While all of the ups and downs of negotiations are being reported, a date is now emerging by which everything is likely to be resolved: July 21. That's the date of the next league meeting, when the owners could ratify an agreement. On July 19 the NFL and NFLPA are scheduled to meet with Judge Boylan, which would allow the sides to finalize a settlement.
Work remains to be done, most notably on the rookie wage scale and owners' proposals on the right of first refusal for free agents this season. But if the NFL and NFLPA have agreed on a revenue split, as is being reported, the biggest hurdle has been cleared and everything else is minor.
With that date set, this is what the period between the ratification of the CBA and the start of the season could look like according to ESPN:
• July 21: Educate the clubs on the news league rules and allow voluntary training for teams and agents.
• July 25: Sign undrafted rookies, as well as give free agents a chance to re-sign with their teams.
• July 28 -- League year starts and free agency begins.
• Aug. 2 -- Rosters must be set at 90 players.
• Aug. 3 -- Deadline for restricted free agents to sign offer sheets.
• Aug. 7 -- A four-day match period for teams to match restricted free-agent offer sheets.
• Aug 12 -- Deadline for rookies to sign contracts (not yet agreed upon).
• Aug. 16 -- Signing period for restricted free agents ends, as does the signing period for franchise and transition tenders.
• Aug. 29 -- Deadline for players to report to earned credit for an accrued season toward free agency.