A few days ago, NFL owners approved a proposed 10-year collective bargaining agreement. The ball is now in the players' hands to approve or reject the proposal. Will NFL football soon return? Michael McCann breaks down what to expect this week.
1. What needs to happen for the NFL to be back up and running?
The first step is that a majority of the NFLPA's executive committee, which consists of 10 active players and two retired players, must vote to recommend ratification of the owners' CBA proposal. The executive committee will meet tomorrow in Washington, D.C., and is expected to recommend ratification.
Provided the executive committee votes to recommend ratification, the second step would be a majority of the 32 player representatives (one from each team) voting to recommend ratification. This vote is also expected to occur on Monday and is likewise expected to be favorable, if not unanimous. If favorable, teams are expected to open up training camps on Wednesday and engage in most football-related activities, save for the signing of player contracts, which necessitates a fully empowered NFLPA. A favorable vote would also mean that the 1,900 players become the decision-makers as to whether there will be a 2011 season.
Along those lines, the third step would be a majority of the 1,900 players voting to empower the NFLPA to represent the players once again and to ratify the CBA proposal. In March, the NFLPA disclaimed interest in representing the players; this disclaimer can effectively be reversed by a simple vote. The players' voting process would take several days, possibly into the weekend or early next week. It is expected the players will vote to recertify the NFLPA and ratify the CBA proposal, which would mean a return to normal NFL football within about a week.