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NFL Collective Bargaining Agreement -- Right Now, It's A Stalemate

Right now it certainly does not sound like NFL players and owners are on the same page when it comes to getting a new collective bargaining agreement in place for the 2011 season.

It seems pretty simple. Owners want an 18-game regular season. Players really don't want it, but if they are going to be forced to play two additional regular-season games they want additional compensation. Right now, the sides seem to be at a stalemate.

"They haven't been willing to budge far enough from their original proposal for us to consider that," Chiefs linebacker Mike Vrabel said Tuesday on an NFLPA media conference call. "Right now, there's just not enough return on our investment to play another two games. I don't think anybody, including (NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith) could in good conscience go into locker rooms right now and say, 'This is all we could get you guys in exchange for playing two more regular-season games.'"

Smith and several players have said many times over the past two years that they believe owners intend to lock them out in 2011 in order to secure a more owner-favorable labor deal. Negotiations on the new deal have been slow, and concerns about a lockout continue to mount, but the one issue that has seemed to fire up the owners' side is their idea to expand the regular season to 18 games.

The owners' initial proposal in June included proposed adjustments to roster size, changes to the injured reserve rule and the creation of a developmental league to help compensate for the loss of preseason games that offer a chance to evaluate young players. The league says its motivation is fan discontent over the low quality of preseason games.

"Our position is that the status quo for the game and fans is not acceptable as far as playing four preseason games" NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said Tuesday. "We have to improve the quality of what we are presenting to fans."

See, stalemate. Let's just hope this gets ironed out and we have football as usual next season. All the posturing aside, I can't imagine anyone is foolish enough to leave millions of dollars on the table.