Players Approve Deal to End the NFL Lockout

Players are expected to approve a new collective bargaining agreement today

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Update: 2:09 p.m. The NFL Players Association executive board voted unanimously to approve the new collective bargaining agreement, the Associated Press reports. Sources tell ESPN that teams can begin trading players and negotiating with unrestricted free agents on Tuesday, although none of the deals can be filed with the league office until Friday.

After nonstop negotiating sessions, NFL players will vote to ratify a new decade-long collective bargaining agreement on Monday. If all goes well--and it will, say sources of the Associated Press--the nearly five-month long lockout will officially end and player signings could happen as early as Tuesday. Ten training camps will open up Wednesday, with another 10 on Thursday and Friday and the final two on Sunday. The league owners agreed to the collective bargaining deal on Thursday, and players are expected to follow suit Monday. "We have every reason to believe it's going to be a good day," said NFL spokesman Greg Aiello.

The players' executive committee will vote first, as soon as the paperwork is drafted in Washington, D.C. Pending their approval, the vote then goes to the league's 2,000 players, where passage is "a virtual certainty," according to The Washington Post. New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees, who has been heavily involved in the negotiations, was confident enough in the deal that he emailed his teammates on Sunday to let them know that it was done.

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