It continues to appear as though the NFL’s 32 owners are prepared to make a deal on a new collective bargaining agreement today. They’re expected to vote in favor of a settlement this afternoon and let the players take it or leave it.

Dan Kaplan of the Sports Business Journal on Twitter: “Told owners will vote on a global deal here today and essentially hand it off to the players to say sign or don’t sign, this is it.”

Earlier, I expressed little optimism that something would get done by the end of the day, but with Roger Goodell and DeMaurice Smith reportedly still meeting to sort out all of those outstanding issues related to the settlement, there’s a chance that the players will vote tonight to essentially ratify a new CBA. Smith has a conference call with his reps slated for 8:00 p.m. ET.

The biggest quagmire, apparently, is that the trade organization formerly known as the NFLPA has to become the NFLPA once again. They can’t collectively bargain without re-certifying, and they’re claiming they need two weeks to accumulate the 1,000-odd yay votes necessary to accomplish that.

But re-certification shouldn’t take more than an hour or two. The internet is a wonderful thing, and the National Labor Relations Board is also available to help expedite the process.

Keep in mind that, too, that following the 1987 work stoppage, it took six years before the union was reconstituted. The terms of the settlement of theĀ Brady vs. NFL lawsuit will be the basis for the next CBA, regardless of how quickly things come together on the players’ side.

So why are the players apparently stating that they’ll need up to two weeks to re-certify and that re-certification is necessary in order to kill the work stoppage? Maybe they’re attempting to use that time frame as leverage in a push to get the owners to sweeten the deal to speed up the process. Or maybe Smith is using it to cover his ass because he fears how he’ll look publicly when the owners try to end the lockout and his constituents aren’t on board.

Either way, the ball might be in the players’ court soon. Let’s hope they don’t dribble it off a foot.

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