Washington, D.C. - With negotiations between the NFL and the NFL Players Association continuing for nearly four hours today, there is now talk that the clock will be stopped on the expiration of the collective bargaining agreement, paving the way for further talks.
The CBA is set to expire tonight at 11:59 p.m., and the NFLPA has threatened to decertify later this afternoon, but if both sides agree to continue negotiations, the deadline for the CBA expiration and the decertification threat could at least be delayed while talks continue.
The atmosphere was doom-and-gloom as the two sides began talks this morning with federal mediator George Cohen, with little hope of a CBA resolution. The possibility of extending the talks doesn't mean that the two sides are close on a CBA agreement, but it at least means that there won't be a declaration of a lockout by the NFL and a decertification by the union.
It's uncertain how long an extension to the talks would continue, although the most likely scenario would be a week, or possibly two.
A large contingent of representives from the NFLPA walked into the meeting area this morning, including NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith, lead attorney Jeffrey Kessler, active players Drew Brees of the Saints and Jeff Saturday of the Colts, and retired players Kevin Mawae and Pete Kendall, both of whom have played with the Jets.
Ten owners had attended yesterday's session, although most of them had returned home after an owners' meeting in northern Virginia yesterday. Still involved in the talks is Giants president and co-owner John Mara.
Even President Obama weighed in on the talks earlier today, telling reporters, "I hope they work it out without me intervening. As it turns out, I've got a lot of other stuff to do ... For an industry making $9 billion, I would hope they could figure out how to divide it in a sensible way."