Thursday, Aug. 4 has been target date for full ratification of the collective bargaining agreement and the day signed free agents could begin practicing with their teams.
Both sides continue to finish the final aspects of the new CBA (i.e. drug testing, benefits), and if voted on and approved, the New League Year would start at 3 p.m. (CT).
The Cowboys moved practice from 2:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Thursday, presumably in anticipation of this. All those vets who have been waiting on the sideline can't practice at 2:30, but they could practice tonight:
Doug Free, Kyle Kosier, Marcus Spears, Jason Hatcher, Kenyon Coleman, Gerald Sensabaugh, Bryan McCann, Jesse Holley, Alan Ball and now Abe Elam, who agreed to a one-year deal late Wednesday.
Teams also must be under the salary cap when the New League Year begins. The Cowboys created some $17 million in cap room by releasing Roy Williams, Marion Barber, Leonard Davis and Marc Colombo, and they are likely to restructure contracts for stars like Tony Romo, DeMarcus Ware and Miles Austin to free enough space if need be.