Lots of reports pouring out of this Minnesota meeting between Roger Goodell and DeMaurice Smith. The two then flew together to Florida and talked with players at the rookie symposium, hosted by the non-existent NFLPA instead of the NFL this season.
SB Nation's own Joel Thorman breaks down the news, which was very positive indeed. But, National Football Post writer Andrew Brandt throws a little cold water on the whole process:
As to reports of a deal being close or "85% done", well, that is like being 85% pregnant. There is a deal or no deal. Until then, it is just -- pardon the pun -- labor pains. We await the baby.
I know I'm much more optimistic now than I've been in months, but there's no sure end to this lockout in sight. Hopefully, the owners will come together with players in the next weeks and realize how much damage they'll all take financially if this thing drags out into the season.
Another intersting, lockout link comes from Battle Red Blog and looks at a possible rookie salary scale. I completely agree that capping the top of the draft will lead to a much more fun three days, as teams will be trading a little more freely in that range. On the other hand, those small market teams at the top of the draft may not need to trade that pick away, since the financial hit won't be as great if their player busts.
What I do think will change with that salary scale is teams taking the player they like the most, instead of taking the quarterback. Right now, I think teams feel pressured to take the guy at the higher paid position like a quarterback, over a cornerback or defensive lineman who they may have higher on their draft boards.