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Jackson is almost certainly upset with his contract situation. He's due to be paid just under $600,000 in 2011 and before he risks major injury, he wants a contract extension.
It's hard to blame Jackson. Look at what happened to him when Dunta Robinson lit him up last season. He could've easily had a career-ending injury there. The guy is a two-time Pro Bowler and I think he's earned more than his keep.
More from McManus:
Michael Vick intimated to the media Tuesday that Jackson was no sure thing report to camp on time.
"I spoke to DeSean [Monday] and tried to figure out what was going to happen," Vick said. "Hopefully he'll be here [Wednesday]. DeSean's got some things to think about and some decisions to make that only he himself can make.
"I just don't know. I'm just being realistic about the situation. It's all in what DeSean wants. So hopefully he'll be here."
The rules handed down after the lockout ended stated that players could report one day late (Thursday for the Eagles) to camp without being penalized.
DeSean Jackson's agent, Drew Rosenhaus, has a history of holding his players out. See Terrell Owens, circa 2005.
The Philadelphia Eagles have released statements from Jeff Lurie, Joe Banner and Andy Reid addressing the end of the NFL Lockout.
Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie:
"I'm glad we were able to reach this agreement without interrupting the season for our fans. In the end, both sides gave enough to get the deal done, and we can all go back to work feeling good about what was accomplished. A 10-year contract is unprecedented in professional sports. By the time this contract ends, the NFL and its player will have been able to play 33 uninterrupted seasons of football.
"The contract protects and strengthens the elements that have driven the popularity of the NFL to unprecedented heights. The continued equalization of player spending guarantees every market, large and small, an equal chance of competitive success. The draft and free agency remain important parts of the game. And there's recognition of the importance of former players, who gave so much to the game, and who deserve our increased support.
"I want to thank our fans for their patience. Now we can get back to football - and that's what we are all really looking forward to."
Team president Joe Banner:
"Like our fans, we've been waiting for this situation to end since the day it started. Now the challenge is getting back to the games with as little disruption as possible.
"Even during the lockout, we kept working through the summer knowing we had to be ready for this moment - to go from zero to 100 mph overnight. That includes giving our fans a worthwhile preseason experience. So we kept working at it, even when we weren't sure we would have time for training camp at all. We owe thanks to many people at Lehigh and on our Eagles staff for making that possible.
"Now we have to be quick learners, and quick to act. We're studying the new contract hard so we can make good football decisions fast. We want to be on top of the nuances of this new agreement so we can help our ballclub compete."
Coach Andy Reid:
"I'm happy that the NFL and its players can get back doing what they love to do. The coaches can get back to coaching. Players can get back to playing and we're all pleased about that.
"As far as our team, we look forward to reconvening in the near future and we are looking forward to holding training camp once again on the campus of Lehigh University. We understand that we have a lot of work ahead of us in order to get ready for the season opener at St. Louis and I'm excited to get started on that as soon as we can."
The NFLPA executive committee and the 32 player representatives have unanimously approved a new collective bargaining agreement ending the 132 day NFL lockout. The actual agreement won’t be finalized until the entire union re-certifies and votes on it, but for all intents and purposes, football is assured to return this year and the NFL will open for business tomorrow.
Roger Goodell and NFLPA head DeMaurice Smith held a joint press conference at NFLPA headquarters today to announce the deal.
"It’s a long time coming and football’s back. That’s great news for everyone," Goodell said. "I think this agreement is going to make our game better. "
"To our fans, I know you love this game as much as I do," said Smith, "I know it's been a very long process since the day we stood here on that day in March. But our guys stuck together when no one lese thought we would and football is back because of it. I'm proud of the men that you see behind me, I'm proud of the former players that have stood with us, and most of all, I dig our fans who love our game."
This means that an entire offseason of transactions will now be condensed into a matter of days. Check out this stat as an example of how nuts things will be. Teams have an average of 40 players currently under contract. This season, rosters will be expanded to 90 players for camp. So that means teams will be adding an average of 50 players over the next week. That could mean upwards of 1,600 contracts being negotiated this week.
Starting at 10am tomorrow teams will be free to work out trades, sign free agents, rookies, undrafted players… It’s all fair game. Since rookies aren’t going anywhere, look for teams to make trades and veteran free agents their top priority over the next 24-48 hours.
Rookie contracts should actually be much easier this year. Under the terms of the new CBA, rookie deals will be much simpler than in the past. There will be no voidable years or big escalators etc. So the amount of long holdouts and acrimonious negotiations should be lower.
The players and owners have reportedly agreed to terms on a new 10 year collective bargaining agreement, effectively ending the NFL lockout and ensuring labor peace for the next decade. The full players union still has to vote to ratify the deal, but all the final details have been worked out and the executive committee will reportedly recommend the deal. So at this point it would seem that the vote is just a formality and after 132 days, the NFL lockout is just about over.
