Unofficial Timeline For The Return Of Football


The end of the NFL lockout is coming this afternoon.

So now what?

There are a lot of conflicting reports out there about how the timeline for resuming NFL activities will work. I tend to favor the ones that move the fastest because quite frankly, the NFL doesn’t have any more time to screw around. They have already wasted four months so the more time teams have to make their personnel moves ahead of training camp the better. Adam Schefter of ESPN is reporting such a timeline and I think it sounds pretty plausible.

Here it is:

The official start of the new league year would not start until August 2nd (next Tuesday) at 2:00 PM.

But things would start rolling well before that.

After the vote this afternoon by the players, the lockout would effectively be lifted. Teams would be able to start negotiating with their own free agents this afternoon. That means the Chiefs could sign guys like Shaun Smith, who are not signed for 2011. They could also continue to negotiate with Tamba Hali. Don’t worry though, the team used the franchise tag on Tamba before the lockout. Those tags will still be good when the lockout is over so Tamba is safe.

Teams will also be able to negotiate trades starting this afternoon. That means if the Eagles want to trade Kevin Kolb to the Cardinals, they could workout the deal this afternoon. The caveat here is that the contract would not go into effect until the new league year starts on August 2nd.

Lastly, the long awaited free agency period would begin tomorrow at 2 PM eastern. That means the Chiefs could, say, sign Steve Breaston tomorrow afternoon. The contract, however, would not go into effect until August 2nd.

Lastly, it appears teams will start reporting to training camp on Wednesday. Per Schefter, 10 teams will go Wednesday, 10 Thursday and 10 Friday. Two more teams would report Sunday.

Again, this all comes from Schefter and it comes with a big asterisk. It is not official until we hear it from Roger Goodell.

Thankfully we should be hearing from the commissioner this afternoon.