The NFLPA executive committee and the 32 player representatives have unanimously approved a new collective bargaining agreement ending the 132 day NFL lockout. The actual agreement won’t be finalized until the entire union re-certifies and votes on it, but for all intents and purposes, football is assured to return this year and the NFL will open for business tomorrow.
Roger Goodell and NFLPA head DeMaurice Smith held a joint press conference at NFLPA headquarters today to announce the deal.
"It’s a long time coming and football’s back. That’s great news for everyone," Goodell said. "I think this agreement is going to make our game better. "
"To our fans, I know you love this game as much as I do," said Smith, "I know it's been a very long process since the day we stood here on that day in March. But our guys stuck together when no one lese thought we would and football is back because of it. I'm proud of the men that you see behind me, I'm proud of the former players that have stood with us, and most of all, I dig our fans who love our game."
This means that an entire offseason of transactions will now be condensed into a matter of days. Check out this stat as an example of how nuts things will be. Teams have an average of 40 players currently under contract. This season, rosters will be expanded to 90 players for camp. So that means teams will be adding an average of 50 players over the next week. That could mean upwards of 1,600 contracts being negotiated this week.
Starting at 10am tomorrow teams will be free to work out trades, sign free agents, rookies, undrafted players… It’s all fair game. Since rookies aren’t going anywhere, look for teams to make trades and veteran free agents their top priority over the next 24-48 hours.
Rookie contracts should actually be much easier this year. Under the terms of the new CBA, rookie deals will be much simpler than in the past. There will be no voidable years or big escalators etc. So the amount of long holdouts and acrimonious negotiations should be lower.