Posted by Josh Katzowitz
The labor deal -- and the path to NFL football in 2011 -- is finally, truly done. Well, almost.
That’s the report from CBSSports.com’s own Mike Freeman, who writes that the owners and players have agreed to a new CBA.
"It's done," one player source told Freeman. "We have an agreement. Now we just have to vote."
[More from Mike Freeman: Lockout updates]
Now, the majority of the players (50 percent, plus one) have to agree to the deal in order to end the lockout for good. Players will fly into Washington on Sunday in order to go over last-minute details. They’re then expected to vote Monday, and a news conference should occur shortly thereafter.
According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, once the deal is ratified, free agency and training camp likely will begin on the same day.
Saturday was a huge day in moving along negotiations, and NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith and NFL commissioner Roger Goodell reportedly worked hard together to make sure there wasn’t any additional trouble between the two sides.
On Monday, the NFLPA executive committee will meet in Washington, and it’ll pass along its recommendations to the players -- to ratify the new CBA AND to reform the NFLPA as a union -- who will have to sign off on both deals in order to begin the new league year.
The plaintiffs in the Brady v NFL case (including Chargers WR Vincent Jackson, who reportedly dropped his demand to be paid $10 million or be exempt from the franchise tag) would then have to consent to the deal, and the lawsuit -- and any other judicial matters between the two sides -- would be kaput.
And most importantly, we’d have football again.
UPDATED (11:46 a.m. ET): Freeman is reporting that the new league year can't start until the fifth day after the CBA is ratified and signed, and training camps couldn't start until two days after that. So, we still have a little time before the players officially get back to work.
UPDATED (12:29 p.m. ET): If you wanted a small dash of cold water on your red-hot "LOCKOUT IS ALMOST OVER" news, the Associated Press provides it for you. In its small story about the NFLPA executive committee meeting Monday, the AP cites sources that it's not certain whether a vote will be held to recommend the deal. So, keep that in mind before you start partying too hard tonight.
UPDATED (1:15 p.m. ET): While CBSSports.com's Clark Judge reports that the NFLPA is still trying to tweak the opt-out clause in the new CBA (or the fact there is no opt-out clause), he also writes that it's not a deal-breaker. Probably because it'll be a hard sell to the owners -- who, you'll recall, opted out of the last CBA. The players would like to get an opt-out clause after the eighth year of the 10-year CBA.
UPDATED (1:19 p.m. ET): Freeman writes that team facilities will be open to players from when the new CBA is signed until training camp begins. Which is not unexpected, but probably necessary.
UPDATED (9:22 p.m. ET): Jason LaCanfora of NFL.com writes that Saints QB Drew Brees has sent an e-mail to teammates saying it's "expected" that the new CBA deal will be signed Monday. But Brees also, not surprisingly, hedged his bets, writing that the final ratification could come Tuesday or Wednesday as well.
Brees also writes that free agency could start as early as Friday. Saints training camp, says Brees, would open July 31 with a 2 p.m. meeting.
UPDATED (9:37 a.m. ET, Monday): NFL owners and players agreed early Monday to the terms of a deal to end the lockout, and players were expected to begin the voting process later in the day, two people familiar with the negotiations told The Associated Press.
The NFLPA executive committee is expected to meet Monday and vote on the final agreement around 11:00 a.m. ET.
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