After years, months, weeks and days of haggling over all the details of a new collective bargaining agreement, the NFLPA and NFL finally came to an agreement on terms in the wee hours of Monday morning, FOXSports.com has learned.
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The NFLPA player representatives and players still must vote to approve it, but at this point it appears a formality.
Sources involved in the negotiations told FOXSports.com that, under the new agreement, the schedule will be different than originally reported. Under the new terms, team facilities will open as early as Tuesday and training camps will begin Wednesday for 10 teams, Thursday for 10 teams, Friday for another 10 and Sunday for the remaining two, only 15 days before the first preseason game.
Unrestricted free agency begins after camp begins at 6 p.m. ET Friday. However, teams will be allowed to negotiate with free agents beginning Tuesday. There will not be an exclusive negotiating period for teams to sign their own free agents.
However, trades can occur as early as Tuesday. Teams can also sign their own draft picks and undrafted free agents beginning Tuesday.
There is still a chance that some unforeseen obstacle somehow could stall the agreement again, although that now seems unlikely.
Players will begin arriving at team facilities Tuesday to vote to recertify the NFLPA as a union. Once they do, they can negotiate terms for the league’s drug programs, player discipline fines, workers comp, etc.
For months reports have surfaced that a deal was close to completion, only to prove false. Fans have hung on report after report hoping for a new deal and for pro football to return. It now appears the NFL will be back without any games being canceled except the Hall of Fame Game.