According to John Clayton and Chris Mortenson of ESPN, the NFL Owners and Players have tentatively agreed to a plan that would allow the players to vote and accept the new proposed collective bargaining agreement on Monday. On Thursday, the NFL owners recommended the new CBA with a 31-0 vote, with the Oakland Raiders not voting.
Under this proposed plan, players would report to training camps as early as Wednesday and vote on whether or not they want to recertify as a union. The players will need 50 percent plus one vote majority in order to both ratify the new CBA, and recertify as a union.
The players' association's plan calls for the NFLPA's executive committee to meet in Washington, D.C., on Monday. If all agreements have been reached by then, the executive committee is expected to vote to recommend the CBA and recommend recertifying as a union, the source said. After that, the 32 player representatives also must recommend the CBA and recertifying. (via ESPN)
According to Clayton and Mortenson, if the players choose to vote in and ratify the new collective bargaining agreement, some players can begin reporting to camp and resume football activities with their teams as early as Wednesday. Others would simply report to their team facilities on Friday.
If all goes as plan, the new league year could begin this Wednesday and would then follow with several offseason activities.
If the players' executive committee recommends the CBA on Monday, a source said, the pre-league year buffer period could begin Wednesday. Under that scenario, teams can open contract talks with their own unrestricted and restricted free agents and their draft choices, but would not be able to sign any contracts until at least July 30. Teams would also be free to renogotiate the contracts of players on their own team starting as early as Wednesday, a source said.
Upon recertification of the union, free agency could start at 2 p.m. ET on July 30 and rosters would be allowed to expand to 90 players. It is still uncertain when teams can sign undrafted free agents. (via ESPN)
Seems that there is a good chance that all of this goes through, and that the 2011 NFL Season will begin as early as this weekend. Thank you, football gods.