Training camp on the fly

The ESPN report authored by Adam Schefter and Chris Mortensen conveniently covers the network for breaking the story in the event of an NFL labor settlement on July 21 as well as if it doesn’t happen.

More interesting is the “transition rules” contained in the report and how rosters will be shaped if and when an agreement is ratified when the owners meet in 10 days.

Basically, it would ensure that Raiders training camp opens on time (July 26), but that the Napa Marriott will be seeing players arrive at different points during the camp process unless they move quickly to get their own unsigned players under contract.

Rather than having virtually the entire team in place on the reporting date, players will come in based on deadlines set by the new agreement, and Hue Jackson’s “Build a Bully” camp opening will have a lot of key components missing at the outset.

PFT broke down the ESPN report like this:

4 days after the ratification: Teams will be able to sign undrafted players. On the same day, teams will get a three-day window to re-sign their own players. It’s safe to say tampering will go nuts in this period as agents shop deals around.

7 days after ratification: Free agency starts. So does the league year. A lot of huge deals figure to be signed within hours. Magic.

12 days after ratification: Rosters will be set at 90 players. That’s a lot of signing in a very short amount of time.

13 days after ratification: Deadline for restricted free agents to sign offer sheets. (We’re assuming RFAs will only be third year players at this point, but that isn’t confirmed.)

17 days after ratification: A four-day period for teams to match restricted free-agent offer sheets ends.

22 days after ratification: This one isn’t agreed upon, but it could be a deadline for rookies to sign. Um, wow. This unprecedented idea is something we’ll delve into later.

26 days after ratification: The signing period for RFAs, franchise players, and transition tag players ends.

If this transition process is implemented, teams that don’t have a lot of issues with regard to restricted and unrestricted free agents will benefit from a relatively full camp experience.

Otherwise, players such as Zach Miller and Michael Bush, should they play under their tenders instead of deals, could miss most of training camp.


Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer