Confusion reigned supreme as the NFL lockout came to a close Monday and the league moved toward a swift return to business.
That’s because there was conflicting information sent out to teams about when they could begin negotiating contracts with draft picks and undrafted free agents, work the clubs want to get done as quickly and efficiently as possible in order to then transition into what will be an unprecedented period for veteran free agency.
At first, clubs were told the green light for rookies – draft picks and undrafted college players alike – would be at 10 a.m. today Then, a memo was sent out late in the afternoon informing them those negotiations could start at 7 p.m. but contracts could not be signed until this morning.
What happened? The switch caught a few clubs off guard and some teams were asleep at the wheel believing they would be tampering if they started Monday night. The result? Some clubs got a head start and others were left frustrated, according to our league insider. The poor communication certainly fueled the problem and one NFC general manager admitted that he had left the office early in order to get a fast start this morning. That sounds like a legitimate reason to be upset.
An AFC West team thought it was following protocol by waiting when a call from an agent informed them of the late timeline change. Another NFC South general manager didn’t find out that 7 p.m. Monday had become the magic starting point until minutes before. Sound like chaos? Sounds like some teams have legitimate beefs with the league about how Monday unfolded. Hopefully, the rest of the week will go off without more questions but with so much information packed into such a short period of time, it's not a surprise.
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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune