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Everything to know about the new NFL agreement

Saturday will be a huge day around the NFL if the NFL's players will agree to accept the Collective Bargaining Agreement that owners approved Thursday.

Owners voted to end the NFL lockout Thursday evening. If players recertify the NFLPA and vote to agree to the new labor deal, training facilities will be open Saturday for lifting and conditioning and general giddyness between players and coaches. The lockout would end.

Also on Saturday, teams would be free o begin signing their draft picks, their own unrestricted free agents, exclusive rights players and franchise players. For the Dolphins that means the team can sign Ronnie Brown, Ricky Williams or quarterback Tyler Thigpen. Do not count on all three (or any_ being signed right away, obviously. The Dolphins are probably going in a different direction on at least one of those.

The club can also sign franchise player Paul Soliai to a long-term contract. Wouldn't count on that right away. Agent David Canter and the club have not had any contract negotiations since Soliai was tagged. Prior to that, the sides were wide apart. That one is going to take some work, but it is work that must be done because Soliai will be counting 10 percent of the Dolphins salary cap if his franchise tag cap number remains on the books.

Also, on Saturday waivers would begin. That means the Dolphins could waive any player they wish starting that day.

All teams must be under the $120.375 million salary cap by that date. And yes, trades can begin on that date as well.

Also on Saturday, NFL clubs could begin a type of free agency starting at 2 p.m. Teams can negotiate with but not sign other teams' UFAs and start negotiating with undrafted free agents as well. The undrafted rookie free agents can be signed beginning Sunday.

It's going to be crazy!

Free agency, although already negotiated and likely with several deals in place under the table, can begin on July 27th. That Wednesday will also be big in that training camp activities will begin. No, there won't be full-scale practices that day, but physicals, meetings and coach-instructed conditioning can begin. Walk-thru and light practices will be allowed thereafter but no pads will be allowed Day Two or Day Three.

Following are key dates on the revised 2011 League Calendar, contingent upon ratification of the agreement by the players prior to these dates:


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.


August 9:  Deadline for players under contract to report to their clubs to earn an Accrued Season for free agency.

August 11-15: First Preseason Weekend.

August 12: Deadline for signing of Offer Sheets by Restricted Free Agents. (17-day period concludes)

August 12: Deadline for June 1 Tender to Unrestricted Free Agents. If the player has not signed a Player Contract with a Club by August 26, he may negotiate or sign a Player Contract from August 26 until the Tuesday following the tenth week of the regular season, at 4:00 PM ET, only with his Prior Club.

August 12: Deadline: if a Drafted Rookie has not signed a Player Contract by this date, he cannot be traded during his initial League Year and may sign a Player Contract only with the drafting Club until the day of the Draft in the next League Year.

August 13-17: Each Club has until five days prior to its second preseason game to provide any tendered but unsigned Exclusive Rights Player or Restricted Free Agent with written notice of the Club’s intent to place the player on the Exempt List if the player fails to report at least the day before the Club’s second preseason game.

August 16: Deadline for Prior Club to exercise Right of First Refusal to Restricted Free Agents. (Four-day matching period conlcudes).

August 17: Deadline for June 1 Tender to Restricted Free Agents who have received a Qualifying Offer for a Right of First Refusal Only.

August 18-22: Second Preseason Weekend.

August 25-28: Third Preseason Weekend.

August 26: Signing Period ends for Unrestricted Free Agents who received the June 1 Tender.

August 29: Deadline for June 15 Tender to Restricted Free Agents. If player’s Qualifying Offer is greater than 110% of the player’s prior year’s Paragraph 5 Salary (with all other terms of his prior year contract carried forward unchanged), the Club may withdraw the Qualifying Offer on August 29 and retain its exclusive negotiating rights to the player, so long as the Club immediately tenders the player a one-year Player Contract of at least 110% of his prior year’s Paragraph 5 Salary, with all the terms of his prior year’s contract carried forward unchanged.

August 30: Clubs reduce rosters from 90 players to 75 players.


September 1-2: Fourth Preseason Weekend.

September 3: Clubs reduce rosters to 53 players.

September 8-12: First Regular-Season Weekend. 

September 18-19     Second Regular-Season Weekend.

September 20:  Deadline at 4:00 PM ET for any Club that designated a Franchise Player to sign such player to a multi-year contract or extension.

