ESPN.com is reporting that there is a growing belief amongst the NFL owners and the Players Association that a deal could be in place by July 21st. There are a couple of sticking points, like the rookie wage scale, but there is increased confidence on both sides that something can get worked out in the next 7-10 days.
From ESPN: While a rookie wage system has been identified as the most complex issue still to be resolved between the owners and players as they return to the negotiating table this week in New York, the level of overall confidence in reaching an agreement also is evident in a document known as “The Transition Rules” that NFL teams would follow if and when both players and owners ratify a new labor agreement.
The Transition Rules spell out an actual timeline for roster transactions under the July 21 deal scenario, including the start of the new league year during which free agents would become eligible for the open market on July 28.
The proposed timeline is as follows (assuming deal done July 21st):
July 21 — Educate the clubs on the new league rules and allow voluntary training for teams and agents.
July 25 — Sign undrafted rookies, as well as give free agents a chance to re-sign with their teams.
July 28 — League year starts and free agency begins.
Aug. 2 — Rosters must be set at 90 players.
Aug. 3 — Deadline for restricted free agents to sign offer sheets.
Aug. 7 — A four-day match period for teams to match restricted free-agent offer sheets.
Aug 12 — Deadline for rookies to sign contracts (not yet agreed upon).
Aug. 16 — Signing period for restricted free agents ends, as does the signing period for franchise and transition tenders.
Aug. 29 — Deadline for players to report to earned credit for an accrued season toward free agency.
As you can see things will move very quickly and the Jets front office better have a solid plan in place as the team will have to deal with an abundance of personnel decisions. It appears that the Jets will have 3 days to re-sign players like Braylon Edwards, Santonio Holmes, and Antonio Cromartie before they can hit the open market. At some point during those 3 days it seems that the team will have to make some “take it or leave it” offers so they can move on and become aggressive when the free agent market opens up. Hang on to your hats Jets fans this could get crazy.
What do you think about the Transition Rules and the timeline? Talk about them in the JetNation forums.