Friday brought big news on the NFL labor front. The NFL and the NFLPA agreed to another week of rigorous negotiations about a new labor deal before allowing the current Collective Bargaining Agreement to expire. A lockout -- or a preemptive decertification of the players union -- can be avoided if a new CBA is reached before next Friday at 5 pm.
The past two days can only be descirbed as incredibly positive. There's a long ways to go next week, but the fact that the CBA has been extended not once, but twice now, strongly suggests that we're talking about 'when' a new deal is going to get done in the near future, not 'if'.
Fingers crossed. In the meantime, take note of the fact that the March 4th deadline to re-sign free agents has come and passed. All 2011 free agents are officially in a holding period while negotiations resume next week and until a new CBA is executed. In other words, even though the another week has been granted to reach a new deal, the rule that prohibits any player and/or free agent transactions is now in effect just as it would have been had no extension been mutually agreed to on Thursday and Friday.
For the Steelers, that means no more restricted or unrestricted free agents will be offered new deals or tenders for the time being. Earlier in the week though, the Steelers offered tenders to all of their eligible restricted free agents
- OT Tony Hills, QB Dennis Dixon, TE Matt Spaeth, and CB William Gay.
Stay tuned here and at Behind the Steel Curtain for more NFL labor updates throughout the weekend and particularly next week as we eagerly await news of a new CBA.