As the NFL labor negotiations have moved along, more and more tidbits of information have provided greater rays of hope that this whole mess will be cleaned up in short order. As nocal81 posted in a FanShot yesterday, Jason Cole reported that some owners think the new league year could be started by July 15, which means free agency and trades can pick up at that point and get teams ready for training camp.
Speaking of training camp, Jason La Canfora had an interesting post today over at nfl.com (thanks to Windy City Gridiron for pointing it out). La Canfora's post discussed how we might see a one-time boost in training camp rosters to accommodate the issues the lockout has caused in player assessment:
The league's competition committee has broached the idea of expanding training-camp rosters for 2011, considering all of the offseason training activities and teaching time that has been lost, as well as the months of evaluation that teams normally would have to work with depth players and prospects.
The other reason for expanding training camp rosters is that some owners think injuries might be on the rise this fall with players potentially coming to camp out of shape. It remains to be seen if that will be the case, but owners seem to think it and are willing to pay for larger rosters (per diems, housing, etc) during camp to accommodate this potential issue. On top of this the league is considering an additional practice squad spot or two.
While there won't be confusion when the new league year starts, there is a good chance there will be a decent amount of chaos with the sheer volume of activity going on in the space of a few weeks. There will be normal free agency, undrafted free agents, trades, possibly a few days of OTAs, and then training camp. What normally takes five months to complete will be done in the space of about two or three weeks. It will certainly create some seriously busy times here at NN.
With these additional roster spots, will we see more young guys step up and snag a roster spot? Or will they end up being mostly training camp bodies for when regulars get banged up?