If approved by the players, the new collective bargaining agreement will include the following key terms:


 The fixed term of the agreement covers the 2011 through 2020 seasons and includes the 2021 draft.


 Immediate implementation of changes to promote player health and safety by:

Reducing the off-season program by five weeks, reducing OTAs from 14 to 10; Limiting on-field practice time and contact; Limiting full-contact practices in the preseason and regular season; Increasing number of days off for players.

Opportunity for current players to remain in the player medical plan for life.

An enhanced injury protection benefit of up to $1 million of a player’s salary for the contract year after his injury and up to $500,000 in the second year after his injury.

No change to the 16-4 season format until at least 2013; any subsequent increase in the number of regular-season games must be made by agreement with the NFL Players Association.

$50 million per year joint fund for medical research, healthcare programs, and NFL Charities, including NFLPA-related charities.


Over the next 10 years, additional funding for retiree benefits of between $900 million and $1 billion. The largest single amount, $620 million, will be used for a new "Legacy Fund," which will be devoted to increasing pensions for pre-1993 retirees.

Other improvements will be made to post-career medical options, the disability plan, the 88 Plan, career transition and degree completion programs, and the Player Care Plan.


An annual Draft of seven rounds plus compensatory picks for teams which lose free agents.

Unrestricted free agency for players after four accrued seasons; restricted free agency for players with three accrued seasons.

Free agency exceptions (franchise and transition players).


New entry-level compensation system including the following elements:

All drafted players sign four-year contracts.

Undrafted free agents sign three-year contracts.

Maximum total compensation per draft class.

Limited contract terms.

Strong anti-holdout rules.

Clubs have option to extend the contract of a first-round draftee for a fifth year, based on agreed-upon tender amounts.

 Creation of new fund to redistribute, beginning in 2012, savings from new rookie pay system to current and retired player benefits and a veteran player performance pool.


Salary cap plus benefits of $142.4 million per club in 2011 ($120.375 million for salary and bonus) and at least that amount in 2012 and 2013.

Beginning in 2012, salary cap to be set based on a combined share of “all revenue,” a new model differentiated by revenue source with no expense reductions. Players will receive 55 percent of national media revenue, 45 percent of NFL Ventures revenue, and 40 percent of local club revenue.

Beginning in 2012, annual "true up" to reflect revenue increases or decreases versus projections.

Clubs receive credit for actual stadium investment and up to 1.5 percent of revenue each year.

Player share must average at least 47 percent for the 10-year term of the agreement.

League-wide commitment to cash spending of 99 percent of the cap in 2011 and 2012.

For the 2013-2016 seasons, and again for the 2017-2020 seasons, the clubs collectively will commit to cash spending of at least 95 percent of the cap.

Each club committed to cash spending of 89 percent of the cap from 2013-2016 and 2017-2020.

Increases to minimum salaries of 10 percent in Year 1 with continuing increases each year of the agreement.


Special transition rules to protect veteran players in 2011. All teams will have approximately $3.5 million in what would otherwise be performance-based pay available to fund veteran player salaries.

Each club may "borrow" up to $3 million in cap room from a future year, which may be used to support veteran player costs.

In 2012, each club may "borrow" up to $1.5 million in cap room from a future year. Both these amounts would be repaid in future years.


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I'm thinking Thiggy stays...and so will Brown.
We'll lose Williams and pick up Williams, Deangelo that is.

So yeah, don't throw out your #34 Williams jersey out just yet. You can re-dawn it under a different alias.

ok, ok, i'll sign

wow, from nothing to info overload this week

ta armando

aloco just for you


game 1 fins 27 patsies 24

henne starts, manning sits

Simply sign it.

Just curious. Other threads people are trying to say this is some sort of trick to make the players look bad because they signed first. Does it really matter who signed first? I cant tell if its just ignorant players or the media drumming it up for more stories.

We hire the worst, Jets hire the best:

NEW YORK (AP) -- The Jets have hired former Indianapolis Colts offensive coordinator Tom Moore as a consultant, according to a person familiar with the situation.

Moore, credited for helping Colts quarterback Peyton Manning develop into a four-time NFL MVP

thanks mando. This is helpful. I'm sooo glad football is back. I think if bradshaw doesn't stay with the giants we'll sign him.

I really want to see Brown back as a dolphin. I like Thiggy, but I do not think he offers us much at this point. He is a great reliever, one of the best at that. I mean when he comes into a game cold as a backup, I have never seen anyone do it better. But when he actually starts a game it is a disaster.

