Folks, we are halfway there! The NFL owners have approved the new CBA deal and settlement terms by a vote of 31-0 (Raiders abstained). It will ensure 10 years of labor peace in the NFL and settle all outstanding lawsuits. That is... if the players ratify it as well.
And that is what we are waiting for. Reports are that the players have an 8pm conference call scheduled at which point they could vote to approve the deal as well. NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith literally jumped into the live shot ESPN was doing as they were reporting the news and said that the league was sending over the deal they just approved.
If the players vote to ratify the deal, the lockout would be almost over. However, the players would have to reconstitute as a union before the owners officially lift the lockout. According to reports, that's the only way the owners can ensure that the agreement would be binding. That process could potentially go into the weekend, however teams could open their doors to players to allow them to get together and sign their union cards.
The tentative start of training camp according to ESPN's John Clayton would be August 1st.
- The details are basically what we've heard.
- The cap will be $120 million with a $106 million floor.
- Veterans will earn free agency after four years.
- Players will get 48% of league revenue.
- Rookie contracts will be four years with a team option for a fifth.
- Rookie salaries will be lowered and there will be a cap on rookie spending.
- Training camps will start later and there will be no more full contact two-a-day practices.
- OTAs will be reduced from 14 to 9.
The only possible stumbling block now is that the players must reconstitute as a union and some players reportedly do not want that. However, they only need a majority of the vote to do so.
[Update by JasonB, 07/21/11 7:20 PM EDT ] Roger Goodell is addressing the media as we speak. He says that clubs will open their doors to players this Saturday. They are prepared to start a new league year on Wednesday, but that is conditional on the players re-constituting as a union. Also, the Hall of Fame game has been officially canceled.
[Update by JasonB, 07/21/11 7:29 PM EDT ] Jeff Pash says that because of the urgency and compressed time, teams may start agreeing to contracts with their draft picks and free agents before the full agreement is ratified and union is reconstituted. However, if the players were to reject the deal, the contracts would be null and void.