And, just like that, the NFL owners and players on Monday reached accord on a new Collective Bargaining Agreement that ensures 10 years of strike-free, lockout-free football.
The owners approved the deal last Wednesday by a 31-0 vote, with the Raiders abstaining. The players signed off by a 32-0 vote.
Beat writer Jerry McDonald tracked down punter Shane Lechler a few minutes ago, and Lechler said it was high time to get a deal done.
“It’s too much money, and such a great deal,” Lechler said. “In my opinion, and a lot of other people around the world, it’s the No. 1 sport there is. Very competitive and I think that getting the deal done was the best thing for everybody.”
We will spare you the tedium of reading the hundreds of pages crafted by lawyers over the past four months and pull out the pertinent details.
Most important, first-year head coach Hue Jackson finally is about to get a look at what he has to work with this season and the talk will shift to x’s and o’s rather than dollars and cents.
For now, here is what we know for sure:
The Raiders are allowed to show their faces at the team’s facility in Alameda on Tuesday for the first time since late April, when there was a brief end to the lockout. The Raiders have not confirmed whether they will bother having the players show up, given they likely will be in Napa for the start of training camp Wednesday.
The Raiders are permitted to open training camp Wednesday, 15 days before their exhibition opener against the Arizona Cardinals at the Coliseum. Again, we’re awaiting word from the Raiders on whether they will stick to their original plan or push it back a day or two as a means of allowing players to make their way here from all parts of the country.
Teams are allowed to discuss trades, negotiate with all free agents and sign drafted players and undrafted free agents Tuesday.
Teams are permitted to cut players starting Thursday.
The Raiders and other teams can sign players as of 3 p.m. on Friday. They also can renegotiate contracts starting this day.
Other pertinent changes agreed to by the owners and players include: the reduction of offseason Organized Team Activities (OTAs) from a maximum of 14 to no more than 10; only 14 padded practices during the regular season, with no more than three occurring withing the final six weeks of the season; and the possibility of an 18-game schedule as soon as the 2013 season.
This is a fluid situation, and things will become more clear as the day wears on. We will keep you abreast of how the Raiders plan to proceed as we hear back from coach Jackson, senior executive John Herrera and players.