After three days of delays by the NFL Players Association in signing off on the collective bargaining agreement approved by NFL owners last Thursday, word is coming out that the NFLPA executive committee will vote Monday to approve the CBA.
ESPN's Chris Mortsensen, who is pretty dialed in to both sides, reported (again) that the lockout appears on the verge of being over. While the reporting has flip-flopped over the last month from optimism to the potential for a "Scorched Earth" doomsday scenario, the momentum that has built over the last 10 days or so has led to the most optimism since the lockout began that, after almost five months, the lockout would be over.
However, this time, ESPN reported Saturday night that significant progress was made during the day and the executive committee will meet Monday and vote to ratify the CBA.
The report added that NFLPA director DeMaurice Smith and Commissioner Roger Goodell are both working directly to assure that the progress doesn't stall and that no games (other than the Hall of Fame Game) will be missed.
While the details of what was discussed and how the pending issues (like the seven-year opt-out clause of the new CBA) haven't been made public, it would seem obvious that the NFL backed off on the 10-year deal to give the seven-year escape clause. In return, the NFLPA would apparently be willing to reconstitute as a union.
The timelines that were in place that would have seen free agency start Monday have been pushed back. As the story goes, players would be able to report to team facilities on Wednesday with free agency beginning on Saturday after a three-day window for teams to attempt to re-sign their own free agents.
Under the plan, training camps would be compressed (most likely by one week), but no games would be missed. The two sides have cut the potential of having to cancel games as close as they possibly can without actually having to pull that trigger.
There have been numerous "hurry up and wait" moments for finally getting the agreement done, but, this time, it looks like the final yard has finally been gained and the negotiations will cross the goal line Monday – making today the last day of an NFL lockout fans will have to deal with for the next seven years at a minimum.
It's taken forever, but July 25 looks to be the date that will live in lockout infamy.
John Holler has been writing about the Vikings for more than a decade for Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.