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NFL, NFLPA Make 'Signficant Progress' Toward Labor Settlement

SI.com’s Peter King tweeted this morning that “significant progress” is being made today in the extended labor talks between the NFL and NFL Players Association. King also tweeted "This is not a sham,‘’ my source says, "but it is very fragile.’’

The two sides are meeting today after agreeing on Thursday to extend the deadline for negotiations toward a new collective bargaining agreement 24 hours. The new deadline is 11:59 p.m. ET. If no agreement on a new deal is reached by then — or at least an agreement to once again extend the talks — the players are expected to decertify their union and the owners will lock the players out.

There seems, however, to be increasing optimism that a deal can be reached without either of those scenarios playing out. MIchael Silver of Yahoo! Sports posted the best breakdown I have seen to date of where the negotiations stand (hat tip to Pro Football Talk, as well).

Here is part of what Silver wrote:

Sources on both sides of the conflict agreed on one basic premise: If enough progress is made that another short-term CBA extension – perhaps a week, perhaps two – is announced by Friday night, the players and owners will almost certainly be headed for a settlement that will result in a multi-year deal before the end of this month.

If not, as one person familiar with the negotiations put it, "It will be Armageddon." The union will decertify and file a class-action, anti-trust lawsuit against the owners, who’ll issue a legal challenge to the validity of the act while implementing a lockout (or de facto lockout). A long, bitter standoff would likely ensue, and the 2011 season could be threatened.

Given the lose-lose nature of the latter scenario, the smart money is on a settlement. And while the situation remains delicate, for the first time key figures in each camp believe a deal is highly achievable.

So, stay tuned. At least now it seems like serious work toward an agreement is being done and there is some hope that the upcoming season will not be interrupted.