Finally Some Optimism Around NFL, NFLPA Negotiations

CHANTILLY, VA - MARCH 02: NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell (C) leaves a meeting with NFL owners at a hotel on March 2, 2011 in Chantilly, Virginia. The NFL owners are meeting in Chantilly to discuss negotiations with the players union about a collective bargaining agreement that expires March 3, at midnight. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

Finally.

After months (years, really) of worrying about what was once an inevitable NFL lockout, there's suddenly some optimism surrounding the negotiations between the NFL owners and NFL Players Association.

The two sides agreed to a 24-hour extension to avoid the Thursday night deadline to come to an agreement on a new Collective Bargaining Agreement. Though plenty can change today, the rumor making the rounds is that the two sides want to work on a longer extension -- perhaps a week or two -- so there's enough time to get a deal done.

Indeed, Daniel Kaplan of Sports Business Journal reports he's hearing a 7-10 day extension is "all but a done deal." Mike Silver of Yahoo! Sports writes that, if another extension is agreed upon, that would be a sign a new deal is coming.

If enough progress is made that another short-term CBA extension - perhaps a week, perhaps two - is announced by Friday night, the players and owners will almost certainly be headed for a settlement that will result in a multi-year deal before the end of this month.        

As we've learned, plenty can change. On Thursday morning, ESPN's Adam Schefter tweeted that there's no reason to get your hopes up -- they're not getting a deal done. By Thursday afternoon, he was writing, "This is getting more interesting than most thought."

But, for now, things are looking much better.

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