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NFL/NFLPA Deal In Place By July 21st - Maybe.

Looks like Mike Puncey will have to officially sign with the Dolphins by August 12th.  Here comes the chaos....
Looks like Mike Puncey will have to officially sign with the Dolphins by August 12th. Here comes the chaos....

So, just as Matty predicted as he left for vacation, the news stories are starting.  The first one, from multiple sources, is that the NFL and the NFLPA are looking to ratify the new collective bargaining agreement by July 21st. 

While there are still hurdles between the two sides and the final agreement, the reports are saying significant progress has been made so that, as one owner reportedly said, "there's no reason to believe it won't get done."

But, not everything comes without some retraint.  One of the player's negotiators has stated the players feel as though they have made concessions to the owners that "have not been reciprocated." 

As usual, the end is in sight, but it's always a fragile process until everything is done.

However, the outlook is so good right now, that the NFL has released a tentative offseason schedule.  So, after the jump, you can see the plan:

July 25th - Undrafted Free Agents can sign, along with resignings with teams

July 28th - Start of the 2011 League Year (i.e., Free agency begins)

August 2nd - 90 man rosters

August 3rd - Deadline for Restricted Free Agents signing offer sheets

August 7th - Deadline for teams to match RFA offer sheets

August 12th - Tentative deadline for rookie signings

August 16th - RFA signing period ends; Franchise and Transition player tenders signing period ends

August 29th - Deadline for players to report to receive season credit towards free agency

For the Dolphins, the other key date that is apparently still on the calendar is July 27th.  That's the date that camp is supposed to begin.  No word on that changing.

Also, just a reminder, the key Dolphins FAs that can be resigned during the July 25-28 time-frame include Ricky Williams, Ronnie Brown, and Tyler Thigpen.  I personally think only Ricky Williams could be resigned, but we'll see what happens.  And, as the CBA is ratified, more FAs could be added, depending on the number of accrued years needed to become a free agent.

So, basically, hold on to your seat.  Things are about to get fast and furious.