Albert Breer of NFL Network reports the NFL owners and players are meeting now in the New York area, and the talks are expected to continue beyond this week’s discussions, as the sides look to resolve the differences that led to the union’s decertification and the lockout.
According to sources on each side of the talks, both sides have come to an understanding that the time to bargain seriously is now. And as much as the ongoing litigation has set the calendar thus far, the calendar itself — and the looming mid-summer start of training camps — is starting to overtake the litigation as a motivator to move the talks along.
One league source estimated that it would take 4-6 weeks to go from serious negotiations to the drafting process, and a trade association source said the feeling is there’s a 30-day window to get a deal done that’s just now opening.
League sources indicate that the cancellation of the preseason would cost the NFL approximately $1 billion, while a lack of resolution by August 1 would come at a price of $350 million. While those numbers are inexact, there’s no question that the loss of revenue — which will begin once the preseason games come off the schedule — will make negotiations exponentially more difficult. The pie shrinks, the less money there is to go around in a situation that, for both sides, is about making the finances right.
“That’s by necessity,” said one league source. “They get a percentage of the revenues, so if the revenues shrink, their share is less. It’s automatic.”
For a normal preseason to happen, most estimate an agreement must be reached by about July 15th.