Sources: NFL Lockout Rumors Take Optimistic Turn, 18-Game Schedule Likely for 2012

The 2010-11 NFL season may not be over, but with a lockout looming, it's safe to say football fans have one eye on the playoffs and one eye on the horizon. For now, though, it seems like good news could be on the way.

NESN.com's Patriots beat writer Jeff Howe spoke with sources who say that there is optimism that an owners' lockout of the 2011 NFL season can be avoided.

"Hearing from sources now there's optimism about avoiding the lockout. 18-game season and rookie scale are basically a done deal," Howe tweeted on Tuesday.

Howe was also told that while an agreement for the 18-game schedule seems to be in place, the change likely won't take effect until the 2012 season.

"[A schedule change in] 2011 is a possibility but sounds unlikely."

There had been plenty of back-and-forth between the owners and the players about whether or not the league would move to an 18-game schedule, but it appears that the owners may have won out there.

While the owners seem to be getting what they want with the 18-game schedule, they still need to get on the same page for a new collective bargaining agreement to be reached.

"Biggest snag remaining, sources say, is revenue sharing between owners, who need to come together before CBA can be reached," Howe also tweeted.

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