Reports are flooding in which state that the NFL Players Associations (NFLPA) and NFL Owners have reached an agreement on all remaining points needed to secure a 10-year labor deal, allowing the league’s lockout to end.
The deal must still be voted on by a majority of players, however that part of the deal is seen more as a formality than a roadblock with the NFLPA planning a major press conference for Monday.
The agreement ends a 130-day labor dispute which put the 2011-2012 season in jeopardy and forced teams to close down their facilities for players.
The timeline for final votes according to ESPN.com is:
• Monday: NFLPA’s executive committee votes whether to recommend approval of the CBA approved by owners on Thursday. Then, a player rep from each of the 32 teams votes whether to recommend approval of the CBA.
• Wednesday: Players from some teams report to facilities and vote whether to recertify the NFLPA as a union and accept the proposed CBA.
Once the NFLPA has the votes needed teams can once again begin talks with free agents and draft choices, followed by team practices and then hopefully business as usual.
After first votes the timeline put into place will include:
• Friday: The remaining players report and vote whether to approve recertification and the CBA. If the NFLPA then receives the necessary 50-percent-plus-one-vote majority in approval, then it recertifies as a union.
• Saturday: Free agency starts and teams can officially sign players.
It should be noted that no collective bargaining agreement has ever been turned down by NFL players once their leadership has accepted the deal which bodes well for fans who can’t wait for their favorite teams to kick off a new season.
As a Chicago resident and Chicago Bears fan I’m happy to know that a bit of football joy will return to the city, it’s hard to talk to a Bears fan these days without feeling like you’re attending a funeral.