And on the 136th day, the NFL lockout has been laid to rest.
The players’ side voted unanimously Monday to ratify the proposal to end the longest work stoppage in league history, and the two sides reached a 10-year collective-bargaining agreement.
The executive committee and player representatives were on a conference call for about two and a half hours Monday, discussing the final proposal and then voting to accept it. They went point by point through the agreement, according to a player rep on the call, to ensure they had a complete understanding of the settlement before the voting process.
While there might have been a tempered level of celebration after the vote, the player rep said, “I think everyone was ready [to finish the process]. Guys are ready to get back to playing football.”
The conference call was fairly procedural, but one point of contention involved reporting dates. Players can show up on a voluntary basis Tuesday, and camps can start Wednesday. However, players who can’t show up Wednesday will be given a 24-hour grace period.
This is also a strict 10-year deal without an opt-out clause. The players wanted an opt-out clause after seven years, but the owners — who opted out of the last CBA — were strongly against it.
The opt-out clause didn’t pass for three major reasons: the cost of insurance was too expensive, the NFL can negotiate better television contracts with long-term security and the owners insisted it would be easier to build new stadiums with the security of a long-term labor settlement.