But other owners are pressing for a deal on the terms currently under negotiation.
“I think that’s the hope,” Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay said before Tuesday’s meeting. “I think really that’s the logical thing. You’re pushing on both sides and saying ‘why get a deal on Oct. 1 or whenever that you could have had July 7?’
“ . . . But these things are tough. They’re fragile. You’ve just got to keep working at it.”
A significant number of executives involved in their teams’ football operations also attended Tuesday’s meeting. Their attendance at Tuesday’s meeting could signal that the discussions included consideration of how the NFL will resume operations after a deal is struck. Free agency and trades of players have been on hold during the lockout.
Irsay said last month that he thought a deal would have to be reached by July 4 to allow for a sufficient free agent signing period before a full training camp, preseason and regular season. The season is scheduled to begin Sept. 8.
Some people familiar with the talks have cautioned that the negotiations still could unravel and, due to the complexity of the issues, an accord might be unlikely before mid-July.
Potentially, players with expired contracts would be eligible for unrestricted free agency after four NFL seasons. That was the sport’s previous requirement before it was raised to six seasons last offseason in a year played without a salary cap. Teams again would be able to limit players’ free-agent mobility by using franchise-player tags.
According to a report by ESPN, owners were told Tuesday that players would receive about 48 percent of all revenues under the terms of a potential settlement, a share that never would drop below 46.5 percent.
A deal between the league and the players also is likely to include a new rookie compensation system, but not the 18-game season originally demanded by the league. The league also has offered a reduction in offseason workouts and has proposed blood-testing players for abuse of human growth hormone. The NFL also is seeking to get out from under ongoing court oversight of its labor situation.
The recent negotiations between the league and players have come as the two sides await a ruling by a federal appeals court on whether it will allow the lockout to continue.