I think it's finally safe to say that the NFL is basically back. OK, maybe that doesn't sound like the most assured declaration right there but until the players vote to recertify the Players Union, an official deal can't be announced. BUT, and it's a biggie, the NFL Players Association and the league's owners have reached agreement on the remaining points needed in their 10-year labor deal, sources from both sides said.
Saturday apparently was a huge day as major breakthroughs were had during a rigorous round of talks by the NFLPA and its representatives. They were able to hammer out the final issues to the point that the new CBA is a lock to pass.
With the leaders of both sides in agreement, the rest is just formality as no collective bargaining agreement has ever been turned down by the players when approved by leadership. With this approval in place, we have a working time-line of the coming week that tells every step that will lead us back to an active NFL.
The timeline, according to an ESPN.com source and originally posted on ESPN.com, is as follows:
• 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.
If the NFLPA has gotten the necessary votes, teams can also start contract talks with their own players, including free agents and draft choices.
• 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.
With this deal basically in place and if this time-line is followed, no preseason games will be missed with the exception of the Hall of Fame game, and the NFL will return with no real damage incurred.
That's something we can all celebrate!
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