A few weeks ago, Colts owner Jim Irsay told the Indianapolis Star that something needed to get done by approximately July 4 if the league wanted to get all the necessary aspects of the offseason and preseason figured out in time to get the regular season off to its scheduled start. He thinks that by getting done sometime in that first week or so of July, nothing of significance would be lost to the labor dispute.
The league has yet to announce any real drop-dead date for avoiding any lost games, but for the purposes of a full calendar, that July week would seem to make sense. Over at Stampede Blue they took a look at what an early July deal could mean for the calendar leading up to the season. Based on Albert Breer's comments yesterday, if you can get pen to paper on a settlement and accompanying CBA by that first full week of July, you could start free agency and the trading period around Friday July 8. I realize this is all pie in the sky optimism, but it can be fun to dream big.
Training camp would normally start for the 49ers around July 28 or 29, so that basically gives teams approximately three weeks to get players signed/traded, playbooks in hand to new players, and up to some level of speed by the start of training camp. The lack of normal offseason OTAs and minicamps could conceivably mean training camp actually starts a week or so earlier.
It'll be great to get football started, but as BigBlueShoe pointed out in his post, it would be an absolute feeding frenzy if transactions had to happen in the span of a week or two. It's safe to say we'd be just a little bit busy here at Niners Nation. The insanity would not just be the normal free agent signings, but the rookie free agent signings as well. That normal post-draft period would be jammed together with the March free agent period.
Of course, if the NFL Lockout extends into August and beyond, I may just throw my computer against a wall.