NFL lockout could end Monday
Our long national nightmare may finally be over.
The NFL Players Association committee is expected to give its OK tomorrow to the collective bargaining agreement that owners approved Thursday. It must then be passed along to the 1,900 players, who will vote to ratify and reconstitute as a union, ending the 130-day impasse.
Executive committee members flowed into Washington, D.C., yesterday with plans for a news conference today, so it appears a vote that brings labor peace for the next 10 years is imminent.
Here’s how the ball will get rolling once the deal is passed. It’s going to be a crazy time, but the entire preseason except for the already canceled Hall of Fame game will remain intact.
Some facilities will open. Others will wait until Friday, when the re-certification process is expected to be completed. Players can have workouts, take physicals, get playbooks and talk to coaches. Teams would begin a 72-hour period in which they can negotiate with their own free agents, drafted rookies and undrafted free agents. No contracts, however, can be signed until Saturday.
Training camp opens. So does free agency. If you thought the previous three days were nuts, wait until coaches start installing offenses and defenses not knowing who might be added to or subtracted from their rosters. Roster sizes will increase from 80 to 90.
The Weeks After
Some unresolved issues — including changes to the drug testing, discipline and benefits plans — can only be addressed by a union, so those negotiations will remain ongoing. None are expected to create major problems, though, and the preseason schedule would begin Thursday, Aug. 11.