The NFL and NFLPA turned to an independent arbiter -part of a government labor relations group - to help mediate their dispute.
I'll admit, I did NOT see that one coming. The way this works is that the owners group is in one room laying out their proposal to the mediator; the NFLPA is in another room laying out their proposal. The mediator then looks for commonalities and makes suggestions to each on how they might get a deal done.
Will it work? I still doubt it. This is not binding, and its likely just to get all their unabridged differences on the table, without bickering or sparring, or even communicating through the press. At least they'll be able to see where their differences really are, and with a neutral observer it may help each side to appreciate the others' position.
Meanwhile the two other streams move forward: the NFLPA will still have its day in front of the special master regarding TV revenue; and the NFL will pursue its legal action stating that the NFLPA is not - and never has been - negotiating in good faith.
The relative good news is that players are being encouraged to go to the combine (and not boycott it). While I think that the combine is a colossal waste of time - and watching it on TV even more so - the opportunity for coaches to get to meet some of the players is good, and may help them to form opinions about them.