The Clock's Ticking

Owners and Players have been meeting the past two weeks.

the norm during the "voluntary" offseason workouts. Miss ya Darren Hambrick. 

OK, then everyone needs to first get with Woicik, just for a checkup, to see where they are physically. And my guess is, before any actual football activity takes place, probably at least a few days of conditioning work will be needed, if not two weeks. Remember, there is even less time to recover now from the strains and sprains normally occurring this time of year. So there goes another week, maybe two. 

But what happens if nothing is solved until mid-July? Teams can't just show up for camp, put the pads on the next day and have at it. No way. Some time-honored preparations can't be ignored. Heck, a cake needing 30 minutes to be baked can't be baked in 20, you know. Might turn out lopsided. 

So there is a growing chance training camp might begin with at least a week of minicamp-like practice. Helmets, no pads, but all the time coaches anxious to get going full-blown. There is a good chance a preseason game or two will be missed. I mean, you can't jeopardize the good of the teams, and thus the season and quality of the league because of injury just to play that first preseason game on Aug. 11, in the Cowboys' case. This isn't like the steel workers going on strike, then showing up for a regular workday the minute a contract is signed. 

Garrett seems certain of proper care being taken, saying earlier in the week while taping the show, "I think (the league) will give us the appropriate amount of time to get ready to play." 

Some in the know have said Aug. 15 could be the drop-dead date for an agreement so the regular season could start on time, or at least on time enough if the league buys another week at the start by eliminating everyone's bye week or the week between the conference championship games and the Super Bowl. Maybe just play two preseason games. 

Plus, let's factor this in: Assuming teams still are allowed an 80-man max training camp roster, the Cowboys front office will have its hands full. Currently, the Cowboys have 60 players under contract for 2011, and not all of whom will make it to camp. That means they have all eight draft choices to sign, one restricted free agent, two exclusive rights free agents and likely the normal 10-15 rookie free agents. 

Then on top of that, they have nine unrestricted free agents - guys on the roster at the end of the 2010 season with expiring contracts - of which they probably would like to sign around five, guys like Doug Free, Gerald Sensabaugh, Stephen Bowen and Kyle Kosier, and who knows, maybe even Marcus Spears and/or Jason Hatcher. Plus, assuming cap room, probably would like to cherry pick a couple of free agents from other teams. 

What are we talking about, like 25 guys to get signed - at least? 

That will be a lot of work to complete in a short period of time - before any more than the 60 signed players would be allowed to participate in training camp. 

Soooo ... the clock is ticking, and with camp just a few days more than six weeks away, seemingly ticking a lot louder and considerably faster, like those 30 seconds allowed between setting the home alarm and getting the door closed behind you when you hands are full on the way out. 

Yeah, if you do think about it, July 25th really isn't all that far from June 10th, that day in history, 1983, when Marion Barber was born. 

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