NFL lockout could be over Monday

Shaun O’Hara (2nd L) of the New York Giants stops to sign an autograph as he and Brandon Moore (2nd...

Shaun O’Hara (2nd L) of the New York Giants stops to sign an autograph as he and Brandon Moore (2nd R) of the New York Jets as they depart after a day of player representative meetings at the National Football League Players Association headquarters in Washington, July 20, 2011. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

RYAN WOLSTAT, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:53 AM ET

Barring a shocking turn of events, the NFL lockout will come to an end on Monday, more than four months after it began.

Owners have already approved a new deal and ESPN reported on Sunday that the NFL Players Association has also accepted the 10-year agreement and will approve it via a vote by its executives on Monday. With a simple majority in favour, which is expected, representatives of all 32 teams will then also vote to approve it.

A news conference is slated for later in the day.

Since the antitrust suit involving players like Peyton Manning, Drew Brees and Tom Brady has been dealt with, after the deal is accepted by the players, the only other step is to recertify the union, possibly on Wednesday, when players would be required to start reporting to training camps, or for sure by Friday, when the rest of the players will show up.

Teams would be able to negotiate with their own free agents at that point and agree to contracts in principle. No contracts would officially be registered until Saturday, when arguably the craziest free agency period in the history of pro sports would commence. Any delays in getting the deal ratified would obviously push back this timeline, but it is believed everything is finally on track.

If you thought some of the deals given to NHL free agents this summer were insane, you haven't seen anything yet. The NFL's version of free agent frenzy is going to be a spectacle. It's going to be crazy and NFL fans will love every minute of it.

At least, that is, until the buyer's remorse sets in and they figure out what damage their favourite teams have wrought on themselves.

But that's a story for later. For now, the bottom line is the NFL is coming back with only one game missed, the Hall of Fame contest in Canton Ohio.

That's a lot better than the alternative. The NHL missed an entire season to a lockout, MLB scrapped the World Series, the NBA dropped 32 games in 1998-99 and might cancel even more this time around.

Too many dollars were at stake for the NFL to go dark and cooler heads have finally prevailed.

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