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League, Players Agree to Mediation

On the labor front, the NFL and the NFLPA agreed to mediation Thursday.

After holding separate discussions with representatives from the league and the union, FMCS director George H. Cohen said both sides accepted an invitation from his agency to get involved in the stalled negotiations.

The Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, an independent U.S. government agency, will oversee negotiations in Washington beginning Friday.

Mediation simply means the two sides agree to meet with a neutral third party to try and work through their differences. This is probably a good step since it means the sides will be talking after a lot of venom recently flying. There is still a difference of billions of dollars between the two sides. This seems like it would only lay the groundwork for real discussions to begin. Do not count on any breakthroughs in the near future.

The fact of the matter is there is very little sense of urgency. What will really be lost on March 4 if there is a lockout? Free agency delays might be inconvenient, but will any fans really be upset about losing it or OTA's? Fans will only get nervous once games are threatened. That is a real deadline. That is a long way off. Perhaps things will move more quickly, but there is not a ton of incentive here.