Player Reps Vote to Accept Agreement.........
Vote now in hands of Brady plaintiffs after player reps approve deal
More Columns >
WASHINGTON –- The lockout could well be in its final hours, and a timeline for league business opening appears to be in place.
The 32 player representatives have voted unanimously Monday afternoon to approve the deal agreed to early Monday morning. The vote now goes as a recommendation to the 10 plaintiffs in Brady antitrust lawsuit, who have agreed to sign off on the settlement. A joint press conference with NFL PLayers Association executive director DeMaurice Smith and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is expected shortly.
Legal teams for NFL owners and players negotiated through the weekend and deep into Monday morning, wrapping up at 3 a.m. with an agreement on basic terms.
'Good morning world!!!! Let's play ball'
http://static.nfl.com/static/content..._110725_IL.jpg As news of a new labor agreement between the NFL and its players spread on Monday, numerous players took to their Twitter accounts to share their reactions. More ...
The 32 team player reps began a conference call at 11 a.m. ET to go over a summary of the deal, with some of the key points of contention pulled out and explained. Sources say there is no opt-out in the deal, so the current agreement will last for 10 years without the ability to renegotiate.
Meanwhile, the sides have agreed to a timeline that would allow some transactions and league business to begin Tuesday, sources with direct knowledge of the situation told NFL Network insider Jason La Canfora. The process to get to the league year, including rules for full unrestricted free agency between teams includes "wrinkles" and will be more complicated than expected.
According to the documents being forwarded to all agents from the NFLPA, obtained by La Canfora, they key dates to the league year would be as follows:
Monday: The free agent list will be published at 6 p.m. ET.
Tuesday: Facilities open “for training, conditioning” and “classroom” work; trading period begins (no time specified); teams can start signing undrafted free agents and their own draft picks at 10 a.m. ET; teams can begin negotiating with any free agents -- their own and those who were with other teams.
Thursday: Waiver period begins and teams can begin terminating contracts at 4:01 p.m. ET.
Friday: Full free agency begins -- teams can begin signing their own free agents and those who played with other teams at 6 p.m. ET.
The NFL Players Association has scheduled a Monday conference call at 2 p.m. ET to brief agents on the rules of the new collective bargaining agreement. NFL executive director DeMaurice Smith is expected to hold a press conference at some point Monday, assuming a deal is finalized. Commisioner Roger Goodel is also expected in Washington, D.C. Monday.
According to sources who helped create the documents, training camps can open on Wednesday, but no teams can be in pads until Saturday. So as a practical matter, no real camp activity will begin for any team until Saturday, but in the new CBA it stipulated the first three days of camp are non hitting. Furthermore, by Wednesday most of the teams opening camp won't have 90 players under contract yet, anyway.
The Dallas Cowboys are one team that has already begun training camp preparations, having sent their equipment trucks to San Antonio on Sunday.
All of this is subject to both sides ratifying and the NFL Players Association recertifying. The goal is for a vote to follow Monday's NFLPA conference call. Some members of the 13-man executive committee weren’t expected to arrive in D.C. until the 11 o’clock hour. The player reps would be first to vote on the deal. After that, the 10 plaintiffs in the Brady et al v. National Football League et al lawsuit would have to sign off, which is fully expected.
The league's old labor deal expired in March, and the owners locked out the players for the NFL's first work stoppage since 1987. "We have every reason to believe it's going to be a good day," NFL spokesman Greg Aiello wrote in an email to The Associated Press. The major economic framework for the deal was worked out more than a week ago.
That included how the more than $9 billion in annual league revenues will be divided (about 53 percent to owners and 47 percent to players over the next decade; the old CBA resulted in nearly a 50-50 split); a per-club cap of about $120 million for salary and bonuses in 2011 -- and at least that in 2012 and 2013 -- plus about $22 million for benefits; a salary system to rein in spending on first-round draft picks; and unrestricted free agency for most players after four seasons.
Now that the 32 team representatives approve a deal, the total NFLPA membership would need to vote, with a simple majority required for passage. The 10 named plaintiffs in the players' lawsuit against the league -- including Tom Brady, Peyton Manning and Drew Brees -- must officially inform the court in Minneapolis of their approval of the pact, too.
Even after that, while training camps would be opened, a true collective bargaining can't be agreed upon until the NFLPA re-establishes itself as a union. Players will need to vote to do so even as the sides put the finishing touches on a deal; only after the NFLPA is again a union can it negotiate such items as the league's personal conduct policy and drug testing.
NFL Network insider Jason LaCanfora and The Associated Press contributed to this report