While players and coaches are currently enjoying their vacation time before training camps open across the league later this month, representatives from the NFL and the NFL Players Association are getting ready to work on the next collective bargaining agreement: according to ESPN’s Josina Anderson, the two sides will meet from July 17 to 19 to discuss a new deal with the ambitious goal to finalize it before the start of the 2019 regular season.
The meeting, which is projected to include the most contentious items, will be the biggest one to date in this new negotiation cycle between ownership on the one side and players on the other. So far, a report by ESPN’s Dan Graziano states, there have been three direct conversations between the two parties — one per month in April, May and June. Furthermore, there have also been regular non-meeting talks between representatives.
The current CBA is set to expire after the 2020 season and it seems as if both parties involved are willing to start the process early not to risk going down a familiar road: the last time a new agreement had to be negotiated — in the spring of 2011 — players were locked out at one point. The lockout ultimately came to an end after 105 days, in part because of the active approach taken by New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft.
It seems as if the NFL and the NFLPA are trying to get a head-start on the new CBA. Whether or not they will be successful remains to be seen, but seeing the two sides get together this early in the process is certainly an encouraging sight.