The news is coming out fast and furiously that the NFL Owners have voted unanimously to ratify the resolution approving the new CBA, and to settle the lawsuit the players brought against the league. Naturally, Oakland abstained from the vote, but it was still a 31-0 decision.
At this point, the journey is half over. It's now on to the NFL Players to accept the new CBA and settle the lawsuit before the league year can begin.
As it stands, the lockout is still in place. A decision still needs to be made whether or not the owners are planning on waiting until the union re-certifies before lifting the lockout, or if they'll lift the lockout so long as an agreement is in place that the union will re-certify within a certain number of days.
If the players approve the new agreement, then they can begin reporting to team facilities on Saturday. The league year will begin on Wednesday; free-agency and training camp would start that day too. Teams can begin negotiating with free agents on Saturday, they can sign rookie free-agents on Sunday, and veteran free-agents on Wednesday.
Word has also come out that the Hall of Fame Game has been cancelled (I know, I'm just as bummed as you). Preseason games will begin in 3 weeks (that, I am excited about).
Once this CBA gets ratified by all parties, it means we won't have to revisit this nasty subject again until 2021 when this new deal is set to expire.
UPDATE [5:08PM PDT]: Not so fast now. It seems the players are none-too-happy at this point and it's not a guarantee that they'll ratify the agreement. They don't want to be rushed into an agreement and will take their time. They feel they have been painted into a corner, PR-wise, and want to make sure they can agree to all points.
UPDATE [9:46PM PDT]: As we told you before, the players aren't quite on board yet and need time to review the whole package that the owners approved this afternoon. Kevin Acee talked to Nick Hardwick tonight and got his take on it:
"I guess the owners voted and ratified their own proposal," Hardwick said. "There are still deal points to be negotiated. Our leadership has to review their package."
While there had been speculation the player reps would vote Thursday night on what the owners approved, they never came close. At the time of the conference call, the NFLPA leadership had not had a chance to review what the owners ratified. Therefore, there was nothing for the players to vote on.
Hardwick said no time has been set for the player reps to reconvene on a conference call.
"I'll just wait for a text or an e-mail," he said.
"There’s still a ways to go," he said. "… I can’t put a timeline on it. Our leadership can’t put a timeline on it. We’re not going to be rushed into taking something we’re going to regret down the line."
Keep your eyes on BFTB, we'll be updating the site as more news comes