Sources: Resistance for owners mounts
An internal battle is percolating at some of the highest NFL circles in which some owners are resisting the labor deal they've been trying to negotiate with the players, according to multiple sources.
A handful of NFL owners -- at least two of whom are from AFC teams -- believes the parameters of the deal being discussed don't adequately address the original issues the league wanted corrected from the 2006 collective bargaining agreement, according to sources.
It is one of the primary reasons team officials are being prepped to stay an extra night in Chicago at Tuesday's owners' meetings. It's not to potentially vote on a new collective bargaining agreement, as many suspected; it actually is to try to fend off some of the resistance that is mounting, according to sources.
Some of this resistance has caused the NFL to adjust its schedule next week, moving up the time of Tuesday's meeting, with the possibility of staying until Wednesday. The league is bracing for internal negotiations and lobbying that will impact how soon football could return.
The surprise is that many thought this kind of pushback to a deal would occur within the players' ranks, not among NFL owners.
In reality, the resistance has been there since March, when commissioner Roger Goodell was authorized in a vote of the owners to offer and negotiate whatever he thought was best for the league.
After the players decertified, owners were briefed on Goodell's offer, and some believed it was too one-sided in favor of the players and not strong enough for the teams. Those teams never changed their feelings, and recently they have made this known directly to Goodell, according to a source.
Now that the two sides have begun to make some significant strides within the past week, some owners are pushing back against the deal again, according to sources.
This subplot comes at a time when the NFL and NFLPA have made considerable progress, much of it on broad-picture items. The two sides, according to a source, have agreed to an unofficial timeline as to how events such as training camp and free agency would play out if there is an agreement on the more significant elements of the deal.
A pushback from the owners' side has been apparent since March, when commissioner Roger Goodell was authorized in a vote to offer and negotiate whatever he thought was best for the league.
One NFL executive has been urging the league for weeks that, in order for the full preseason schedule to be played, an agreement between the NFL and NFLPA would have to occur no later than July 14.
This would give the courts time to approve the agreement; the NFLPA time to recertify; 32 teams and approximately 2,000 agents the time they would need to be debriefed on the new NFL rules; and players the time they need to get into camp and get in shape for the preseason.
None of it can happen without an agreement, and there is still a gap on the most significant points -- division of revenues and jurisdiction over the next collective bargaining agreement.
Some owners clearly want football and are willing to meet the players' price. But others -- remembering 2006, when a CBA that seemingly favored the players was thought to have been rushed through -- want to make sure they don't make the same mistake.
Adam Schefter is ESPN's NFL Insider.
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