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Mediation Continues Today, NFLPA* Has New Proposal

It was reported last night that the NFL presented the NFLPA* with a new proposal, different than what was proposed back in March, to which NFLPA* director DeMaurice Smith dubbed "The worst deal in sports history." The NFLPA* took the evening to go over the proposal and mediation is scheduled to begin again this morning. At least one party thinks there's been a "breakthrough" in the mediation talks, however.

Lawyer Michael Hausfeld, who filed a separate lawsuit on behalf of retired players and an incoming rookie who likely wouldn't have been picked in a 100-round draft, tells ESPN's Sal Paolantonio: "The players are considering their proposal and formulating a response. It's not acceptable as is, but it's a starting point."

While the NFL certainly could play hardball and offer a proposal that is worse than what the players scoffed at back in March, because the leverage is in the owners court right now, but it would behoove the owners to make a "fair" offer to an opponent who is on the ropes. While Judge Doty's ruling on the TV money could even things out, the NFL's best bet is to try and make a fair offer as it stands before the lockout gets messier and lingers on. Fans are already becoming angry and disinterested, and finding common ground right now would accelerate pre-season interest in the NFL. Think of the storm of interest with free agency and trades open, the legit beginning of fantasy football preparations, etc.

I don't expect something in the next few days, but multiple "power" media people seem to think this could force the hand of both parties and spark a deal. While the stay of the lockout and the wording is a blow for the players, the real crushing part of it is it creates more time. Time is the players enemy in this case, at least until we know the financial damages from the TV case. The longer the lockout drags on, the worse it is for the players.