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Football Is Back: Players, Owners Strike Deal To End NFL Lockout

Update at 2:09 p.m. ET. NFL Players Approve Deal:

ESPN reports the NFL lockout is over:

The NFL Players Association executive board and 32 team reps have voted unanimously to approve the terms of a deal to the end the 41/2-month lockout.

Trades can be made beginning Tuesday and free-agent signings can be filed with the league office Friday at 6 p.m. ET, according to the timeline for league business to begin.

Our original post:

The AP, the NFL Network and ESPN are reporting that owners and players have reached a deal that would end the lockout and the NFL's first work stoppage since 1987. NFL.com reports:

Legal teams for NFL owners and players negotiated deep into Monday morning, wrapping up at 3 a.m. with an agreement on basic terms.

According to multiple sources involved, the deal is not 100 percent done yet, with the final document still incomplete. That's important, because the language of a completed deal is what caused some of the hang-ups that occurred last week.

"We have every reason to believe it's going to be a good day," NFL spokesman Greg Aiello told the AP.

If the deal is ratified, ESPN reports that teams can begin signing free agents and talking trades sometime between this afternoon and Tuesday afternoon. Teams, ESPN adds, would begin reporting to camps beginning Wednesday.

Here's the AP with some of the details:

The major economic framework for the deal was worked out more than a week ago. That included how the more than $9 billion in annual league revenues will be divided (about 53 percent to owners and 47 percent to players over the next decade; the old CBA resulted in nearly a 50-50 split); a per-club cap of about $120 million for salary and bonuses in 2011 and at least that in 2012 and 2013 plus about $22 million for benefits; a salary system to rein in spending on first-round draft picks; and unrestricted free agency for most players after four seasons.

Should the players' executive committee vote to accept the deal, it then would go to the 32 team representatives to approve, perhaps later Monday. After that, the total membership would need to vote, with a simple majority required for passage.

According to ESPN, The NFL Players Association is making plans for a major press conference today.

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