NFL Lockout: Owners Approve CBA, Players Delay It

By an overwhelming 31-0 vote, NFL owners agreed to the new collective bargaining agreement on Thursday. If you're wondering what happened to the extra vote, the Oakland Raiders decided to abstain or something. Whatever.

There was a sense of excitement after the owners' vote, but the players had not taken their vote. As of this posting, it doesn't seem like they have agreed to the deal themselves. DeMaurice Smith expressed caution to tame some of the excitement that had been building among fans, saying the deal isn't done yet.

It sounds like the players might not take an official vote today. They might not have to though. The NFL released a tentative schedule for July, August, and September with important dates in the league year, tentative based on the players reaching an agreement by July 23. It wouldn't surprise me to see the players take an extra day if they have that option.

The Hall of Fame game between the Bears and the Rams has also been cancelled. Sure, I would have enjoyed seeing it, but I'm not going to shed any tears over that one.

From NFL.com, here are the key dates in July:

JULY

July 23: Voluntary training, conditioning and classroom instruction permitted until first day of clubs' preseason training camps.

July 23: Pre-2011 League Year Period commences. 2011 Free Agency List to be issued and will become effective on the first day of the 2011 League Year (July 27). Clubs/players may begin to renegotiate contracts. Clubs may begin to sign Drafted Rookies and their own UFAs, RFAs, Exclusive Rights Players and Franchise Players.

July 23: Waivers begin for the 2011 League Year.

July 23: Starting at 2:00 PM ET, clubs may negotiate with, but not sign, Undrafted Rookie Free Agents, free agents, and other clubs' UFAs, RFAs, and Franchise Players.

July 24: Starting at 2:00 PM ET, clubs may begin to sign undrafted rookie free agents.

July 27: 2011 League Year commences at 2:00 PM ET, provided NFLPA has ratified CBA. Free Agency Signing Period begins. Clubs may sign free agents and other clubs' Unrestricted Free Agents. Clubs may sign Offer Sheets. Trading period begins. All Clubs must be under the Salary Cap. Top 51 rule applies.

July 27: Expand rosters to 90-man limit.

July 27: Training Camps open for all clubs, provided NFLPA has ratified CBA. Day One activities limited to physicals, meetings, and conditioning. No pads permitted on Day Two or Day Three.

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