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The NFL Lockout Has Been Lifted - For Now

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Judge Nelson has lifted the lockout, you can read the SB Nation story here. This means that as of right now, the lockout is no longer in effect and free agency has started. The owners are expected to ask for a stay at the 8th Circuit Appelate Court, as they appeal the ruling, but it is unknown whether that will be granted or how long that will take. This is not the end of the labor disagreement by any means, but it is a first victory for the players. As of right now, the NFL is open for business. This includes free agency, player trades, workouts and player access to coaches and team facilities. It may take a few days for every detail to be sorted out before the NFL really opens its doors, though, and as that process takes place the owners may be granted a stay by the Appellate Court. 

As far as I know, the 2010 rules for restricted free agency will remain in place, which means that of the premier Buccaneer free agents, only Barrett Ruud and Cadillac Williams are unrestricted free agents. It remains to be seen whether teams will indeed act as if free agency has begun, or whether they'll simply do nothing as they await the result of the appeals court. 

 

UPDATE: The league has confirmed that they're not starting the league year until they've had the opportunity to seek a stay at the Appellate Court, which should happen tonight. Whether the Appellate Court will rule immediately is unknown. The NFL has been ordered by a judge to re-start its business, though, so they shouldn't be able to postpone for too long.