Sunday, July 24, 2011
Logical post-lockout reporting timetable
By Mike Sando
The pending NFL labor agreement calls for player reporting dates Wednesday and Friday. Which teams would report when? Let's do the math.
Wednesday lines up with the long-established 15-day period between reporting and when 10 teams begin playing their first exhibition games.
Using that 15-day buffer, we can reasonably deduce that teams playing games on Aug. 11 could begin reporting Wednesday. Thursday would make sense for teams opening Aug. 12. Friday would make sense for teams opening Aug. 13. Sunday would make sense for the two teams playing Aug. 15.
The 15-day window suggests the Seattle Seahawks and Arizona Cardinals would be among those teams reporting Wednesday. The San Francisco 49ers would report Thursday. The St. Louis Rams would report Friday. None of this is official. It's just logical.
I'll list below team-by-team dates for exhibition openers, as listed by the NFL:
- Aug. 11: Jacksonville, New England, Baltimore, Philadelphia, Seattle, San Diego, Denver, Dallas, Arizona, Oakland.
- Aug. 12: Miami, Atlanta, Cincinnati, Detroit, Pittsburgh, Washington, San Francisco, New Orleans, Tampa Bay, Kansas City.
- Aug. 13: Green Bay, Cleveland, New York Giants, Carolina, Buffalo, Chicago, Indianapolis, St. Louis, Minnesota, Tennessee.
- Aug. 15: New York Jets, Houston.
The 15-day period has been standard operating procedure in the NFL for years, and reports suggest that will not change. The previous labor agreement read, in part:
"No veteran player other than quarterbacks and injured players will be required to report to a Club's official pre-season training camp earlier than fifteen days (including one day for physical examinations) prior to its first scheduled pre-season game."
No players of any kind could begin reporting before Wednesday under the current timeline, so the part about quarterbacks and injured players would not seem to apply if it carried over from the previous agreement.
The earlier a team can report, the more time that team will have to prepare for Week 1 of the regular season. Playing exhibition openers Aug. 11 works in the Seahawks' and Cardinals' favor for these purposes. The Rams, once scheduled to open with the Hall of Fame game on Aug. 7, would report slightly later than their division rivals.