BBAO: Bears due in camp next week (!)
By Kevin Seifert
We're Black and Blue All Over:
It's great to be back, thanks. It looks like I missed a whole lot of nothing last week.
As we await a new collective bargaining agreement and the presumed end of the NFL lockout, the big question is timing. Nowhere is it more urgent than in the NFC North, whose defending champions are scheduled to report to training camp 11 days from now.
The Chicago Bears would then have their first practice on July 23 in preparation for their scheduled appearance in the Aug. 7 Hall of Fame preseason game. Nothing has been canceled or rescheduled as of yet. But can the NFL truly pull off a new CBA agreement, account for a fair period of free agency, provide enough time to sign draft picks and still get the Bears to training camp in 11 days?
It will be an awfully quick timetable, that's for sure. We'll be here to chronicle the frenzy if it does.
Checking in around the NFC North:
- Bears receiver Rashied Davis, a pending free agent, believes the team wants him back. Davis, via Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune: "I got a feeling from them that they will be offering me something. Everything is talk until it is actually offered. It sounds good until it actually happens. I am hoping. Hopefully, I don't have to pick my family up and move somewhere else."
- Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher on the lockout, via Michael C. Wright of ESPNChicago.com: "I don't think it's good at all. I don't think anything good can come out of this. The guys are getting rest, but we'd rather be working. I know that much. That's what we do. Hopefully there's not a lot of injuries when we start back again, either."
- Detroit Lions defensive ends Cliff Avril and Lawrence Jackson had some Twitter fun with the lockout, notes Carlos Monarrez of the Detroit Free Press.
- Chris McCosky of the Detroit News: "Lions general manager Martin Mayhew is going to have his work cut out for him. Once the new CBA is in place, he will have about a day to digest the new rules and get to work. He will have to sign undrafted free agents (he had a list prepared the day after the draft ended). He will have to recruit free agents and re-sign his own. Oh, and there's a matter of signing the five rookies that he drafted, including Nick Fairley, Mikel Leshoure and Titus Young -- all of whom figure to play important roles next season."
- Tom Kowalski of Mlive.com looks at free-agent cornerbacks the Lions might pursue.
- Make sure you check out this ESPN interview with Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh.
- Green Bay Packers tailback Ryan Grant put on a fundraiser for students at Wilmot High School to help honor the late Ryan Luxem, who died in December from leukemia. Luxem's mother teaches at the school. Mary Stoker-Smith of FOX-Ch. 6 has more.
- The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel is running a tournament to decide fans' favorite play of the Packers' 2010 season.
- Minnesota Vikings rookie tight end Kyle Rudolph is planning to arrive in the Twin Cities this week so he can be in place when the lockout ends, according to Chip Scoggins of the Star Tribune.
- Former NFL and Florida State quarterback Brad Johnson is a supporter of new Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder, writes Sid Hartman of the Star Tribune.
- Here is a good primer from Tim Nelson of Minnesota Public Radio on where the Vikings' stadium situation was when the state of Minnesota government shutdown began
Based on the tenative schedule for opening the season I'd say no. This is from a post I made in the General Forum. The offical start for the 2011 season wouldn't take place until July 28th and the FA signing period would last through August 16th. I can't see how they could possibly play that game or have a normal preseason with that schedule unless everything is being done "on the fly".
Originally Posted by The Benjamin
Per a Monday morning report by Chris Mortensen and Adam Schefter of ESPN, the NFL and NFLPA are drilling down through the labor impasse to the point where both sides could be ready to ratify a new collective bargaining agreement by Thursday, July 21, That's when the next owner's meetings take place — this time in Atlanta, Florida — and where the Lords of the Realm could agree on a new deal with the players having signed off on the basic agreement. Negotiations will begin again on Wednesday, and Schefter also reports that there are some on the players' side who believe that their group has reached the limit of compromise.
If everyone is able to get past all remaining complications, the NFL has already put together a series of "transition dates" to get the league year started as quickly as possible. All parties will be playing a furious game of catch-up as the result of a lockout in place since March 11. The dates are approximate, of course, but fairly in line with what we've heard elsewhere.
July 21: Meet with teams on the updated rules; voluntary team-sponsored training would be allowed.
July 25: Undrafted rookies could be signed, and teams would have a window of opportunity to sign their own free agents. What we don't know yet is whether free agency will be available to players whose contracts expire after four years, as it was before 2010 when the number went up to six, but the winds seem to be blowing that way. Obviously, that would put a far larger pool of true free agents on the market.
July 28: The league year would begin, and free agency would start. This, of course, would be a very interesting date parameter in that teams could have a three-day headstart on signing their own free agents. It is not known at this time whether the "right of first refusal" tender will be invoked as part of a new CBA, but I wouldn't bet on it.
August 2: Teams must have rosters set at 90 players to begin the preseason.
August 3: Restricted free agents can sign offer sheets with other teams, and prior teams will able to match those offers by August 7.
August 12: Rookies must have signed their contracts.
August 16: The end of the signing period for restricted free agents.
August 29: Deadline for players to report if they want to earn an accrued season under the new CBA.
I'm getting to that age where a lifetime warranty just doesn't mean as much to me anymore as an afternoon nap. Honey Badger Don't Care. Honey Badger Don't Give a Shit.
I don't care about the HOF game anyway. Is it an honor? Sure. But five preseason games are far too many. Fans and players complain about the normal four.
Get in camp in time to play two preseason games, and start the season on time!
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