Ricky, I love the guy here in Miami. I just think he may have worn his welcome with the coaches, and he seems to never really sound "happy" in miami.


Best reliever ever? That would be Don Strock.

Simon, yea, that is true. I guess just look at my point. We love Thiggy when he comes in and relieves a starter when they get hurt, and the guy looks like Steve Young at his best. then he starts and looks like Andre Ware.

Don't get me wrong, I like Thiggy. I just do not feel he is a started here in Miami.


I'm not sure you've got all the dates right. You've mentioned that trades can be made tomorrow (Saturday). I don't believe that's accurate. My understanding is, if the players ratify the agreement that the new season will start on Wednesday, including FA, trades, signings etc. Teams would be free to talk to their own players before Wedenesday but no trades until Wednesday. Can you double check that.

Poison, I really don't know if Thiggy could be a starter. I wouldn't bet on it, but at the same time, he never really had a fair shot in Miami. He never had a full several weeks with the starters. It does seem the offense wakes up when he comes in. Montana never showed much emotion, but he was an exciting player. Henne never shows much emotion, but is never an exciting player.

I respect the opinion. I am on the other side of the Henne fence. I think he will show emotion when he does not have a coaching staff controlling him like a puppet. If he gets the chance to breath we will see if he can play and win. I think he can. You are right about Thiggy. The problem is he did not get multiple games in KC either. That makes me wonder if there is more going on that we do not know about. Rarly does a player go to two teams and not finally shine in the amount of years he has been in the NFL. So maybe there is something more than what we are seeing. The main thing I see, is he gets really sloppy with his throws and accuracy when he is running around. And the boy likes to run.

Guys Thigpen has had EVERY chance to win the starting job and hasnt done it. He practices with the team like everybody else. He's been there two years and has failed to show he was any more than a third stringer. Enough of this..'he's never had a chance stuff'. He's there running the drills every day like everyone else. He hasn't shown enough to be considered a starter and he won't be a starter if he goes anywhere else.

KC though was a horrible last place team with not a very good coach. Even though this is his second teamm, as I've said he really has never had a chance. Regarding Henne, I see the fans love to blame the coaches and say he had handcuffs on, but where does that really come from? Henning himself has said Henne has had options to go downfield. I'm just saying, just because bloggers say he had handcuffs on, doesn't mean its true. Just maybe its Hennes brain that has handcuffs on.

I'm ok with them giving Henne one more shot, just that he has to show something soon or the heat to replace him will be turned up high.

Yes, but what about the owners' proposal- is it a shite deal for the players?

Not true Craig. He doesn't practice with the starters. He was given ONE start only on a short week with a makeshift oline and 3rd string center against a top defense. That is giving a chance? Hardly. Any QB needs far more time with that to get a feel of the offense and the players. Peyton Manning wouldnt have won that Chicago game on 3 days practice with that sqaud either.

Wait....maybe I am off on that, I think he did start again towards the very end of the season when the team had totally given up.

Regardless of what anyone thinks about Henne today, I think most would agree he has to become a player this season or he won't be back. I hope he does come through, but I still have my doubts from what I've seen so far.


Thigpen was a late round draft pick. He was traded to the 'Phins for a 5th. Perhaps he hasn't practiced with the starters regularly bu the fact he hasn't is because he's not good enough. The guys who run the show know a lot more about this stuff than you and I. i don't see them knocking the door down to keep this guy....reason? He's just not that good. He's had time to show who he is in practice and in games, exhibition and regular season. The game he played against the Bears he was AWFUL!! Everyone wants to make excuses that he only had three days to prepare for it. Baloney!! He had all season to prepare for it. The backups are one hit away from entering the game at any time. It's their time to shine. He didn't shine and it was apparent that he was in over his head. Use the lack of prep time or the makeshift offensive line or any other excuse you want but the bottom line is good players overcome that stuff. He's not a good player.

One thing was very clear from that game against the Bears....the game appeared way to fast for Thigpen. The Bears had the same three days to prepare for Thigpen. The Miami offence never looked worse than it did in that one game.

Guys I was down near Davie and I saw Tony Sparano out in the parking lot practicing his fist-pumps.

That's all the confirmation I need. FOOTBALL IS COMMING BACK SOON.

