Yesterday, the NFL and NFLPA wrapped up seven straight days of mediated negotiations regarding a new Collective Bargaining Agreement. In a statement released by federal mediator George H. Cohen, one thing became clear: you can expect the NFL to lock players out beginning on March 4.
"Some progress was made," Cohen said in the release, "but very strong differences remain on the all-important core issues."
With those "core issues" still far from being resolved, and with the current CBA expiring at midnight next Friday, the two sides agreed to return to mediation beginning next Tuesday. Given that 50 hours of mediation didn't resolve those issues this week, it's unlikely that another day or two will provide a significant breakthrough.
At this point, a lockout appears imminent. The best chance at avoiding that outcome would be for the two sides to make enough progress on the core issues that an extension on the current CBA can be worked out. Just don't hold your breath.