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Rick Stroud, Greg Auman and Matt Baker

NFLPA leadership unanimously ratifies new labor deal



The NFL is back -- and in a big hurry.

Here's what is happening today and beyond, according to multiple reports.

At 9 a.m., members of the NFL Player's Association's 10-member Executive Board recommended to ratify the new collective bargaining agreement with NFL owners. This will happen shortly after many of the 10 plaintiffs in the Brady vs. NFL anti-trust lawsuit sign affadavits agree to the settlement of their case against the league.

At 11 a.m., the 32 NFLPA reps had a conference call to vote to ratify the CBA. NFLPA leadership unanimously approved the new labor deal, according to Pro Football Talk.

Sometime later this afternoon, there will likely be a joint press conference with union executive director DeMaurice Smith and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.

Pro Football Talk reports that free agency may begin Tuesday, because NFL teams did not want the start to coincide with the beginning of training camp. According to, players can begin arriving at team facilities as early as Tuesday to vote to re-certify the union.

The reporting dates are in flux, but we know that on Tuesday teams can sign undrafted free agents and their own draft picks beginning at 10 a.m. Also at 10 a.m., they can negotiate with, but not sign, other teams' unrestricted free agents and RFAs.

Once the union is back, they can negotiate terms for a drug testing program, workman's compensation and player discipline and fines.  

Training camps are set to begin Thursday for 10 teams, Friday for 10 and over the weekend for 12. The Bucs are expected to report Thursday, 15 days before their preseason opener at Kansas City. 

Some interesting details of the agreement that may have eluded you:

--There were reports that both sides could opt out of the 10-year deal after the 2016 season. The final event of the CBA would be the 2017 draft. But according to NFL Network, the final agreement does not have an opt out clause for either side, meaning the NFL should have labor peace for a decade.

--There can only be 14 padded practices during the regular season, three in the final six weeks. Believe it or not, this isn't a huge departure for most teams but it's now a rule.

--An 18-game regular season may be coming in 2013. Owners could unilaterally cut the preseason schedule from four to two games beginning in 2013. Then it will be up to players to decide whether to play 16 regular-season games and two preseason or increase to 18 regular-season games. The players lose money if they stay with two and 16.

--Guaranteed money due to injury. Currently, if a player suffers a career-ending injury during  the season, he keeps his signing bonus and base salary for the year he is injured. Now he will receiver $1-million the following season and $500,000 in year three, if his contract hasn't expired.

[Last modified: Monday, July 25, 2011 2:20pm]


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