Reports that the a labor deal between the NFL and its players association is essentially done, as first reported here on scout.com on Saturday night, are beginning to filter through and be reported by other media sources.
One tangible sign that there has been significant progress towards a new CBA was the failure of the NFL to announce the 2006 salary cap today. As scout.com reported over the weekend, the salary cap for the 2006 season was expected to be announced on Monday. However, according to one NFL team that scout.com talked to on Monday, the cap announcement could be pushed back another 24-48 hours because of recent progress toward a new collective bargaining agreement. There are also rumors that the cap actually might be higher than first reported ($95 million).
In the Washington Post, Mark Maske says that "many front-office executives" seem certain that a new CBA is imminent. He wonders why there is private optimism when the last public word we had on the state of the negotiations, from Gene Upshaw, was all about doom and gloom:
Perhaps Tagliabue has sent back-channel signals to the clubs that the negotiations are going better than he and Upshaw have indicated publicly. The owners have scheduled a meeting for next Monday and Tuesday in Dallas, and executives from some teams believe that Tagliabue and Upshaw will reach an agreement by Wednesday and postpone the opening of free agency from Friday until March 10 to give Tagliabue time to get the owners to approve the labor deal and bring their contentious revenue-sharing debate to a close.
While Maske didn't name any sources in his story, Alex Marvez of the Sun-Sentinel has a pretty good one:
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.
Stay tuned to your favorite scout.com NFL site for further breaking developments.