The past 136 days have been a nightmare for NFL fans, who feared the season might not start. However, now that nightmare is over.
Both sides put the last touches on a new collective bargaining agreement which ended the lockout early this morning, and will allow football to be back in business soon.
The NFL Players Association executive committee is gathering in Washington D.C. today to vote to recommend the deal to the 32 players’ representatives, who will then propose the deal to the 1,900 players.
The voting process will start later today.
According to a NY Daily News source, if the players approve the deal Monday, as expected, NFL teams can start signing their draft choices and rookie free agents as early as tomorrow. The clubs can also start to talk to veteran free agents; however, signings cannot begin until Friday at 6 p.m.
Teams are allowed to report to training camp 15 days before their first game of the preseason.
Camps will begin opening for 10 teams on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.
The longest work stoppage in NFL history began back on March 11 and has been in effect for 136 days. Owners voted 31-0-1 last week in Atlanta to approve the deal. The players held off their vote as negotiations continued over the weekend. The final points were settled to vote early Monday morning.
The lockout will be replaced by a wild free agency period as teams scramble to get players signed to fill their rosters for training camp. Training camp rosters are being extended from 80 to 90 players because there was no offseason.