It appeared in these last weeks that finally we were seeing real, tangible progress on the labor front. Sides seemed willing to finally back away from their posturing and reports of negotiation were flooding news outlets; some even believed we could see a CBA by mid-July. Today we have conflicting information which started with a Fox Sports report late last night.
The report (found here) details NFLPA chief DeMaurice Smith holding a private conference call with up to 50 NFL Pro Bowlers, though the piece only mentions the Ravens' Ray Lewis and Jaguars' Mauirce Jones-Drew by name. Essentially, Smith told the players that recent reports of a near CBA were "way off" and that the NFLPA hadn't received a "good enough" offer from the owners to move forward in cementing a new CBA.
More after the jump...
Here is where the story starts to get a little muddier. Inside the same article (updated at 4am) the article begins to paint a slightly different picture from the league's side. One that has sources "optimistic" that a new CBA could be reached in time to allow for a full training camp and typical NFL schedule to take place. At this point it's hard to imagine that putting a positive spin on a bad situation would have any good effect. At this point fans are so fed up that being led to believe a deal is near, only to be withdrawn in the 11th hour would be a severe hit to both side's credibility. This leaves us with a situation where one side isn't being quite honest about what is occurring, or none of these 'sources' are close enough to the decision makers to really know what is going on.
A tweet this morning from Sports Illustrated senior writer Jim Trotter further throws a shroud on the negotiations:
there was buzz last night that something could be breaking on a new cba. spoke to 6 ppl who would know. told me not to believe the hype. ...
Where do we stand on a CBA? I haven't the faintest idea... but this was beyond frustrating two months ago.