Once again it appears as if the two sides of the NFL Collective Bargaining negotiations have reached an impasse. After five days of consecutive negotiations, the owners and players adjourned yesterday and despite setting another meeting for March 1st, things don’t exactly look optimistic right now. Mediator George H. Cohen labeled the talks as constructive, but with one caveat.
“Our time together has been devoted to establishing an atmosphere conducive to meaningful negotiations and, of course, matters of process and substance,” Cohen said in Thursday’s statement. “I can report that throughout this extensive period the parties engaged in highly focused, constructive dialogue concerning a host of issues covering both economics and player-related conditions.”
“At bottom, some progress was made,” Cohen said, “but very strong differences remain on the all-important core issues that separate the parties.”
That’s not exactly what anyone was hoping to hear at the end of a week’s worth of negotiating. Both sides will reconvene on the 1st, a day before NFL owners meetings are scheduled to take place. At this point the questions seems to be less a matter of whether this deal gets done before the deadline passes and more a matter of whether the owners plan to immediately lock the players out at 12:01 AM on the 4th or if they’ll let things continue as negotiations proceed (almost as an act of good faith, don’t hold your breath).