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Report: Rookie salary scale settled

NEW YORK, July 14 (UPI) -- NFL owners and players reached agreement Thursday on a rookie pay scale, bringing pro football's labor war closer to a conclusion, ESPN reported.

The two sides had agreed throughout the bargaining process that some sort of rookie salary scale should be put in place, but just how to do so had been one of the sticking points in ending the current lockout.

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ESPN said first-round draft picks would receive four-year contracts with an option for a fifth year. The amount of money to be paid in the fifth year had been in contention, with the owners wanting a fixed $4 million and the players wanting a sliding scale for the first-round selections that would make the first 16 picks among the top 10 paid players in the league at their position.

The lockout began March 12 after negotiations for a new contract broke down. An agreement is needed soon so the exhibition season can begin as scheduled.

The first exhibition contest of the year, the Hall of Fame Game in Canton, Ohio, is scheduled to send the Chicago Bears against the St. Louis Rams Aug. 7.

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