It's official: the NFL owners approved a six-year extension to the collective bargaining agreement with the players' union. What are the immediate ramifications? For one, the salary cap will jump from $94.5 million to $102 million, which will help out some teams that already have their nose up against the previous cap keep more of their key players. According to most published reports, free agency is now scheduled to begin on Friday, or at the very least soon thereafter -- the invaluable ProFootballTalk.com suggests the league may push it back 48 hours so as to give teams more time to digest all of the new details, but regardless, it's coming, and soon.
(But wait, some teams have already signed new players -- hasn't free agency already started? No; as ProFootballTalk explained previously, only players that have been cut or released from their contracts have been allowed to sign contracts. Those players with contracts that expired following the 2005 season have been forced to wait until the official start of free agency -- which was originally scheduled to be earlier this month before being pushed back due to CBA negotiations.
So quit thinking about lawyers, pay no more heed to Paul Tagliabue and Gene Upshaw and get your mind back on football! In case you've been preoccupied with all of this negotiating talk, you may have missed some big moves about the league's MVP getting a record contract, a franchise QB demanding a ticket out of town and some interesting rumors.