A man can dream, can't he? A man can dream.
It appears the playing are going to work throughout the weekend to get to the point where they feel comfortable voting on the owners' proposal. The owners have already passed it, as you'll recall, so once the player vote is out of the way, everyone just has to put together the formal agreement and do a shazload of interviews.
The logical target date at this point is definitely Monday, for a couple of reasons. One, the chances of the players getting something done over the weekend are basically nil. Two, they get to look like they gave it serious weight and even mulled rejecting it, just to send a little message to the owners. But I do think we're looking at a passage of a new deal early next week.
By my best calculations, that puts free agency on track to start by later in the next week. It also should allow a bunch of wheezing, out-of-shape NFLers to take part in pre-season. We'll have some sense of normalcy back at last.
That concludes the latest in our interminable series of labor updates. Let's hope this is the second-to-last one.