Multiple reports are starting to filter out that the NFL owners and players are starting to get very close to an agreement that would end the labor dispute and allow the 2011 NFL season to begin on schedule. Over the past several weeks, representatives of the owners and players have been holding "secret" meetings to attempt to hammer out a deal before the courts get too heavily involved in the process. This is likely a good thing.
Yesterday, reports began to emerge that the sides are very close to getting a deal done. One even went as far as to claim that the deal is "80-85% done". This should be welcome news to all of us NFL fans, who are really the ones who will be shafted if the work stoppage continues into the regular season. It seems that fear over the course of the litigation process, as well as fear of missing games, has caused the two sides to come together and really try to get something done.
In order to avoid missing any games, they probably have until, say, mid-July to get an agreement in place. That would allow for a two-week free agency period, leading into the beginning of training camp at the start of August. That would be the best-case scenario, and would mean the only things really missed as a result of this process will have been minicamp and various OTAs. That will hurt the rookies the most, but for a team with established systems and lots of veterans in place like the Chargers, the effects should be minimal. That's a good thing, right?
For now, it's still a waiting game. This morning, numerous new reports have attempted to manage expectations, claiming there is still much work to be done and that the idea that everything will be smooth sailing from here on out is "naïve". But for the first time in a while, it looks like there is light at the end of the tunnel.