Now, stop me if you've heard this before... but Adam Schefter and Chris Mortenson of ESPN are reporting that a deal could be done by July 21st, when the next owners meeting is expected to occur.
There is a growing belief inside league circles that the NFL and NFL Players Association will have an agreement in place that can be ratified during the July 21 league meetings in Atlanta, according to sources familiar with the state of negotiations.
As one NFL owner said this weekend, there's "no reason to believe it won't get done."
Other people familiar with the talks now think an agreement in principle will be put in place in the next seven to 10 days, a handshake deal that would allow each side to ratify the deal to start the 2011 season.
Now, I've said for quite a while I think a deal would be done by July 15th (this Friday), such that it would allow for ample time to sign free agents and still hold a full training camp and preseason. Having a deal ratified by July 21st falls right in line with that, as a deal in principal would need to be had over the next few days to have everything done and completed by July 21st.
As it has been, the biggest sticking point is still the split of overall revenue, which people close to the situation believe will be a 53-47 split, owners-players. The other sticking point is the issue of a rookie wage scale, which both sides agree would be benefitial to all parties involved. The problem however is, the NFLPA wants shorter initial contracts with higher pay while the NFL wants longer contracts with lower pay. Naturally, this will likely fall somewhere smack in the middle.