Monday, July 25, 2011

Sports Quick Hits - 7/25 - Lockout Over/Stars Overseas?

Well, it's a little late today, but with this edition of Sports Quick Hits, you can know that the NFL Lockout is Over! Almost. It's still pending the formality of the players vote, which at this points looks like it'll be a majority agreement with the owners unless something dramatic changes. With that vote, the NFL and NFL Players committees, who worked until 3am this morning, have expedited the NFL time line. If the deal is accepted today, here's what will happen:

Monday, 7/25 - The NFL will announce teams can go to 90-man rosters and will distribute official free agent lists. So, expect to see a bunch of big names, and we'll also get clarification on guys like Logan Mankins and Vincent Jackson, and whether or not their franchise tags will stick.

Tuesday, 7/26 - Teams can begin negotiating with drafted rookies and undrafted college free agents beginning at 10am. All signed players are allowed into team facilities, with 10 teams beginning training camp. To keep teams from having additional practices, all teams may begin camp only 15 days prior to their first preseason game. Teams may begin resigning their own free agents and start negotiations with unrestricted free agents and begin trade talks. However, transactions involving unrestricted free agents and trades cannot be reported to the league office until Friday the 29th, so you may have to wait a few days to see some new faces on your favorite team's roster.

Wednesday, 7/27 - Ten more teams are allowed to report to training camp, and ten more will report Thursday with the Jets and Texans reporting on Sunday.

Thursday, 7/28 - Teams can begin to cut players currently under contract to get back under the new $120M salary cap. Teams must spend at least 89% of that total in cash contracts, or $106.8M). Presently, there are 8 teams over the cap. Those teams and the amounts over are as follows:

Dallas Cowboys - $18.9M over
New York Giants - $11.3M over
Oakland Raiders - $10M over
Pittsburgh Steelers - $10M over
Minnesota Vikings - $5.1M over
Indianapolis Colts - $2.7M over
New York Jets - $1.2M over

Among some of the notable players likely to be cut due to high salaries are: Reggie Bush, Saints; Shawn Andrews, Giants; Flozell Adams, Steelers; Marion Barber, Cowboys; Vince Young, Titans; Donovan McNabb, Redskins; and Vernon Carey, Dolphins. Note that this list doesn't include players like Peyton Manning and Santonio Holmes, who are unrestricted free agents whose contracts will come off their respective teams books should they leave. Those two are unlikely, but there will be a lot of guys in flux the next 4 days.

Friday, 7/29 - All teams can file all new transactions (signed unrestricted free agents, rookie contracts, and trades) with the NFL League Office starting at 6pm.

August 4th - Deadline for recertification of NFLPA and ratification of new Collective Bargaining Agreement by the players.

As much as I hate to dole out kudos to these two, but my hats off to Roger Goodell and DeMaurice Smith for taking over these negotiations the last two weeks. And lastly, I think you have to ask the owners, was it worth it? I think not, and I think that's plenty evident by teams hurting badly on season ticket sales.

Just when the MLB trade deadline is approaching and some of the races are getting hot, the NFL seemingly solves its lockout issues. Buzzkill for baseball. Anyways, there are some great races going on. Here's my top 3.

1) NL Central - this one is sort of by default, as the first place Pirates, also tied with the Cardinals and Brewers, all have worse records than every other first place team in the Majors and are all also worse than 4 of the second place teams around the majors. The Reds are also 3 games back and won back-to-back games for the first time in a month last night. I'd expect some serious deals to go on in this division over the coming days.

2) AL Central - don't look now but Ozzie Guillen's White Sox are hard-charging and just two games below .500 and just 4.5 out of first after a dreadful start. Detroit holds a two game lead over the Indians, who just won't seem to go away. I think this remains a 3 horse race to the bitter end.

3) NL Wild-Card - the Braves have a 4 game lead over Arizona right now, but Pittsburgh, Milwaukee, St. Louis, Cincinnati, the New York Mets, and Washington Nationals are all within 10 games of the Braves.

Other Sports

A lot of NBA guys are looking overseas. Deron Williams already signed with a team in Turkey, and that squad is currently in talks with Kobe Bryant. Dwight Howard has eyed teams in Europe, Turkey, and maybe biggest of all, China, in order to improve his game overseas while the NBA Lockout is in effect.

Terrelle Pryor, the former Ohio State QB, may not be allowed to be in the Supplemental Draft, which still has yet to have a date set for it, as he left Ohio State under his own volition, as opposed to being ruled academically ineligible or being kicked out of school for unforseen circumstances.

Lastly, and this one is for Chizzy, I'll go ahead and call the Eagles trading Kevin Kolb to the Arizona Cardinals for CB Dominique Rogers-Cromartie and a draft pick. Book that one for Friday night.

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