Included in the article mentioned earlier today about the future of the lockout and when it could possibly end is a list of dates. The dates signify what the schedule for free agency and things like that could look like as the NFL transitions out of the lockout and back to normality.
The list of dates is based on the plan that the NFL's Chief Executive Committee put together in case the lockout ended on July 1. Since the thinking is the lockout could end on July 21, all of the dates have been adjusted by three weeks to reflect what the transition schedule could look like. Take a look:
• July 1 (July 21) -- Educate the clubs on the new league rules and allow voluntary training for teams and agents.
• July 5 (July 25) -- Sign undrafted rookies, as well as give free agents a chance to re-sign with their teams.
• July 8 (July 28) -- League year starts and free agency begins.
• July 13 (Aug. 2) -- Rosters must be set at 90 players.
• July 14 (Aug. 3) -- Deadline for restricted free agents to sign offer sheets.
• July 18 (Aug. 7) -- A four-day match period for teams to match restricted free-agent offer sheets.
• July 23 (Aug 12) -- Deadline for rookies to sign contracts (not yet agreed upon).
• July 27 (Aug. 16) -- Signing period for restricted free agents ends, as does the signing period for franchise and transition tenders.
• Aug. 9 (Aug. 29) -- Deadline for players to report to earned credit for an accrued season toward free agency.
With training camp for most teams set to begin at the end of July, it looks like practices could be happening just as the league year is getting started. That will make for a hectic few weeks as teams try to get their rosters set and try to prepare for next season on the field all at the same time.
As training camp continues new faces will be joining teams, and in some cases players will be returning to their teams once they re-sign only after practice has already started. This could all create some serious headaches for coaches trying to get everybody on the same page, but I suppose dealing with the madness of the lockout ending is better than not having any football at all.