The biggest hurdle in the CBA negotiations has been conquered. The two sides have reportedly reached an agreement on the revenue split and are now in the final stages of hammering out a new CBA. This deal is set to be complete before the NFL owners meetings on July 21. And with the shortened time period and the hopes of not missing any preseason games, an accelerated NFL transaction schedule has been put in place.
The one last piece to be put in place for a new CBA to be ratified is working out the details of the rookie wage scale. It is widely believed that both sides agree there should be a rookie wage scale so there will be one. The details include exact figures as well as year limits on rookie contracts. The assumption is that the new wage scale rookie contracts will be four year contracts.
There is no word yet on whether the new free agent rules will affect existing restricted free agents such as Zach Miller. If the contract rules are retroactive, four year veterans such as Miller will be unrestricted free agents. If they are not retroactive, those rules will only be placed on all rookie contracts from this point forward.
Another possibility is that due to the last minute nature of this deal, they decide to hold off on changing the free agency rules until next offseason. We will soon find out.
This new schedule, according to various sources, would hopefully allow all the necessary transactions that would typically be staggered over the entire 6 month offseason to take place within three weeks time. It will make for some excited and often nail biting days over the next month so stay tuned.
Here is that tentative schedule:
July 21: Teams begin voluntary training camps
July 25: Teams can begin signing undrafted free agents as well as attempting to re-sign free agents.
July 28: New league year begins along with FREE AGENCY
August 2: Rosters set at 90 players
August 3: Deadline for restricted free agents to sign offer sheets
August 7: Teams may match offer sheets
August 12: Deadline for rookies to sign contracts
August 16: End of restricted free agent signing period. Keep in mind that this schedule is tentative and is completely dependent upon a new CBA being put into place as of Thursday, July 21.
The Raiders camp is supposed to start the last week of July but with this new schedule, it is more likely to start the first week of August. The first Preseason game is scheduled for August 11. If the plan is still to have training camp in Napa this year, the Raiders would have just 8 days of mandatory training camp time before packing up and heading back to headquarters.
If the contract is indeed signed by the July 21, as many believe it will be, we are in for a flurry of action that would make Michael Bay blush.
Also See: Potential Raider signings in free agency