The end of the NFL lockout means the beginning of the 2011 league year, which includes free agency, trades and the typical offseason transactions. However, because the NFL was in the midst of a work stoppage during the period that a typical offseason is conducted, the timeline for signings and other transactions is accelerated, leaving teams about a week to scramble to fill-out a roster, sign rookies, get under the salary cap and lock-up restricted free agents. It's hectic, but we do have some clarity, in the form of a schedule for the 2011 NFL free agency period from the NFLPA.
Here is the timeline sent to agents by the NFLPA on Monday. It is, essentially, the same as the one that's been reported throughout the day. calendar
Monday: NFL will publish the 2011 free agent list, set to go into affect on Friday.
Tuesday: Teams may begin negotiating with their own drafted rookies. unrestricted free agents, restricted free agents, exclusive rights players and franchised players. Teams may also begin negotiating with other teams' restricted free agents and unrestricted free agents, but may not offer a contract or extend an offer sheet. Trading may commence and teams may also sign undrafted rookie free agents.
Wednesday: Training camps begin to open.
Thursday: Teams may waive players.
Friday: Teams may renegotiate contracts and sign their own unrestricted free agents, restricted free agents, exclusive rights players and franchise players. Teams may also sign or extend offer sheets to other teams' restricted and unrestricted free agents.