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NFL Lockout Update: New Deal By July 4th "Increasingly Realistic"

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Last week there were rumors and reports of significant progress being made in the NFL Lockout negotiations. Those positive reports have continued this week with more confirmations and timelines being leaked by hopefully well-placed NFL sources. 

According to several sources and first reported by Adam Schefter, NFL Owners received a memo from the NFL asking that they plan to stay in Chicago till at least June 22nd in case league meetings from the 21st run long. This is an indication that the negotiations are very serious and a vote may be taking place on a new CBA at those meetings. 

Here's the word on the street (and by 'the street' I mean 'the internet'):

Schefter said on his twitter account: "Some GM's believe a new CBA will be voted on June 21/22nd. Doesn't mean it gets approval, but teams could vote on CBA next week." And he added, "After taking off past two rounds of talks in Chicago and on Long Island, lawyers back involved in these meetings. This time it's good."

NFL.com's Albert Breer provided a concise explanation of what's going on currently when he wrote, "The NFL and players resumed their clandestine face-to-face negotiations on Tuesday on Maryland's eastern shore, the third such set of talks they've staged this month as the traditional opening of training camps draws closer. Legal teams were present for the first time during this series of talks between the sides, who are expected to continue to meet into Wednesday.

The parties met for three days in suburban Chicago two weeks ago, in the days leading up to the June 3 injunction appeal hearing before the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, and again last week for two days on Long Island, N.Y. NFL owners have a one-day meeting scheduled in suburban Chicago next Tuesday, and they are planning to meet once a month until the situation is resolved. A memo went out to owners asking that they keep their schedules for next week flexible, in case the June 21 meeting spills into Tuesday night or even Wednesday."

Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk added, "Jeffrey Kessler and Jim Quinn are representing the players, and Jeff Pash and Bob Batterman are present on behalf of the owners. Schefter regards the development as a sign that the talks are becoming more detailed. Still, given the fact that the lawyers in the past have driven the parties apart, their presence could potentially screw things up."

Interestingly, Mark Maske of the Washington Post (a generally well-respected paper with regard to their investigatory journalism - you know, the whole Watergate, Deep Throat deal?) had this to say this morning as well: "It is possible--but very unlikely--that the owners could vote on a labor deal at that meeting, said several of the people, who did not participate in the talks but are familiar with developments. It is more likely, they said, that owners could give negotiators their opinions and a deal with the players could be completed the following week.

A deal that week, just before the July 4 holiday, appears increasingly realistic, said people on both sides of the dispute. Others, however, cautioned that a deal between league and the players remains less than a certainty and talks still could unravel."

For more up-to-date coverage of these 'developments' throughout the day, go to SB Nation's NFL Lockout Story Stream.