It appears the NFL lockout is at an end, as the NFL owners and player association have a deal finalized, pending only the confirmation from the NFL. In the meantime, Adam Schefler of ESPN.com has produced a likely schedule for the coming post-lockout era:
According to the projected timeline, the new league year would officially start on Aug. 2 at 4 p.m. ET.
- Teams can sign their own free agents and begin talking with other unrestricted free agents Monday afternoon.
- Teams can begin signing unrestricted free agents Tuesday at noon ET but those contracts would not take effect until Aug. 2.
- Teams can begin talking trades Monday afternoon. Any trades would become official on Saturday, July 30.
This could very likely lead to a lot of roster news today and tomorrow as teams rush in to settle their rosters and fill their practice squads with undrafted free agents.
It appears the 2011 NFL season is getting real now and the grass is, essentially, getting mowed on the training camp facilities. Pretty much all that remains now is the re-certifying of the NFL Player's Association (NFLPA):
The [lockout-ending] agreement is a bit of a leap of faith by the owners. The lockout will be lifted before the NFLPA is recertified. To do so requires 50 percent, plus 1 vote by the players to do so. The expectation is that it will happen Tues, with Weds. at the latest.
It seems highly unlikely at this point that the players would allow any other snags to prevent the closure of this longest-ever football lockout.