NFL, union poised to seal new labor deal

NFL Labor talks are continuing, and both the owners and players appear close to a new deal, according to reports.

NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue and NFL Players Association director Gene Upshaw are meeting in New York today to put terms of the player's latest proposal into writing to present to the league's owners Tuesday in Dallas.

The NFL owners are scheduled to meet and decide on whether to give players 59.5 percent of all football revenue over a six-year extension of the Collective Bargaining Agreement. At least 24 of league's 32 owners must approve of the player's proposal.

The Washington Post reported that several sources familiar with the deliberations said today that they expect the proposal to be delivered with Tagliabue's endorsement, though, an NFL spokesman denied it. However, the owner of one NFL team said he had been told there was a tentative agreement between Tagliabue and Upshaw, and a top front-office executive from another club said his team had the same understanding.

If there is no agreement before Wednesday night, free agency will begin at 12:01 a.m. Thursday with a salary cap of $94.5 million. If owners and the union agree on a new CBA, the salary cap may increase by as much as $10 million above the $95.5 million for 2006.

As it stands, all teams must be under the $94.5 million cap figure by 9 p.m. (ET) on Wednesday.

Talks between the owners and the union broke off twice in the span of four days. In each case the start of free agency was postponed, first from midnight Thursday to midnight Sunday, then to midnight Wednesday.

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