
"I feel that we'll likely have a deal," Jones said while attending the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis.
Jerry Jones: Deal with players 'likely'
11:24 AM CST on Monday, February 27, 2006
By TODD ARCHER / The Dallas Morning News
INDIANAPOLIS -- Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones said Monday that progress has been made between the league and NFL Players Association regarding a new collective bargaining agreement.
“I feel that we’ll likely have a deal,” Jones said.
When a deal would be finalized is in question because the league year is expected to begin Friday. Because of all the particulars of the CBA, the owners and the union could need more time to finalize an agreement.
Houston general manager Charley Casserly said Sunday it’s possible the league year could be pushed back a week or two.
NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabaue and NFLPA executive director Gene Upshaw are expected to meet Monday in Washington. The league’s management council will meet in New York on Wednesday and Thursday. The full ownership group is expected to meet Monday in Dallas.
“We have a pretty tight timeframe here with the [league] year,” Jones said.
If a deal is not reached, then 2007 will be an uncapped year and a potential lockout would loom following the 2008 season. Without a deal, the 2006 salary cap will be between $92 million and $95 million. With a deal, it could be between $102 million and $104 million.
The NFL's landscape also could change forever. Upshaw has said the union will move toward decertifying, which it believes would affect the league's antitrust exemption, making the salary cap gone for good.
In 2007, there would be no salary cap, which means teams could spend as much or as little as they want on players. Players would not become unrestricted free agents until their sixth season (it is now after their fourth), and they would have to pay for their own benefits.