I caught a post by Rainer Sabin of SportsDay DFW this morning that said the Cowboys are tentatively planning to open training camp one week from today. I’m not sure how that’s possible. A little more than a week ago, Adam Schefter and Chris Mortensen of ESPN reported that each side eyed a July 21st ratification (we’ve since learned that the players’ side had no such timetable). Mort and Schefter even offered up a projected schedule of front office activities once a deal was struck:
• (July 21): Educate the clubs on the news league rules and allow voluntary training for teams and agents.
• (July 25): Sign undrafted rookies, as well as give free agents a chance to re-sign with their teams.
• (July 28) — League year starts and free agency begins.
• (Aug. 2) — Rosters must be set at 90 players.
• (Aug. 3) — Deadline for restricted free agents to sign offer sheets.
• (Aug. 7 ) — A four-day match period for teams to match restricted free-agent offer sheets.
• (Aug 12) — Deadline for rookies to sign contracts (not yet agreed upon).
• (Aug. 16) — Signing period for restricted free agents ends, as does the signing period for franchise and transition tenders.
• (Aug. 29) — Deadline for players to report to earned credit for an accrued season toward free agency.
If Mort and Schefter’s projected offseason schedule is accurate (and who even knows at this point with the seemingly endless supply of erroneous reporting throughout this entire process), then the Cowboys would open camp the same day free agency was set to open… and that’s assuming the lockout is lifted today (a possibility that doesn’t exactly have me holding my breath). But let’s say they do get it done today: Unless Jason Garrett can create a twin a la Steve Urkel / Stefan Urquelle, I’m not sure how he’s going to run practice and be involved in free agency targets simultaneously. Perhaps players under contract show up and work out with assistants? That’s not exactly “training camp” to me.
So here’s my suggestion for any NFL front office types that are thinking about throwing out any more meaningless dates: Just don’t talk… at all… until the lockout is lifted. You’re giving fans false hopes and then ripping it away, almost like a bad father that has promised his kids that they were going to Disney World, but instead took them to the dentist.