Rule hits Hasselbeck, Smith, possibly Kolb

The new NFL labor agreement will not let players without contracts for 2011 practice before Aug. 4 upon signing new deals.

As a result, hundreds of pending free agents will have to wait even longer before getting on the field following the four-month lockout.

This will affect NFC West teams seeking quarterbacks, even if one of those quarterbacks is acquired via trade. Let's take the case of Kevin Kolb as an example. He could practice with his new team before Aug. 4 only if he reported under terms of his existing contract. Reworking that contract -- something the acquiring team would want to do -- would prevent Kolb from practicing before Aug. 4.

An NFL spokesman confirmed this Monday. I raised questions on the subject earlier in the day.

Likewise, players without contracts for 2011 could not practice before Aug. 4 after re-signing with their current teams or signing with another team. That will prevent NFC West veteran quarterbacks Alex Smith and Matt Hasselbeck from practicing before Aug. 4 even though both players took the lead in organizing player workouts during the lockout.