With labor peace apparently upon us after a nasty dispute that disrupted the NFL offseason, New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees expects free agency to begin as soon as noon Tuesday assuming the collective bargaining agreement is ratified by the players.
Sources told FOXSports.com’s Jay Glazer that the NFL and NFL Players Association agreed to terms on a new CBA early Monday morning. The NFLPA executive committee still must vote to approve it at a meeting Monday, and that vote is expected to trigger the process toward final player approval.
In an email Brees sent to teammates and obtained by FOXSports.com from a league source on Sunday night, the NFLPA executive committee member outlined what he expects to transpire this week.
Here’s the full text of the email:
"As has been the case with this entire process, it looks like the details and schedule has changed for training camp and free agency. This is the latest although I cannot confirm anything at this point. I just want to make you aware as to what is being discussed so nothing catches you by surprise.
"Free Agency – It now looks like free agency will begin at noon on Tuesday and it will be open free agency. There will be no 3 day grace period for teams to sign their own players. It will be open for anyone to sign anywhere.
"Training Camp – It looks like the NFL is trying to force teams into camp on time. This would move us to a report date of Thursday, July 28. We would have physicals, conditioning, and meetings on this day. The day before would be a travel day and the hotel would be open that night for guys to check in as well as physicals but nothing mandatory until Thursday. I will keep you updated with the latest information. Unfortunately, it tends to change very quickly. Just stay prepared for anything."
Meanwhile, Baltimore Ravens cornerback Domonique Foxworth updated his teammates Sunday on what to expect once the labor deal is ratified.
Foxworth emphasized that they should be prepared for a fairly chaotic transition from a four-month lockout to getting back to work.
"I want you guys to be prepared for the possibility of this week being very crazy," Foxworth wrote in an email, also obtained from league sources. "None of this is set in stone, but this is how the week may look. Players who are on a roster may be asked to report Wednesday or Thursday. A report date will likely involve a full physical and possibly a conditioning test, but no practice. The next two days will be non-padded helmets only."
Foxworth added that teams won’t get into full pads until the fourth day of training camp.
What about the free-agency signing period? Foxworth’s details differ from Brees’ take.
According to Foxworth: "Free agents may be able to talk to teams as early as Tuesday or Wednesday but not sign with the team or report to camp until after we vote to reconstitute the union, negotiate benefits and ratify a CBA."
Regardless of when free agency begins, a frenetic, unprecedented flurry of transactions is expected to unfold.
"The time crunch will be tough on all of us, but may work to the advantage of some free agents," Foxworth wrote. "As I said, none of this is set in stone, but I want to give you guys the latest information so you can begin to plan."