When the NFL Players Association's 11-man executive committee formally agrees to accept the owners' labor proposal this morning -- around 10 a.m. -- it will effectively end a boring, maddening off-season. As the league's approximate 1,900 players show up to team facilities Tuesday-Wednesday they will vote to recertify the union.
Far as we can tell, trades can begin being discussed this afternoon and teams can also commence talking to free agents, though they can't be technically signed until later this week.
On Wednesday 10 teams will open training camp, another 10 Thursday and 10 more Friday. The Texans and Jets are scheduled to open on Sunday.
As for the Cowboys ...
Training camp will open (probably Wednesday, maybe Thursday) in San Antonio. The team's equipment trucks left Valley Ranch headed for The Alamodome this morning.
Then ... prepare for chaos. We're about to embark on five months of free agency to be crammed into five days.
The Cowboys, for example, have to sign their own free agents such as Doug Free and Stephen Bowen, carve out salary-cap room by perhaps cutting Marion Barber, sign a free-agent safety and fill out their camp rosters with a myriad of signings. Oh yeah, and don't forget about signing their draft picks. Under the new CBA which includes a rookie wage scale, first-round pick Tyron Smith will get a four-year contract. The new NFL? Last year top pick Sam Bradford received a six-year, $78 million deal from the Rams. This year the Panthers will only to be allowed to give top pick Cam Newton four years in the neighborhood of $22 million.
With the NFL attempting to get teams into camp two weeks before their pre-season openers, that would put the Cowboys at Thursday. But we're also hearing that the Cowboys are moving their scheduled Aug. 11 exhibition opener against the Denver Broncos at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington to the weekend of Aug. 13-14, preferably the night of the 14th.
A timeline released later today will begat a flurry of unprecedented personnel moves. Buckle up.
The good news: The NFL lockout is over.