NFL owners and players have been unable to make much - if any - progress of late in their talks regarding a new collective bargaining agreement.
With the March 4 deadline for a lockout creeping up on them, the two sides have decided to get a little help from a third party.
Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service Director George H. Cohen will sit down with representatives of the NFL and the players' union this Friday in Washington D.C., as the parties to try and reach a new CBA.
The NFLPA released the following statement on the subject:
"The NFL Players Association has always focused on reaching a fair collective bargaining agreement through negotiations. We hope that this renewed effort, through mediation, will help the players and owners reach a successful deal."
I can't say I'd ever heard of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service prior to today. Well, I could, but I'd be lying.
After browsing the FMCS Web site, I learned that it's "an independent U.S. government agency whose mission is to preserve and promote labor-management peace and cooperation."
Cohen and his FMCS colleagues will have a tough task ahead of them, as the owners and players haven't been able to agree upon much lately.
From talking about how to divide $9 billion in revenues to needing to discuss a rookie wage scale, an 18-game schedule, and a modification of the salary cap, there are plenty of issues that need to be tackled. No pun intended.
Perhaps Cohen won't be able to get the two sides much closer to an agreement, but he at least is getting the NFL and the NFLPA to sit down and talk. And that, at this point, is progress.