There’s an assumption in some circles that, if/when a new labor deal is reached, the free-agency will open when the clock strikes 12 to start the next day. The reality, however, is that the teams will need time to read and to understand the new rules that will apply to the acquisition and retention of players. Teams also will need time to digest the salary cap rules, for the purposes of forming a budget for signing players.
As one source explained it earlier today, the NFL possibly will decide to call a league meeting on an expedited basis for the purposes of explaining the nuances of the new CBA.
Thus, roughly a week could be needed to prepare for the launch of free agency. Based on our prediction that an agreement in principle will be announced on Thursday, June 30, free agency would then begin at 12:01 a.m. on Friday, July 8.
With all fourth-year, fifth-year, and sixth-year players having expired contracts likely eligible for unrestricted free agency (except for those restricted by the franchise tag) and with an anticipated requirement that teams spend cash in the amount of 90 percent of the salary cap, there could be record spending and activity once football officially returns.