The two sides issued a joint written statement saying talks had been constructive and progress had been made. But several people with knowledge of the talks said a handshake deal was even closer to completion than the statement indicated. They said a tentative agreement was all but in place, with a few details remaining to be worked out.
The deal is expected to be finished and announced next week in time to preserve a full preseason, barring any unexpected setbacks, said those people, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the deliberations.
As they awaited a resolution, players and front office personnel prepared for the expected opening of training camps by the end of July.
Washington Redskins quarterback John Beck was unloading a moving truck in Northern Virginia Friday afternoon. Beck spent much of the offseason training in California with fellow NFL quarterbacks Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees, but boarded a plane from San Diego with his wife and three boys Thursday evening. They endured a three-hour delay in Chicago and landed in Northern Virginia at 3 a.m.
“I want to be able to meet with Kyle [Shanahan, the Redskins’ offensive coordinator] as soon as possible,” Beck said.
New York Giants wide receiver Ramses Barden wrote on Twitter that he had his “cleats laced up for the [first] time since [N]ovember. Heart beating outta my chest.”
NFL teams are scheduled to report to training camps beginning July 22, when the St. Louis Rams and Chicago Bears, who play each other in the Hall of Fame preseason opener Aug. 7, open camp. The first full round of preseason games is scheduled for Aug. 11-15. The regular season opener is scheduled for Sept. 8 in Green Bay with the Packers hosting the New Orleans Saints.
But other players remained guarded.
“They go back and forth. Until I hear a deal is done and signed, I’m not holding my breath,” said Redskins linebacker Lorenzo Alexander.
Said Redskins wide receiver Anthony Armstrong: “I’m just waiting like a fan, so it sounds good to me. But they can show me better than they can tell me.”
Armstrong has spent the past few weeks training in Miami, but had yet to make plans to head back to Virginia. Several other players reached Friday said they would wait until an official agreement had been struck before they started making plans.
Things remained relatively quiet at Redskins Park. After taking a good portion of June off, coaches returned to work earlier this week to begin planning for the start of training camp. But there was no other increased activity, people at team headquarters said.