After more than four months of a league-wide lockout, the end is definitely in sight. Pending the official vote from the NFLPA to sign a new 10-year deal on a Collective Bargaining Agreement, the NFL appears very close to getting back to business.
And with that, it's going to ignite a flurry of events in what will likely prove to be one of the wildest weeks in league history.
For the Cowboys, training camp is now back on as the team is expected to report to San Antonio this week, likely to start practices on Thursday in the Alamodome, however it's likely the first two or three days of camp will be mostly conditioning-oriented. The Cowboys held back two trucks with practice equipment and gear on Friday but have not sent them San Antonio-bound.
But before practices begins, the team will conduct player physicals, a conditioning test. Players are expected to officially report in San Antonio now on Wednesday.
And don't forget about the business of signing players – such as their own free agents, undrafted rookies and then the draft picks as well. That order of business should get started later on Monday, assuming the lockout is lifted as expected. With that, the Cowboys and all other teams can start re-signing their respective free agents. For the Cowboys, all eyes will be on Doug Free, an unrestricted free agent.
It's being reported that Tuesday afternoon will be the first time teams can start signing other free agents – both rookies and veterans from other clubs. However, the contracts of veteran free agents won't become official until Aug. 2.
The reason the Cowboys had to start practicing on Thursday ties into their preseason opener against the Denver Broncos of Thursday, Aug. 11 at Cowboys Stadium. The new rules stressed teams beginning its camps 14 days before the first preseason game.