You know that a deal is close when more and more media shows up, and that is exactly the case today in Atlanta for the owners meeting.
With media waiting and TV trucks parked outside, the NFL owners are meeting right now trying to decide if they will vote to ratify the new CBA. According to Albert Breer of the NFL Network, the first part of the day was spent reviewing the details of a potential deal. The Eagles are well represented, as Jeffery Lurie, Howie Roseman and Joe Banner are all in the building. The Eagles lead PR man, Derek Boyko is also in the building, perhaps prepared to announce any potential deal if need be.
Danial Kaplan of the Sports Business Journal is reporting that a vote is expected today on a new CBA, and that owners are being told to prepare to vote between 2:30-5:30. If a CBA is approved, Kaplan is reporting it will be handed off to the NFLPA with a “take it or leave it attitude”.
As the owners walked into the meeting room today, there was a feeling of optimism. Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank was vocal about his believe football will be back soon.
“I’d be disappointed, like 330 million people in America, if it didn’t get done today,” said Blank to the Atlanta Constitution Journal.
According to multiple reports yesterday, Roger Goodell feels he has enough votes- he needs 24 of 32 owners to approve the deal- to ratify the deal. Once the owners approve the deal, it will then be up to the players to officially end the lockout by signing off on the deal as well. Reports also state that NFLPA President DeMaurice Smith has told the player reps to be ready for a conference call tonight. The call is believed to be taking place around 8pm. At that point, a vote should have been taken by the owners.
One reason for optimism is an interesting point made by Peter King of Sports Illustrated. When explaining why he believes a deal could be reached today, King said that many of the owners will be flying into Massachusetts tomorrow for the funeral of Myra Kraft, wife of New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft. The feeling is that the owners would like to get a deal done before then.
If a deal is completed today, free agency could start sooner then expected. Nancy Gay, NFL Senior Editor for FoxSports.com, reports that free agency could begin as early as Monday- however, contracts could not be finalized until NFLPA re-certifies.
Make sure to follow @EliotShorrParks on Twitter for up to the minute developments on what is sure to be a crazy day in the NFL lockout.