When the NFL and the NFLPA* were last negotiating on Friday, the Eighth Circuit had thrown a gorilla wrench into the process with an unexpected ruling that helps and hurts both sides, causing the talks to bog down and creating a sense of gloom and doom.
And so it’s surprising, to say the least, to see ESPN’s Chris Mortensen and Adam Schefter reporting that the parties are now targeting July 21 for the ratification of a new labor deal by the owners.
We reported last week that the owners will be meeting in Atlanta on July 21, at which time they would be gathered in one place and able to vote. At least 24 of the 32 owners must approve the agreement before it can be effective.
Per Mort and Schefter, a document titled “The Transition Rules” sets forth the time line for the events that will unfold after July 21.
Mort and Schefter aren’t reporting a deal will be finalized. Instead, they’re saying (and Schefter just said on ESPN2′s Mike & Mike in the Morning) that “many people believe” the deal will be completed in time to be ratified by July 21.
Under the scenario, the only game that possible would be canceled is the annual Hall of Fame game, since the Bears and Rams are due to head to training camp on July 22. Given that it’s a glorified practice session in which starters make only a cameo appearance and that NBC pays good money for the right to televise it, look for the league to play the game even if the Bears and Rams only a week to prepare for it.