The much talked about progress between the NFL owners and players regarding a new CBA seems to finally be real. According to reports, the two sides are close enough that a new deal is expected to be ratified by July 21, when the owners meet in Atlanta. Per the report, a schedule of events previously slated to start July 1st would simply be pushed back three weeks. Here is a breakdown of the tentative league schedule if a deal is struck.
• July 21 — Educate the clubs on the news league rules and allow voluntary training for teams and agents.
• July 25 — Sign undrafted rookies, as well as give free agents a chance to re-sign with their teams.
• July 28 — League year starts and free agency begins.
• Aug. 2 — Rosters must be set at 90 players.
• Aug. 3 — Deadline for restricted free agents to sign offer sheets.
• Aug. 7 — A four-day match period for teams to match restricted free-agent offer sheets.
• Aug 12 — Deadline for rookies to sign contracts (not yet agreed upon).
• Aug. 16 — Signing period for restricted free agents ends, as does the signing period for franchise and transition tenders.
• Aug. 29 — Deadline for players to report to earned credit for an accrued season toward free agency.
The only thing better than having football back? Non-stop action as soon as players can sign starting on the 25th. I’m imagining something similar to the rush right after the draft for UDFAs except applied to unrestricted and restricted free agents.
As we’ve seen far too many times since the end of last season, things can fall apart quickly but with actual dates emerging I think we can all start to get excited about actually talking about real football again.