The NFL and the NFLPA* (as called by ProFootballTalk.com), are still arguing over the rookie wage scale and retired player benefits. According to an ESPN report, the owners are targeting a July 21st ratification of a new CBA. In other words, they simply don’t believe that a deal will get struck sooner. Consider that today is the 11th of July. It’s safe to say that if the owners are tabbing the 21st for ratification, then we can’t really expect anything to get done before then.
Magistrate Judge Arthur Boylan who has been serving as the mediator for the negotiations is on vacation until the 19th. He has taken some backlash from the two sides for leaving town, to which I say who cares. If the two sides can’t agree to work over weekends and holidays why should Boylan change his long planned vacation to sit and listen to them argue? In fact, it really seems as though neither side truly cares or feels pressure to get a deal done sooner rather than later.
Case in point. Today, only the attorneys are meeting instead of the players and the owners themselves. So nothing will get done. Tomorrow could be more of the same and the owners and players are not expected to really sit down until Thursday and it’s unlikely they will work through the weekend face to face.
On July 22st, the Chicago Bears and St. Louis Rams will open camp and prepare for the Hall of Fame game which will be the first game cancelled if a new CBA isn’t reached soon. According to ESPN, a timetable of events will occur once a new CBA is ratified, see it after the jump, and that timeline puts both of those teams at a huge disadvantage.
For the Miami Dolphins, they are set to open camp 6 days after the July 21st target day. Free agency will have started only days before the Phins take to the hot outside Miami weather.
The Dolphins have as many questions as any other team but they have been by far one of the most, if not THE most consistent team in the NFL to conduct player only workouts. Chad Henne and Jake Long have been gathering with offensive teammates since early in the off-season and Henne has been handling the Brian Daboll playbook. It should make the actual transition from player only to coach practices much smoother.
Once free agency begins there will be a very short window to sign players. A little more than a week and with teams starting training camps, a flurry of signings will take place. Couple that with a new salary cap ceiling and a floor that promises 90% of the cap to be spent, a lot of money will flow in only a few days. Then of course there is undrafted free agents, drafted rookies, trades, cuts, and finally roster cuts. According to the ESPN timeline, rosters could be set at 90 for camps.
Here is a look at the timeline of events that may happen after a ratification is completed, according to ESPN.
• 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.