NFL Labor/Free Agency: Three Key Dates To Watch

 I’m sure you’ve grown weary of hearing this but the NFL lockout should probably be over this week.

We aren’t sure when the exact announcement will come and, quite frankly, trying to predict that makes about as much sense as trying to predict where lightening will strike.

I don’t want you to worry about when the announcement will come. I feel certain that it will and we can all rejoice when it does.

No, what I want you to worry about are three key dates. While these dates aren’t set in stone, they are a pretty good guess as to what to expect as this whole thing wraps up.

Thursday, July 21: Owners Meeting

On Thursday the owners will meet. The goal is to vote on a new CBA at that meeting. If all goes as planned this week, that will happen.

Friday, July 22-Sunday, July 24: Take Care Of Your Own

The theory floating around is that once a deal is reached, there will be a brief window of time for team’s to have one last shot at locking up their own potential free agents. Any players set to be free agents in 2011, per the terms of the new CBA, will have about 72 hours or so to re-sign with their current club. If the club fails to lock up their own guys, they will likely become free agents at midnight on Sunday.

Monday, July 25th: Free Agency Feeding Frenzy

Most expect Monday to be the reasonable date for the start of free agency. That means that Sunday night, at midnight, all hell will break lose across the NFL. Four plus months of personnel moves that haven’t taken place because of the lockout will need to be taken care of. Undoubtedly, some teams (I’m looking at you Oakland and Washington) will scramble early to make sure they get big ticket free agents. The Chiefs, who have been very selective in free agency, don’t figure to make a big splash the very first night of free agency unless there is someone they really, really want. Then again, this won’t be a normal free agency period so the rules of how Scott Pioli normally does things might not apply this year. Besides, Pioli has shown the ability to surprise us in the past. There is no reason to believe he won’t do it again. However it turns out, you can bet we will be burning the midnight oil here at AA. We’ll have some sort of “start of free agency freak-out party” or something. It’ll be sweet. Big Matt will make fondue.

Lastly, remember that once the league year begins that trades will also be possible. Don’t rule out the Chiefs making deals through this channel as well. In 2009, Pioli traded for Matt Cassel and Mike Vrabel and in 2010, attempted to trade for WR Anquan Boldin. Pioli eventually declined to get into a bidding war with the Baltimore Ravens and bailed on the deal.

Will he try something again this offseason?

One thing is for sure, after months of a more boring than usual offseason, we could be in for a heck of a ride. Buckle up Addicts.

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Tags: Kansas City Chiefs NFL Free Agency NFL Lockout

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