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NFL Free Agents Can't Practice Until August 4th

A little tidbit I had forgotten to pass along yesterday in the frenzy of things is a bit of a problematic situation for NFL free agents.

Language in the CBA prohibits players who sign new contracts from practicing with their teams until the start of the new league year. That will not occur until Thursday, August 4th, almost a week after the start of the signing period and the start of all 32 training camps. The rule applies to players re-signing with their old teams as well since they will not be reporting under an existing contract.

According to this little rule, any free agent that is actually signed on Friday cannot participate in practice on the field until August 4th. For a team like the Jacksonville Jaguars, that means any free agents they sign will miss nearly an entire week of training camp, and will only practice for less than a week before the first pre-season game on August 11th.

Because of this rule, players like Adam Podlesh and Kirk Morrison if they're re-signed can't practice until August 4th. A player like safety Courtney Greene, who was an exclusive-rights free agent can't either. This rule applies only to veterans, so an rookies signed can show up as soon as they sign. This would explain why the Jaguars filled about 1/3rd of their roster with UDFA's... They needed warm bodies in camp.