Lockout Watch 2011! So far, so good

The pessimist in me continues to fear that the lawyers are going to get in the way and destroy the momentum that has moved the labor train to a point at which light can be seen at the end of the tunnel, but everything we hear continues to point to a deal getting done within weeks.

The latest rosy report comes from ESPN’s Sal Paolantonio. A source tells Sal Pal that Wednesday’s talks between representatives from both sides was “very fruitful.”

“We are headed in the right direction,” the source told Paolantonio. “There is a desire on both sides to reach an agreement sooner rather than later.”

While it’s become evident that the framework of the proposed CBA was well-received at the owners meetings, it’s an even better sign that the players appear to be satisfied with what’s on the table. As we mentioned in this morning’s links post, CBSSports’ Michael Freeman reports that the deal in play “should pass a vote by the player membership somewhat easily.”

“Most guys won’t love this new CBA,” one player told Freeman, “but they’ll live with it.”

After the owners met Tuesday in Chicago, the league and the players got together Wednesday in Boston. Those meetings are continuing today, and the two parties reportedly plan to keep discussions going until a deal is reached.

This isn’t surprising, but it’s still refreshing. After three months of doom and gloom, we’ve arrived. At certain points along the way, it felt as though we’d never get here. But logic always said that something would get done in June or July.

“The bottom line for the NFL,” wrote CNBC’s Darren Rovell, “is that they’ll lose more money by losing one week of the season than they’ll lose this year by moving up the percentage revenue split to 48 percent from their previous offers.”

As much as the attorneys want to keep this fight going, both the league and the trade organization formerly known as the NFLPA realize that an extended battle with cancelled games would place both sides in lose-lose situations.

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