The final domino has fallen. The icing is on the cake. The turtle has crossed the finish line. The fat lady is singing.
The new collective bargaining agreement has officially been ratified and the new league year is underway. That means that free agents signed over the last six days can finally begin to practice with their new teams. It also means that we can put the finishing touches on our analysis of a pact that the league and its players will abide by for the next decade.
They want your blood: The NFL has become the first American professional sports league to institute blood tests to detect human growth hormone, according to Judy Battista of the New York Times. Random blood tests are expected to start before Week 1. The fact that the league was able to get the union to agree to blood tests is probably more important than the HGH aspect of this development. Now it’ll be easier to scan for emerging drugs in future seasons.
Roger is still the man: Commissioner Roger Goodell will retain the power to discipline players himself, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. Lots of players don’t like the current disciplinary system and would rather have a neutral party handing out fines and suspensions for antics on and off the field. That’s the case in the NHL, where commissioner Gary Bettman cedes that power to a chief disciplinarian (currently former player Brendan Shanahan). Pittsburgh’s Ryan Clark recently stated that changing the disciplinary system was a “deal-breaker.” Turns out it wasn’t.
More cuts likely to come: The ratification means teams have one day to get under the salary cap. Based on numbers from ProFootballTalk, that means the Raiders have to release $15 million worth of players in less than 24 hours. Teams also over the cap: Pittsburgh, Detroit, Dallas and Houston.
Here’s the best part: We’re done with the above “CBA mess” blog category for the next 10 years.