ESPN reported today that "there is a growing belief" that July 21 could be the day the 2011 NFL Lockout ends. League meetings are scheduled to be held that day, and ESPN reported that there is a belief there could be a deal in place toi be ratified at those meetings.
ESPN also reported that a handshake deal could be in place within seven to 10 days. A July 21 deal would seem like that would give teams plenty of time to open camps, even with a slight delay in the currently scheduled openings (around July 30 for most teams) and start the preseason schedule on time.
Per ESPN, here are some of the key dates in the Transition Rules that would govern the league if an agreement is ratified on the 21st:
- Undrafted free agents could be signed beginning July 25.
- Free agency -- and the league year -- would begin July 28.
- Rosters would be set (at 90 players) on Aug. 2.
Depending on who you believe, negotiations have reached the 5, 10 or 15-yard line. Let's just hope nobody throws an Eli Manning left-handed pass, and that both sides punch this in.