I don't blame the players for not approving a contract that wasn't finished yet and that they hadn't seen. The owners approved their version 31-0 (Oakland abstained) and that makes you wonder exactly what's been buried deep inside their 400 page document. Yes, they want to play football. But, this contract is for 10 years! That's a long time to be screwed over by the owners because you didn't take the time to read and understand the fine print!

Craig, I agree with a lot of what you say. I totally disagree on your take of the Bears game though. They great Bears defense against a QB starting for the first time on 3 days practice with quite possibly the worst oline every assembled? Oliners were playing out of position plus with a 3rd string center. No way to judge anything from that game.

Now, then, are you going to blame Hennes performance in the last 5 games totally on the coaches? You have to admit, he looked no better than a late round QB as well. Remember, he was benched twice by his own coaching staff...what does that tell you?

Craig, my point is, I don't hear anyone blaming the coaches for Thigpens performance. In fact, in all my years as a fin fan, I don't recall ever hearing anyone blaming the coaches for a QB's poor performance. All of a sudden, everyone is blaming the coaches for Henne's performance. Nobody complained about the very same coaches in 2008 and 2009. Just maybe the coaches couldn't make chicken salad out of chicken shyt in 2010.

if the fins are even looking at bradshaw i say just stick with ronnie brown bradshaw is a good back but he has the feet of a 90 year old and he fumbles every third carry he gets

Nobody blamed the coaches when Pennington played poorly either. Didn't he start 0-3 two seasons in a row?


We'll find out this year if it was the coaches or all Henne. He'll get another chance to prove he belongs. Jusry is still out on that one.

That doesn't change the fact that Thigpen is not the answer. There are better options available to the team and I'm sure they will explore them.

Craig @ 11:54

I am in full agreement with that post.

Mando (anyone else),

What I'm not understanding is what's the holdup on the Players' end? I hear them saying things were put into the agreement they weren't aware of, what type of things?

Also, the agreement is predicated on them re certifying, but I'm hearing that process could take awhile, and it would be easier for them to re certify from their respective training camps (since they'll all be centrally located). So will the Owners restructure the agreement?

What gives? In the end, all I care about is will the lockout end tomorrow? Thoughts?


let's hope the team will explore other options. However, from what I have seen of Ireland and Sparano so far indicates they will pursue the most conservative and tepid path possible.

This ‘most cohesive 53 over the best 53’ is total garbage.

I on the other hand would have already traded for V Young and would certainly draft T Pryor, going as high as spending a 3rd round pick on him as well.

I bet the Dolphins do neither and miss the boat on really upgrading the talent level at QB.

And let's not forget, talent wins games and world champion teams are full of bad character guys.


Good to be back talking football again.

No need to be throwing draft picks around unessarily. Young will be cut loose soon enough...maybe even tomorrow. The Dolphins will have a couple of QBs on the team to compete with Henne. Will it be good enough? Who knows. But under the circumstances this has been the best approach so far.

Ricky ruined any chance of returning when he decided for once in his life to speak up and out. To bad it was directed at coach Sparano.

They need to trade/cut Crowder (chowder) asap. He is the pimple on this teams ass.

DC, mando is on the owners side and will neglect conveying the concerns of the players about the last minute changes made by the owners.

This is more posturing on the part of the owners. The owners feel that the public will continue to revile the players and that the players will feel pressure to sign a contract with last minute goodies slipped in.

This duplicity by the owners places the players in the position to receive scorn from the low information public if the players do not sign the contract today.

All in all a very shady move, but what are we to expect from the likes of J. Jones and Mike Brown?

Dang, lot of info there. need to read over all that again. thanks Mando.

I have concerns about the players ruling out 2 a days. My own experience with those way back is those grueling summer days are what really got you physically ready to play going into the season. Now you got guys that might otherwise get injured simply because they aren't fit.

anyhow, GO DOLPHINS!!! GO CANES!!!

totally agree about crowder ive been a fan of all sports for 35 years and ive never seen an athlete talk so much and do so little its pretty pathetic really

...I think that given a day or so. The players will sign this deal, and end this lockout. Just by the tone of some, it is obvious that most of the players are ready to get back to work. Once the rogue holders-on realize this deal is fair, and actually good for them in the future. They too should get on board. Everyone knows this is the last shot to get a deal done. So refusing to get on board would result in a disaster. And put a lot of heat on the players(smart move by the owners)Any of the "good will capitol" the players have with the public would be gone(not that this matters 1 bit). Remember, the players only need 50 percent plus 1 to ratify this..That number seems like a lock to me. Could be wrong though.

