The wait is over. Both the NFL owners and players association have agreed to end the lockout. With the 10-year deal officially in place, all 32 teams can now prepare for training camp and the preseason.
49ers president and CEO Jed York sent out a letter to the 49ers fans immediately after the lockout was officially lifted:
Dear 49ers Faithful,
It brings me great pleasure to inform you that today a new Collective Bargaining Agreement was reached between the National Football League and the NFL Players Association. Many hours of hard and tedious work were put forth by both sides to lay the foundation for the continued growth and prosperity of the game we all love. As a passionate, life-long fan of both the NFL and the 49ers, I thank you for your patience during this process.
Throughout the offseason, the 49ers have remained deeply committed to building a championship caliber football team. In April, we acquired a draft class full of talented, high-character players that will help us excel both on the field and throughout the Bay Area community. Coach Harbaugh and his staff are eager to begin training camp in order to set the foundation for success this season and beyond.
Please take a moment to view a special message from Coach Harbaugh.http://www.49ers.com/
In addition to a series of open training camp sessions in early August, we are excited about a new fan event we will hold in mid-August. 49ers Fan Fest will feature many of the games and entertainment typically featured during our annual Family Day, but this year the afternoon will be paired with the first open practice held at Candlestick Park in more than 20 years. This is a rare opportunity for you to have some fun, see the team workout, and also preview a number of stadium enhancements. Information regarding 49ers Fan Fest and our open training camp sessions will be available on 49ers.com later this week. All of our summer fan events are free.
Football is on. And, the 49ers will be ready to kickoff the regular season against the Seahawks on September 11, 2011.
President & CEO
San Francisco 49ers
Note that in the letter, the 49ers plan to have an open training camp practice held at Candlestick Park. And 49ers training camp is expected to open up on Thursday.
This is what the tentative schedule, according to a source reported by ESPN, will look like for the upcoming week with the lockout lifted:
Monday: Trades can commence. Teams can reach agreements with rookies and undrafted free agents beginning at 10 a.m. ET. Teams can reach agreements with all free agents and signed players are allowed to enter team facilities.
Tuesday: Trades can commence. Teams can reach agreements with rookies and undrafted free agents beginning at 10 a.m. ET. Teams can reach agreements with all free agents and signed players are allowed to enter team facilities.
Wednesday: Players can begin reporting to training camps 15 days before their first preseason games.
Thursday: 49ers can open their training camp; players can be cut or waived at 1PM PT.
Friday: Free agency period begins at 3PM PT.
Aug 4.: Deadline for recertification and ratification of the collective bargaining agreement by the players.
The 49ers will come up with their training camp schedule shortly and they are expected to have some practices open to the public. And with the new rules, padded practices will be limited throughout training camp.
Also, the free agency period will be the toughest thing for all teams to handle. Especially for the 49ers, they need to fill up their roster with undrafted free agents as well as getting the draft picks under contract.
Quarterback Alex Smith did say that he will sign back with the 49ers once the signing period is open. The 49ers, however, will have to worry about bringing back some other faces after the Smith deal is done. Bringing back key starters must be their top priority. Even though the 49ers have made it clear that they won’t be making any big splashes in free agency, they will keep their ears and eyes open when the free agency period begins.
For a breakdown of the new CBA, Pro Football Talk has a good summary of the lingo.