The owners and players returned to the negotiating table on Friday after a breakthrough on the rookie wage scale came Thursday night, making a handshake agreement possible in the next few days.
NFL Network's Albert Breer reported that the economics of a new Collective Bargaining Agreement are "essentially done," with other details remaining.
There are still issues that need to be hashed out between the two sides, including but not limited to, the Legacy Fund — money toward retired player benefits, player fines, player safety and litigation — plus, the two sides need to settle the Brady antitrust lawsuit.
In terms of the rookie wage scale, ESPN's Adam Schefter reported that first-round picks will sign four-year deals with options for a fifth year, and that will decrease their money 40 to 50 percent from last year. Veterans would get that money instead. Schefter also reported that this new CBA, when finalized, will be for a duration of 7-10 years.
Sam Farmer of the Los Angeles Times tweeted that NFL safety changes could include 33 percent fewer OTA days, fewer practices in helmets and no workouts before May 1.
Sports Illustrated's Jim Trotter wrote that the players' secret lockout insurance could have led to the two sides agreeing on the biggest issue at hand — the rookie wage scale. NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith got approval more than a year ago to secure insurance that would pay each player around $200,000 if no football was played in 2011, and that might have gotten talks to the point they are at on Friday.
In terms of a timeline, the owners and players are scheduled to meet with Chief Magistrate Judge Arthur Boylan on July 19. Judge Boylan has mediated most of the talks since they resumed in June before going on vacation. The owners have a meeting scheduled on July 21 in Atlanta.
Ravens DB Domonique Foxworth, who has been involved in the talks, did say late Thursday that "there's really no deal until our players approve it."
Bengals owner Mike Brown was at Friday's negotiations. Brown is also on the league's labor committee, as nine of the 10 members of the committee are present. Texans OT Eric Winston and NFLPA president Kevin Mawae were also present Friday in New York.
Click here to read more about the salary cap and revenue split in the new CBA, as well as the details that still need to be worked out between the two sides.