Obviously no need now to give up a draft pick for Young now. However, I wonder if a trading for Young could have yielded a better contract for the Dolphins than allowing him to reach the FA market and be the recipient of a bidding war?

I dont know.That is the realm of capologists and GM's.

I do believe the T Pryor for a 3rd round pick could easily be a huge steal. The kid is a beast, 6’5, 240, huge arm and mobile. This is such a no brainier for the Dolphins IF the GM and HC were not so fragile and conservative.

Sure there is risk, as there is risk with every pick. What is it like 50% of 3rd round picks work out? Why not add a kid who could be your starter for a decade?

College is not for everyone. The kid obviously needs to mature. Get him and let him learn the game for several years behind V Young.

Young would really add excitement and put people in those empty orange seats. Hello Ross!?


When would you have traded for Young? The trade deadline passed in like week 6 last season and the season ended March whatever it was. You weren't able to make trades. Nobody got traded after the deadline. Only thing traded were picks.

And I'm not nearly as high on Pryor as you are. Guys can look awfully good in College but awful in the NFL. I think I'd pass on Pryor and take a run at some of the already established guys in the NFL. I know I am in the absolute minority on this one but I still believe that Leinart would be a good high reward, low risk guy to take a look at. I know his arm strength isn't great and his work habits haven't been great but I'd take a flyer on him as a third stringer. If he doesn't get it then get rid of him. By all accounts Matt Schaub was pretty impressed by him last year in Houston.

I'm ready for some football! But I don't blame the players for being cautious. The owners are a bunch of crooks. I wouldn't trust them for a second. The latest move seems like a trick to me. I'd read ALL the fine print in this agreement. We've waited this long. Get it right!

I'm not sure there will be a bidding war for Young. I could see teams like the Raiders and 'Skins want to get invloved but I think a lot of teams have questions about him after his behaviour the last couple of years. If given the choice would you rather go to Washington, Oakland or Miami? I'd still pick Miami.

The news is suddenly NOT good on the labor front, despite the (false) optimism generated by the owners yesterday.

Every outlet now reporting the players are unhappy with this deal. There will be no agreement today. An agreement this weekend is highly unlikely. The owners say they are done negotiating, the players may no feel the same.

This is NOT over, folks.

I hate to break up the party, but if you all go over to CBS Sportsline.com you will read a dozen stories about how the players are not going to vote on this deal. The owners tried to screw the players and the players are ripped, even saying the new CBA might even be illegal. They will not vote on this deal today and the whole agreement is in trouble. Don't take my word for it, go to CBS Sportsline and read for yourself. The evil NFL has been working with the media to make everyone think a deal is close and they are both trying to make the players look like the bad guys for *not signing* the new CBA. Football is a long way from coming back and it's likely the first two exhibition weeks will be cancelled. The media is not dispensing *objective* information they are being used by the NFL as a PR arm for the owners because they want games back so badly. Sorry folks.


Nobody has a scoop on the situation right now. The news is changing fast and furious every two hours for a few days now. Even the top reporters from ESPN/SI at the source are backtracking on half the things they report just hours after they report it.

I'd ignore evertyhing until its a done deal.

I have no idea if a trade was possible. I bet your right. I was just conveying that I would have liked to see Young be made a priority fro the Ireland. That's all.

I'm not opposed to Leinart. I believe you have to explore all options to find that high performing QB. Clearly the Dolphins have been taking the second rate option for the last decade.
Also, my preference if for a larger QB. I believe the game is passing by little QB's like Thigpen. Additionally, athleticism is an increasingly valuable commodity at QB.

Young is clearly the best FA QB out there. Irelands job is to improve talent. Go get him.

This whole cba renewal drama has been nothing short of one of the greatest dick-teasing lessons in world history. Everytime there's more news I feel urgent need to go shower.

My point exactly,Craig anything other than VY spells disaster for Miami.......anything other than VY and I'll be calling for all of there heads....

The CBA nonsense is going exactly the same way step for step as the government debt ceiling nonsense. Both sides playing with fire at the expense of their own good. Make no mistake, the NFL is politics first, a sport second.

no deal will be made too much greed

I'd sign that deal pronto if I were the players.

Then again I'd play for little more than a Jack n Coke.

That or a hot tub full of teenage boys!


I don't think the players are getting screwed they should just sign and play where else could they make that kind of money get real

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