The NFL lockout is still on -- technically -- but it appears all but a formality that the players will vote to agree to the owners proposal (with tweaks made via talks with the owners this weekend) which would end the 130-day lockout.
Though nothing is set in stone yet, ESPN reports on the possible timeline of the return of football.
Monday: The players will be voting to approve the deal with the owners. First, the 11-man executive committee will vote to recommend the deal. Second, the 32 player reps will vote to recommend the deal. Third, the 10 named plaintiffs will sign off on the deal. That means this thing is basically done with recertification the only thing to follow.
Wednesday and Friday: Training camps open for some teams on Wednesday and the rest on Friday. It will be at training camp that players sign the actual union cards to reform as a union. Depending on when the players get the necessary votes needed (a simply majority), teams could start re-signing their own free agents, or signing their rookies in this time period.
Saturday: Free agency starts and all hell breaks loose.
Basically, I shouldn't plan on getting much sleep next weekend because the start of free agency is a 24-hour sort of thing. It doesn't stop and it's usually one of, if not the best day on the football calendar. You can keep up with it all by sticking around here (or checking us out on our mobile versionif you must leave the computer room).