A number of reports over the afternoon indicate that the NFL and the NFLPA have made progress on the rookie wage scale issue. Over the last few days, the rookie wage scale, especially the length of the contracts for first round draft picks, had been considered a key stumbling block on the path towards a new CBA.
Albert Breer of the NFL Network reports via Twitter that "significant progress" has been made on the issue, and that it looks like only a few minor issues remain to be solved now. Breer also notes that he's been told that the that the progress on the rookie wage scale "does represent a breakthrough".
Mike Freeman of CBSSports.com reports that the the breakthrough came about because "the owners made a significant concession" on the issue. Most likely, this concession revolves around the fifth year for the top draft picks. In an earlier article, Breer wrote that:
The NFL's disagreement with the players comes, primarily, with the top eight picks in the draft, where the dollars are biggest. Conversely, the players' issue stretches across the entire first round, with a desire to get younger players to free agency quicker, if their pay is going to be slashed significantly.
If Florio from PFT is right that "It’s now widely accepted that the last remaining major issue to be resolved between the league and the NFLPA* relates to the rookie wage scale", should we get ready for some football? Or should we hold our horses until there's an actual CBA with actual signatures under it?
[Update, 07/14/11 7:15 PM EDT with a hat tip to JimmyK ] - Per ESPN's Adam Shefter:
Filed to ESPN: two sides agreed to new Rookie Pay System. Still i's to dot, t's to cross on rookie system, but it's not impediment to deal.