The NFL has an uncanny ability to keep its fans on the edge of their seat.
After the owners and players association concluded their third round of “secret” talks on Wednesday in Maryland, it seems as though the two sides have made some progress.
And then again….who really knows at this point.
The Maryland talks were held with larger groups in attendance than the previous meetings, and included lawyers from both sides. ESPN analyst Adam Schefter reported that talks almost ceased on Wednesday after lawyers from both sides blew up on one another.
The encouraging sign is that both sides continued discussions after their arguments. In the earlier stages of the lockout, both sides would have walked out following an argument of that magnitude.
After weeks of silence regarding the lockout, why does it appear as though recently the NFL has been putting a full court press into ending the lockout?
The simple answer is the NFL is feeling the pressure as the season inevitably inches closer.
The next scheduled meeting will be on June 21 in Chicago, and many people are hopeful that date may mark the end to the lockout. If the NFL does not have a new CBA in place by the end of June, I feel it will be very difficult for the league to start its season on time.
Another reason the league may be accelerating the negotiation process, is the estimated $1 billion the NFL could lose if there was no preseason. Let’s face it, this entire lockout stems from greed, so why would the league want to lose out of $1 billion.
Upon the conclusion of the lockout, a free agent period would ensue, providing the Steelers with an opportunity to sign a number of important players looking for new contracts.
It does seem encouraging to me that the league is making greater strides to get a new CBA in place, but I hope this is not just another case of the league crying wolf.
There are countless people waiting for any shred of good news that there may be a season this year after all, and continuing to bait fans by releasing statements saying the sides are getting closer is not fair.
I’m tired of analysts like Schefter coming on ESPN and giving the same information that has been released since the end of the season. If the two sides really are getting close to a deal, than great, let them work it out. But I’m not going to hold my breathe until I see some real progress, and that will require more than secret meetings in Maryland.