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We all knew it was going to happen, but it was only a matter of when. After meeting all day Thursday in an Atlanta-area hotel, NFL owners officially voted to approve a 10-year collective bargaining agreement by a vote of 31-0 with the Oakland Raiders abstaining. So everything is all set, right? Not exactly. Now the players themselves must sign off on the deal in order for it to take full effect.
The players have until Tuesday to come to a vote, but early reports indicate that a handshake deal has already been made and that a deal could come as early as Friday. To make this happen, players must re-establish their union quickly and the majority of the 1,900 players would need to approve in order for everything to take effect. An easier way of doing this is to open team facilities as soon as possible and allow a team representative take a vote for his team. Thanks to the owners agreeing to the new deal, NFL owners can open facilities as soon as this Saturday.
If the players vote to ratify the new deal, then league business will officially start Wednesday, July 27th. This means Free Agency and player trading can immediately go into effect.
As a result of these lengthy negotiations, the scheduled NFL Hall of Fame game on August 7th between the St. Louis Rams and Chicago Bears has been cancelled. The good news is that the season opener between the Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers and New Orleans Saints is still set for Thursday, September 8th.
It’s all in the hands of the players at this point. As Commissioner Roger Goodell said: “It’s time to get back to football”