Let's suppose for a moment that the reports are accurate and they come
to an agreement by Tuesday the 19th. The players need a day or two to
evaluate and agree. The owners need a day or three to read it and
vote on it. The players can meet right away, and the owners have a
meeting scheduled for the 21st. Maybe the owners could vote and
agree on it as soon as the 23rd.
Then the mediator and court need to approve it. That could take as
little as a day, or as long as a couple. For argument, lets say its
That puts the date at about the 24th. It will take approximately a
week to disseminate information to the teams and agents, which would
be about the 31st.
Then...what? There still would need to be some form of free agency,
and a semblance of a training camp. Its possible the two could run
simultaneously for at least part of the time. I think most people
would argue the minimum time between first suiting up and playing in a
game would be 2 weeks. If you look back in the history of the NFL,
long before year-round workouts, players would arrive in town about 3
weeks before the first scheduled preseason game, and would work their
way into shape. Could they get that here? Or is 2 weeks all they
So, lets assume they run them simultaneously, and they get 2 weeks.
That would make the first preseason game the week of the 14th of
August. At best. As anything else slips, so slips the schedule.
How in the hell does a team establish any new plays, add any new
players (unfamiliar with the system), or install anything new? And
how can there be time to establish a depth chart or have a competition
for a position? It would be a crazy mess.
You would literally be signing free agents based on past performance,
and not on workouts. I suspect that most players would simply remain
with their current team for one year. Good or bad, its the easiest
Now as for the timing, the owners are emphatic that they will NOT lose
out on the revenue from a preseason weekend. I have a hunch that the
players - realizing they get little from these games - won't care and
will actually try to work in some specifics to ensure that they get a
free agency period and more than 2 weeks before playing.
That might be a sticking point of course, and the players can regain a
sort of upper hand (and stick it to the owners) by simply delaying
everything by a day or two.