It sounds like the NFL Players are going to agree to the new labor deal and end this lockout. I hope this report by Mark Maske is accurate and he usually is right on the money. So the NFL Lockout will finally be over and done with it and we can get on with a quick rookie and free agent signing period.
NFL player leaders are scheduled to meet Monday in Washington, where they are likely to recommend approval of the lockout-ending collective bargaining agreement already ratified by the league’s franchise owners, several people familiar with the deliberations said Saturday.
The lockout could officially end next Saturday with the opening of the free agent market and teams beginning training camps, those people said, cautioning that those plans were subject to change. The 10-year labor agreement first would have to be ratified by a majority of the nearly 2,000 NFL players.
But if free agency begins and training camps open Saturday, the preseason would be likely to be played as scheduled beginning Aug. 11, said those people familiar with the situation.
The plans for Monday’s meeting of the players’ ruling executive committee were made amid significant progress Saturday between the league and players in working out the final details separating them. If the executive committee recommends approval of the labor deal Monday to all the players, the necessary ratification by all the players would be virtually certain, people within the sport said.
The owners voted, 31-0 with one abstention by the Oakland Raiders, to ratify the collective bargaining agreement at Thursday’s meeting. Some players reacted angrily Thursday night to the owners’ vote, saying all the terms of the labor deal were not done and the owners had ratified some provisions that had not been negotiated. But the tensions on the players’ side eased soon thereafter, and the two sides went back to work ironing out the final details.
Officials of the NFL Players Association worked at the organization’s offices in downtown Washington and remained in touch with player representatives by telephone and electronic communication.
When the owners voted Thursday to ratify the labor deal, they passed a resolution setting terms for an end to the lockout, on the condition that the executive committee first recommended ratification of the labor agreement to all the players. Under the owners’ resolution, on Saturday players would have been permitted to report to teams’ facilities for voluntary workouts and teams also would have been permitted to begin re-signing their own free agents and signing their rookies to conditional contracts. Also under the owners’ resolution, full free agency would have begun and training camps would have opened on Wednesday.
It no longer appeared Saturday that the settlement of the antitrust lawsuit would be a problem. Other final details, such as workman’s compensation issues, did not appear problematic, either.