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June 21 emerges as a potentially key date in labor talks

Roger Goodell, Jerry Jones, Jerry Richardson, Pat Bowlen, Mark Murphy

** THIS CORRECTS THAT MARK MURPHY IS THE GREEN BAY PACKERS TEAM PRESIDENT AND CEO, NOT THE OWNER** NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, left, is accompanied by NFL owners from left, Dallas Cowboys’ Jerry Jones, Carolina Panthers’ Jerry Richardson, Denver Broncos Pat Bowlen and Green Bay Packers’ team president and chief executive officer Mark Murphy as they prepare to cross a street to the federal courthouse Tuesday, April 19, 2011 in Minneapolis where the NFL and its locked-out football players continue court-ordered mediation. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)

Jim Mone/AP

Before a new labor deal can be finalized, one of the most important items on the “to do” list entails 24 of the 32 owners approving the terms of the agreement. Despite the many communications tools of the modern era, the preference remains getting the owners in a room, hashing it all out, and taking a vote.

With the owners meeting next Tuesday in Chicago and Adam Schefter of ESPN now reporting that they’ve been told to pack a bag and plan to spend the night, we see two possible explanations. First, they’re in the mood for a sleepover. Second, they possibly will be voting on the terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement.

Even if a deal remains days or weeks away as of next Tuesday, the owners could choose to pre-approve the final terms to be offered by the negotiating team, eliminating the need for a vote once an agreement in principle is reached between the folks hashing out the details.

So while, in our view, it’s neither good news nor bad news at this point, it lays the foundation for potentially great news.