Reports: Major breakthrough in free agency
NFL owners have agreed to drop their demands for the right of first refusal for free agents, according to multiple media outlets. The free agency issue was considered to be the biggest hurdle toward a new collective bargaining agreement after Thursday’s reported agreement to a rookie wage scale.
With free agency rules essentially agreed upon, a deal could come early next week, NFL Network reports.
Owners wanted the right to match any offers for three of their current free agents. Players balked, insisting free agents have earned the right to shop the open market without restrictions. The players were adamant that many of those free agents were restricted under the 2010 system.
Owners, like Jerry Jones, have reportedly dropped their free-agent demands. (AP Photo)
The NFL Network reports that the owners first lowered their requests from three offers to two, before dropping it altogether.
The players proposed four years of restriction-free free agency, and it appears the owners have agreed, ESPN.com first reported.
Multiple reporters at the scene described key figures as looking more relaxed than in recent weeks. Still, no one was talking.
"I wouldn't dare speculate on where we are," Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones told reporters.
DeMaurice Smith told reporters that he and NFL commissioner Roger Goodell will continue to talk over the weekend.