All 32 NFL teams received an email that the league year will begin on Thursday at 4 p.m. ET at the latest, according to multiple reports. The new, 10-year Collective Bargaining Agreement is expected to be ratified earlier on Thursday.
Once the CBA gets at least 50 percent of votes from the 32 player reps, the league year can begin and players who were free agents finally can practice with their teams. NFLPA player reps will explain the new CBA to their teammates at training camp early Thursday. Most teams moved their practices to later in the day so that the new free agents can get involved as soon as possible.
The NFLPA recertified as a union over the weekend to allow itself bargaining rights with the league over the last pieces of the CBA puzzle. The remaining issues included HGH testing and the league's policy on discipline.
Late Wednesday night, CBSSports.com's Mike Freeman reported the two sides had worked out the final details of the CBA. League spokesman Greg Aiello tweeted on Thursday morning, "On the new CBA, everything is moving forward and we expect the league year to open today on schedule."
According to Sports Illustrated's Peter King, teams need to be under the $120.375 million salary cap by 4 p.m. ET on Friday.
Multiple reports indicated that commissioner Roger Goodell still will have exclusive control over the league's personal-conduct policy, but players will be able to appeal suspensions under the league's drug policy to an independent arbitrator.