It appears NFL owners and players have made significant headway in reaching a new labor agreement, according to multiple sources familiar with the discussions. One high-ranking member of the former union estimated to me a new deal could be reached within two to three weeks. "This is the most optimistic I've been in many months," he said.
But, like many sources, he urged extreme caution, saying talks could easily break down, and weeks from now we could be back at the beginning, with the name-calling and the ticking clock. "There's a great deal of animosity to work through," he said.
Nevertheless, progress was definitely made. The largest sign this negotiation was radically more successful than others was the announcement by Judge Arthur Boylan, who canceled mediation set for next week, saying the owners and players were in settlement discussions.
These recent talks have been more productive than all the other discussions and mediations combined, the official said. This has allowed the two sides to proceed at a more urgent pace than before.
While the negotiating and litigation is painful for us as fans of the game, know that we will have football eventually.