As you probably know by now, NFL owners approved an agreement last night, throwing the antitrust settlement into the hands of players. Clouds of confusion surround what is actually happening. Players claim the owners passed an altered agreement, some say the delay is merely having the time to review, while reconstituting as a union in the face of a deadline presents another issue.
Chris Mortensen of ESPN is reporting that a player vote could happened today. If it does, expect things to start happening very, very quickly as teams piece themselves back together for the 2011 NFL season. What would that timeline look like, at least the highlights?
If a deal gets voted on by players today, teams will open their facilities on Saturday. Players matriculating into the building would be allowed to workout, meet with trainers and team medical staff and start classroom work with coaches. Teams would also be allowed to start signing, and negotiating, with draft picks, restricted free agents, exclusive rights free agents and players designated with the franchise tag.
At 2 p.m. tomorrow, pending a Friday approval, teams can start talking to undrafted rookies and unrestricted free agents from their own roster and around the league. No signings, however, could occur until Wednesday, July 27, except for undrafted rookies, who could sign contracts on Sunday.
Removing the exclusivity of the free agent window takes away all the tampering that would have happened anyway. The rumor mill during that span will be turning fast enough to solve our energy crisis.
Training camp would start on Wednesday as well.
Or, the frenzy may have to wait. No vote today pushes that timeline back...back to what all depends. Stay tuned.
BTW, once free agency does happen, rumors and the occasional bit of news are going to be spitting out furiously. We'll keep it all updated right here. If you really want to follow it bit by bit, be sure to follow us on Twitter.