MINNEAPOLIS, MN - MAY 16: Former NFL Players Association Executive Director DeMaurice Smith speaks to members of the media after leaving court-ordered mediation at the U.S. Courthouse on May 16, 2011 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Mediation was ordered after a hearing on an antitrust lawsuit filed by NFL players against the NFL owners that followed a breakdown of labor talks between the two in March. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
The NFL lockout has been dragging on for months with no end in sight. Then on Thursday, the owners reached an agreement amongst their ranks and announced that there was a deal. After the players said "not so fast," many fans were becoming further disenchanted. After more discussions today, however, it looks as if there may be an agreement sooner rather than later.
According to John Clayton of ESPN, the 11-member NFLPA executive board will vote Monday to recommend accepting the CBA the owners voted on Thursday, as well as recertifying the union. Under the plan, players would report to training camps as early as Wednesday, where they would vote to recertify the NFLPA. With that timetable, we could see a full CBA and by this time next week, when all camps would be open. The NFLPA would need a simple majority to achieve both objectives.
If the plan were accepted, free agents could begin talking with teams about contracts on Wednesday, when the buffer between the CBA ratification and new league year would begin. Then as soon as the NFLPA officially is reconstituted, free agency would begin the next day.
Upon recertification of the union, free agency could start at 2 p.m. ET on Saturday, July 30, and rosters could expand to 90.
To recap: a week from now we could be sitting at St. John Fisher watching training camp. We're in the home stretch.