By all accounts, the painstaking NFL lockout will be lifted Monday with the ratification by both the league and players of a new collective bargaining agreement. As much toil, acrimony and angst as this process has caused, once pen is put to paper and the 10-year deal is done, the process of it all will be history.
The next phase -- the phase of actual football -- will (finally) be the rage. Instead of conjecture on potential trades, which team is acquiring which free agent and what rookies will earn starting roster spots, we will have answers.
Let's take a look at what's in store for what could be one of the most historic (and hectic) weeks in NFL history:
» All signs indicate that the NFL Players Association will recertify as a union and ratify the CBA that owners already have approved. These procedures are expected to be final by Monday.
» If the union opts to recertify, players under contract can begin reporting to team facilities, possibly as early as Tuesday. There should be some intriguing scenes in Cincinnati, Carolina and Washington.
Carson Palmer is expected to be a no-show for Bengals camp. No. 1 overall pick Cam Newton figures to be in the Panthers' facility early (that might not be the case for wide receiver Steve Smith). Donovan McNabb and Albert Haynesworth -- likely ex-Redskins in the near future -- might or might not show (guessing McNabb does, but Haynesworth waits until right before the first day of practice).
Questions also remain about if free agents will be allowed to go to team facilities to possibly vote for union recertification. This could be a nice little recruiting ploy for teams that might be interested in certain free agents. That player could show up to vote, "accidentally" bump into a few coaches and other team personnel, and have a conversation or two under the guise of a random interaction. Hmm ...
» On the day players report to facilities, teams can begin signing drafted rookies and their own free agents. They also can begin waiving players, and negotiating with (but not signing) undrafted rookies and free agents from other teams.
This is going to be a huge day because some teams will have to cut players to create salary-cap space, and draft picks will need to get signed so they can be on the field when training camp starts.
What will be interesting to see is how many players re-sign with their own teams before testing the open market. I wouldn't suspect a lot of first- and second-tier free agents -- Charles Johnson, DeAngelo Williams and James Anderson of the Panthers; Roman Harper of the Saints, among many -- to finalize deals before checking out other options.
» The day when players report also will be important because teams will have them take physicals. Although most players have stayed in decent shape, team officials said that they know not everyone will be. That could prompt some changes in practice routines, at least for those players who are out of shape.
The bigger concern is that of injured players. Have they rehabbed properly? Will they be ready for training camp? Did they aggravate another part of their body while rehabbing the known injury?
Colts quarterback Peyton Manning already said he's unsure when he'll be able to practice after neck surgery because he hasn't seen the team trainer, with whom he's comfortable. General manager Bill Polian told me last week that he's just as anxious to see Manning's medical reports as he is to see Manning.
» Some developments to keep an eye on regarding player movement: Eagles quarterback Kevin Kolb figures to be traded, but to which team (Cardinals, Seahawks)? Will the Panthers deal Smith? Where will Randy Moss land? Could the Packers deal Nick Barnett? Who do the Jets re-sign, Braylon Edwards, Santonio Holmes and/or Brad Smith?
Will Giants defensive end Osi Umenyiora work things out with general manager Jerry Reese? Where will Vince Young land after the Titans cut him? Does DeAngelo Williams re-sign with the Panthers, receive an offer from the Broncos and former coach John Fox, or do the Bengals get in the mix after Cedric Benson's recent legal issues? Will NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell have the authority to punish players for violating the personal-conduct code during the lockout?
When will a supplemental draft be held? Terrelle Pryor, if he's even eligible, really wants to know.
Follow Steve Wyche on Twitter @wyche89