One source with intimate knowledge of the discussions tells me negotiations are 80-85 percent complete. They've made such fast progress, I'm told, it's catching many of the principals by surprise. Some are now canceling vacations, believing an agreement will be reached within a matter of days.
Caution: condensed legal jargon ahead. And, go!
The sudden movement towards a deal is apparently thanks to the oral arguments that the players and owners presented in front of the Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on June 3, which concluded with Judge Kermit Bye encouraging the two sides to work out a deal on their own.
“A June 30 or July 4 announcement is a reasonable expectation,” the source said. “My sense is that by week’s end they are likely to have some substantial framework if not a complete plan to go back and present to the owners and the players.”
The NFL owners are next set to meet next Tuesday in Chicago, and according to both ESPN and the NFL Network, a memo was sent to each owner encouraging them to stay overnight, a sign that significant progress is expected to be made, and a super-serious slumber party will be had.