In what has become the 'red light, green light' of negotiations, the ongoing CBA talks have kept fans on tenterhooks waiting to hear about a prospective deal. When the rather optimistic words of Drew Brees (which Jaxon mentioned this morning) were coupled with Mike Florio suggesting free agency could begin this Sunday (which subsequently, and curiously disappeared) it was enough to make fans think we really could see an agreement sooner, rather than later.
"Not so fast " says Yahoo Sports' Michael Silver, who said of the negotiations:
Yet to suggest that such an outcome is a formality - and that the basic framework of a deal is essentially in place - is nowhere close to accurate.
At least, not according to what I'm being told by numerous sources familiar with the state of negotiations, one of whom was in the room for Wednesday's lengthy sessions in New York.
"Are we close? I wouldn't say that at all," said one NFLPA executive committee member. "Drew is the eternal optimist, and yeah, it's closer than it was a week ago. Could it happen quickly? Yes. But I'd be extremely surprised."
I can relate to an 'eternal optimist', but really this issue is far too sensitive to sugar coat the situation for the public only for the coating to wear off and leave a sour taste in fan's mouths. In reality, that time wore off a few months ago; fans are fed up, they don't care that a deal is close, they just want it done and leading them to believe otherwise is a bad decision.
More of Silver's piece after the jump
The second aspect that we've been led to believe by more sources than just Brees is that approval of a deal is only waiting for the rookie contract issue to be resolved. This doesn't seem to be the case either:
Though it has been widely reported that a disagreement over the rookie wage scale is the only remaining roadblock to a settlement, both quoted sources indicated otherwise Wednesday, saying the two sides are still quarreling over the precise composition of the all revenue pie that would be split between them under the terms of a new CBA.
Additionally, they indicated, owners still insist that a "legacy fund" for retired players come out of the salary cap, meaning current players would bear the entire burden. There are additional arguments over how many right-of-first-refusal devices each team will be allowed via franchise and transition tags. The owners' desire to increase the regular season from 16 to 18 games hasn't been addressed in weeks, and players are unsure whether the subject will be revisited or tabled for discussion in future years.
This makes it seem like the two sides are still miles apart, and makes me wonder what they have agreed to? If revenue, rookie scale, retired players fund and right of first refusal have not been worked out, then what exactly has been settled in this 'almost done' deal Brees referred to?
A few months ago Jerry Richardson was almost universally condemned at the mere suggestion that Drew Brees and Peyton Manning didn't understand the process; well, if Silver is right then Jerry is right- Brees has no clue where these negotiations are.