All 32 union representatives from every NFL team have just voted to approve a 10-year collective bargaining agreement, formally ending the NFL lockout.Unlike the last CBA, the 10-year deal does not allow either side to opt-out before it expires, ensuring a full decade of labour peace and yearly football games.
Now begins a week-long scramble for team to sign-free agents and draft picks, make trades, and open their training camps.
The 10 teams that will be playing their preseason games first will open training camp on Wednesday.
Starting Friday afternoon, teams will be able to formally sign any available free agents – they’ll have an exclusive 72-hour window to lock up their own free agents and unsigned draft picks – giving players, agents, and GMs less than a week to figure out the new salary cap and free agent signing rules.
Until then, it’s a lot of paperwork, phone calls, and other lawyer-ly housekeeping as a whole offseason’s worth of action will be crammed into a few short weeks. The first preseason game will be August 11.
One of the key issues that will have to sorted out once the union reforms, will be how to deal with players who may have violated the NFL’s personal conduct policy during the lockout. Can they be punished … and if so, when?
In the end, only one game will be lost (the annual Hall of Fame exhibition game) and both players and owners will get a full season’s worth of your …. er, their hard-earned money. Making everything that we went through this summer – 132 days of hand-wringing, fighting, anger, and awful, awful PR – nothing but pointless showmanship from both sides.
Kinda like the Super Bowl halftime show.
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