The Lockout Is Effectively Over
UPDATE 2:15PM: After 136 days, the NFL Lockout is effectively over. The NFLPA executive committee has voted to approve its settlement with the NFL. The player reps must officially recommend the agreement to their teammates, and the NFL's 1,900 players must then vote on the agreement. These are considered formalities, and it would appear that our long national nightmare is over. Our original report from this morning is below.
This is (hopefully) one of the last times we'll have to use a picture of a man in a suit leaving NFL CBA negotiations to lead off a story. Which is good, because there's only so many photos of a stern-looking DeMaurice Smith or Roger Goodell you can use before you start going crazy.
Here's where we are: Early this morning, FOX Sports' Jay Glazer reported that the NFL and the NFL Players Association had reached an agreement, saying a vote to approve by the players was a "formality" at this point. Saints quarterback Drew Brees emailed his teammates to tell them to get ready, because the deal was done. NFL.com's Albert Breer was a bit less bullish in his assessment, noting that there were still small details that need to be ironed out. Nevertheless, a player vote on the new CBA is expected today.
Here's what's next: At some point between 11am and noon today, the NFLPA will present the agreement to their 13-man committee, who must then recommend it. Once it's recommended, it's presented to the 32 player reps, who will vote on it. The 10 plaintiffs in Brady v. the NFL would have to also sign off. As of now, all of these people are expected to okay the deal.
Here's what will happen in the coming days: Pan. De. Monium. Essentially, 32 NFL teams will be squeezing in a full off-season's worth of activity into a very small window, and the result will be a flurry of free agent activity the likes of which we've never seen. Here is the timeline, per Yahoo Sports:
A three-day window begins on Wednesday in which teams can sign their own free agents, followed by a Wild West-style transaction derby where every player with four or more accrued seasons in the NFL not currently under contract will be loosed on the open market. Teams must sign their own draft picks as well as all interesting undrafted free agents, a process that will most likely begin Tuesday. Training camps will start in shifts through the end of this week — 10 teams reporting Wednesday, another 10 Thursday, and the final 12 on Friday.
Cam Newton will not be happy. Arian Foster will be happy: The players agreed to cut the pool of money for rookies in about half, and this cut will have the biggest effect on the top 10 picks. Last year's number one pick, Sam Bradford, got $50 million in guaranteed money. This year's number one pick, Cam Newton, will get about half that.
The tradeoff for the players under this new agreement is that mid-to-lower round draft picks and free agents who outplay their deals - the Texans' Arian Foster is a prime example - can renegotiate them earlier.
We'll have lockout updates for you as they develop.
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