According to Sports Illustrated, the current CBA negotiations are in the redzone. During the week up until today, negotiations have been between lawyers wrapping up wording and legal jargon to pave the way if an agreement is reached in the next few days. They had to make sure all the framework was put together properly in case a handshake deal is agreed to, which will expedite the process of opening the league up for business. The lawyers met for over 10 hours yesterday, longer than expected. Today, the decision makers will be back at the negotiation table and some feel a deal could be reached by the end of the weekend, if all goes well.
"I'd say that back in March, we weren't in the same stadium," said one league source of the players and owners. "But if you think of both sides as a team, now we're in the red zone, we're driving, we can see the goal line and we have momentum. But can we still screw it up? Absolutely. That's why tomorrow and Friday are big days, because it's back to the (negotiating) formula that's been most successful.''
The biggest cause for optimism that this round of talks will succeed, league sources said, is that the right people are doing the direct negotiating. The owners and players have become comfortable with each other, as well as the back and forth between the two sides, as have Goodell and Smith. As one source said: "I wouldn't underestimate the value of the people in the room. It's very important.''