NEW YORK (WFAN/AP) — Lawyers for the two sides in the NFL’s labor dispute are meeting separately Monday before getting together later in the day.
Owners and players are set to talk again beginning Tuesday, after two days of long negotiations last week.
With training camps scheduled to open in less than two weeks for some teams, time is growing short to reach an agreement to end the nearly four-month lockout without a disruption to the preseason.
For SUNY Albany (Giants) and SUNY Cortland (Jets), it’s already too late. Both universities will be without pro football training camps this summer.
The sides plan to negotiate in New York, where last Friday’s talks in Manhattan were slowed by differences over the rookie wage scale and guidelines for unrestricted free agents.
Mediator Arthur Boylan is on vacation this week. He has ordered the two sides to meet before him in Minneapolis on July 19.
Meanwhile, several people with knowledge of the talks told The Associated Press that such key issues as splitting total revenues — the major reason for the dispute — the salary cap, fewer offseason workouts and the length of a new collective bargaining agreement are close to being completed.
The people spoke anonymously because details are supposed to remain private.
NFL owners have long sought to restrict the huge bonuses and salaries paid to unproven rookies, particularly those selected high in the draft. Quarterback Sam Bradford, the 2010 top overall pick by St. Louis, signed a six-year, $78 million contract that included a record $50 million in guaranteed money.
The NFLPA insists that money diverted from the rookies go to veteran players; some also would go for retired players’ benefits. The main disagreement right now is how deep into the first round the rookie wage scale would apply, perhaps eight picks, perhaps twice that many. Some owners also are seeking longer contracts for rookies.
In addition, the owners are pushing for more restrictions in free agency, which the players “vehemently oppose,” one of the people familiar with the negotiations said.
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