(The Spread) – The NFL lockout is officially over, football fans.
The NFL Network confirmed that at 1:50PM ET on Monday, the league’s players have unanimously ratified the new, 10-year Collective Bargaining Agreement. The lockout, which has lasted since mid-March, is now officially over and football is back. Besides a lot of wasted time, the only thing that was lost due to this labor dispute was the Hall of Fame Game and organized team activities (OTAs).
The NFL Network is also confirming that the league’s new CBA will allow rookies to sign on Tuesday and free agency will officially open at 6:00PM ET this Friday. Players can report to team facilities for voluntary conditioning on Tuesday and then beginning at 10AM tomorrow, all rookie draft picks and unsigned rookie free agents can be signed as well.
This week expects to be busy with teams making a mad dash to sign not only new players, but rookies and their own free agents as well. Then, after a frenzied week of negotiations, players can actually start hitting the field and coaches can begin teaching new schemes.
According to oddsmakers from online sports book Bodog, the Green Bay Packers are currently listed as 7/1 favorites to win the 2012 Super Bowl, although the New England Patriots have the same odds. The San Diego Chargers have the next best odds at 10/1, while the Pittsburgh Steelers are 12/1. The Falcons, Ravens, Cowboys and Jets are all 14/1, respectively.