NFL Lockout: Owners Approve CBA, Waiting on Players (Updated)

Yeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeah!

The resolution to approve the new CBA has now been passed by the NFL owners, Albert Breer reports. Rich Eisen reports the vote went down 31-0, with Al Davis abstaining.

Roger Goodell explained what this will mean if the NFLPA also approves the deal. The Hall of Fame game is off, which means the first pre-season games are Jags-Pats and Ravens-Eagles. The facilities will open Saturday and the league year kick off on Wednesday, with teams able to sign their own players starting Tuesday. This is all contingent on NFLPA signing off. The deal is a solid 10 years with no opt-out clauses, which is great news. NFLabor.com has been updated with details and a schedule for the league year, available here.

Some important details: there will be transition rules for the cap for this year and next, with the ability to borrow against future cap and a $3.5 million veteran player fund. The salary cap is $120.375 million and will be at least that for 2012 and 2013. There will be a league-wide commitment to cash spending amounting to 99% of total revenue, then 95% for the rest of the CBA. Drafted players sign 4 year contracts, underdrafted 3 year contracts, with strong anti-holdout rules. Unrestricted free agency is affirmed for four-year players (so RFA tags like Mebane's are gone), transition and franchise tags will be upheld.

Important dates include: signing draft picks and your own UFAs/RFAs (from July 23rd), negotiating with but not signing other free agents (also July 23rd). Negotiate UDFAs (July 23rd) and signing them (July 24th). The league year and full free agency would kick off on July 27th. A 90-man limit is set July 27th, to be reduced to 75 on August 30th and 53 on September 3rd.

The NFLPA is still to approve the new deal, with a conference call planned for later today, but it's not clear if this is for an update or for a vote. When the NFLPA does vote, they still have to recertify as a union. Opinions differ, with the NFL saying it should take hours, and the players claiming it'll take weeks. I have no idea why it would take that long in this modern day and age, but they might still require all members to sign off on it and that would certainly make it last a few days. It's not clear if the NFL will kick off a new football year without a recertified NFLPA, though they might partially lift the lockout, allowing contact again, allowing players into facilities (though not to work out) or allowing the signing of conditional contracts.

Liz Mullen is reporting DeMaurice Smith has said that players "did not agree to terms passed by NFL owners today" in a letter he has sent out to players. Here are excerpts from an email (not sure if it's the same) sent to player reps, objecting to the short period given for approval and recertiftying.

Eric Edholm is reporting that DeMaurice Smith is looking at the proposal the owners ratified, and that the players have not voted on it, as they have not seen it yet.

The player conference is now over, no vote taken. Players have not seen CBA at all. This email was sent out to outline the issues, which are that the timeline is too tight for renegotiation (until July 30th), that the NFL is coercing the NFLPA into recertifying, and that the CBA contains terms from the old CBA where no new terms were agreed upon. Greg Bedard (and Chris Mortensen) speculate this is getting overblown in the media and a vote "could well" be taken tomorrow. That seems reasonable to me, the NFLPA just needs more time to go over the deal.

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