Good news abounds on the NFL Lockout front! According to this excellent article by Chris Mortensen and Adam Schefter of ESPN, inside sources are saying they expect a deal to be ratified on July 21st, the date of the next owners meeting.
The article lays out a likely schedule of events ( a timeline) should a new CBA be in place on the 21st. It includes what is being termed as “transition rules” that basically lays out the guidelines of what is to happen and when. Here is an excerpt of the above referenced article that describes the probable plan:
• July 1 (July 21): Educate the clubs on the news league rules and allow voluntary training for teams and agents.
• July 5 (July 25): Sign undrafted rookies, as well as give free agents a chance to re-sign with their teams.
• July 8 (July 28) — League year starts and free agency begins.
• July 13 (Aug. 2) — Rosters must be set at 90 players.
• July 14 (Aug. 3) — Deadline for restricted free agents to sign offer sheets.
• July 18 (Aug. 7 ) — A four-day match period for teams to match restricted free-agent offer sheets.
• July 23 (Aug 12) — Deadline for rookies to sign contracts (not yet agreed upon).
• July 27 (Aug. 16) — Signing period for restricted free agents ends, as does the signing period for franchise and transition tenders.
• Aug. 9 (Aug. 29) — Deadline for players to report to earned credit for an accrued season toward free agency.
The first thing that stands out to me is the very short period of time between the start of the league year (free agency) and the deadline to have rosters set at 90 players. That’s going to be one week of an utter chaotic signing period and trades.
It’s going to be like throwing a few gold fish into a tank of starving piranhas. A free agent feeding frenzy!
It seems as if the biggest issue of this whole mess has been finally figured out; how to split the revenue. It is believed that the players will get a 47-48% share of “total revenue”.
However, there are two sticking points that remain before an agreement can finally be reached. The main one is the rookie wage scale and the other is the “right of first refusal” tags that teams want to be able to use.
The rookie wage scale is the one that still needs to be hammered out but this right of first refusal (ROFR) business will be of more interest to the fans. The NFLPA has rejected the ROFR idea but if that ends up being approved, it will dramatically impact free agency.
If you haven’t heard, ROFR is basically what the owners want as a method for additional transition tags to place on players so they would have the right to match any offer before losing that player.
It would also add more time to the process of signing players because that means a team would have to meet with the player and come up with some kind of deal that the other team won’t, or can’t, match (think “poison pill” contracts). Then there would be a waiting period to see if that team will match the player’s offer.
With a very short window of time to do all this, I sincerely hope ROFR does not get approved.
But the main thing now is just ending this ridiculous lockout once and for all. Here is a quote by an inside source from the above referenced article:
“We’re at the 10-, maybe the 15-yard line, and we’re marching down the field, and both sides want to score and I think we will.”
They’re in the red zone now. Hopefully they’re playing against the 2010 Eagles defense because then they’ll be guaranteed to score! (I know, low blow to Eagles fans but hey, it’s true).
Let’s get this deal done people!