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NFL Lockout 2011: NFL Deal Coming In Next Ten Days; Players And Owners Expected To Sign By July 21

Based on sources speaking with ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the 2011 NFL season is on the way in a matter of 10 days. The best news involved here is that it’s Schefter breaking the news, perhaps the single best source for truth amidst rumors in the NFL. Thus you can likely bank on Schefter being right that players and owners are prepared to ratify the terms of a new collective bargaining agreement by Thursday, July 21.

This is major news for everyone involved, as not only will fans get excited again but the economy that centers around ticket sales, preseason action, merchandise and the like will all be able to breathe easier knowing the entire season will be intact. Free agency will be a frenzy, as predicted, with probably two full weeks to sign literally hundreds of players — from overpriced bigger names like Albert Haynesworth to undrafted free agents like Boston College linebacker Mark Herzlich.

The Chiefs will have several moves to make in this time, but it’s difficult to imagine that everyone has held true to the no-contact rules, knowing the end is near. Some groundwork has surely been laid in setting out agreements for resigning their own players — perhaps names like Ron Edwards — while also looking for new free agent signings — perhaps Steve Breaston of the Cardinals.

For Todd Haley and company, it will be about incorporating any new schemes and plans as soon as possible with the roster that you know for certain will be around, while also acclimating any rookies who are expected to play instantly — like Jon Baldwin at wide receiver or Rodney Hudson along the offensive front. For others like Justin Houston, it’s important to instantly soak up the professional culture the Chiefs have worked hard to build and become a part of the team.

But for now, fans can hopefully breathe easy knowing the end is in sight and the damage hasn’t taken out too much along the way.