At this point things will begin to move very fast. ESPN is reporting that clubs will be allowed to sign their own free agents and rookies today. Full free agency should begin tomorrow.
Teams will begin to report to training camp no later than two weeks prior to their first preseason game. So teams will be reporting on a staggered basis, with the Eagles being among the first 10 to show up on Wednesday. According to ESPN, here’s the tentative timeline for how the league will proceed once the agreement is officially signed.
• Monday: The NFL will announce that teams can go to 90-man rosters and the official free-agent list will be distributed to teams.
• Tuesday: Teams can reach agreements with rookies and undrafted free agents beginning at 10 a.m. ET. Teams can reach agreements with all free agents and signed players are allowed to enter team facilities.
• Wednesday: Players can begin reporting to training camps 15 days before their first preseason games. According to the proposed timeline, 10 teams would report on Wednesday, 10 more on Thursday and 10 additional teams on Friday. The New York Jets and Houston Texans would be the last two teams to report, on Sunday.
• Thursday: Teams can begin to cut players at 4 p.m. ET.
• Friday: Teams can begin filing transactions to the league office at 6 p.m. ET.
• Aug. 4: Deadline for recertification and ratification of the collective bargaining agreement by the players.
When the owners ratified the new CBA last Thursday, the players responded with shock, despite the fact that we'd heard for a month the owners would vote on it when the met in Atlanta. Immediately we were inundated with tweets of players claiming the owners approved "their own deal" and tried to "sneak things in" to the agreement.
The players then all took the airwaves claiming that they would not be rushed or pressured into a signing a deal! They needed time to read over this agreement, which they all seem to claim they never saw. This despite the fact that they spent the better part of the entire summer negotiating every little detail of it.
Now that the initial reaction has calmed, it appears as though the deal wasn't some trick by the owners. It was in fact, pretty much the same deal the two sides have spent hundreds of hours hammering out. So after spending the weekend proving that they "will not be rushed," the players now appears set to meet in Washington on Monday to vote (and presumably ratify) the new CBA.
The two sides have exchanged some phone calls this weekend, but no face to face meetings took place. Reportedly, the biggest detail that was talked about was giving the players some more time to reform as a union. Previously, the owners were insisting they do so before starting a new league year. Of course, Vincent Jackson dropping his demand of $10 million dollars helped as well.
So barring anything unforseen, the players should take a vote on Monday and the NFL will likely start a new league year on Wednesday, at which point all hell will break loose.
One of the hangups in getting a deal done this past week was the the owners expected that all lawsuits between the two sides would be dropped as a condition of agreeing to a new labor deal. The players, or more specifically, those named in the Brady Bunch lawsuit, or even more specifically, Logan Mankins and Vincent Jackson wanted $10 million settlements or unrestricted free agency as a settlement to the lawsuit.
Mankins later came out and said that he never requested the settlement, but his union lawyer did. He apparently backed off, but Jackson, despite insisting on twitter that he was making no demands, still was according to reports.
Now however, Albert Breer is reporting that the NFLPA has gotten all 10 plaintiffs in the Brady Bunch lawsuit to drop all demands for concessions. That puts them in line with the owners on that issue and presumably one step closer to ending this whole thing.
According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the players do not have any plans to vote on a new CBA today or this weekend and will not meet about the issue until Monday.
NFLPA reps sent out an email to players saying,“We will meet again Monday to discuss our options and the direction we want to go.”
Presumably, that means we will have to wait until at least then to find out whether the players will ratify this thing or not. The prevailing narrative from the players are that they “won’t be rushed!” So whether this is about proving a point to the owners or they really need three more days is unclear.
Either way, the NFL basically gave them until Tuesday to ratify the deal. So if they met and held a vote on Monday, presumably everything could proceed as planned with the new league year starting on Wednesday and follow the tentative schedule we posted yesterday.
NFLPA general counsel Richard Berthelsen sent an email to his membership this evening that as of now they do not have a deal on a new CBA with the owners. Further, he says that the NFL insisting that the players must re-certify as a union as a condition of the deal may be in violation of federal law.
Here is exactly what Berthelsen wrote to the players this evening.
“In addition to depriving the players of the time needed to consider forming a union and making needed changes to the old agreement, this proposed procedure would in my view also violate federal labor laws. Those laws prohibit employers from coercing their employees into forming a union, and could result in any agreement reached through the procedure being declared null and void.”
The players reportedly want the owners to lift the lockout once the players agree to the deal, but give them time to re-form their union. As of now, the owners will not start a new leauge year until the players re-certify their union. The players do not want to be rushed.
It’s been interesting to see the narrative of the events of today and yesterday be spun in every different direction. As of now, it appears as though we all may have been sold a bill of goods by the owners (just like all summer) about the very logistics of this deal.
Yesterday, the news was that the players were “supposed” to vote on the new CBA. Later we learned that was never the case. Not only did the players not intend to vote that day, they didn’t really even have something to vote on. And when the owners approved their deal today, the players literally did not even have the document to look at until very recently.
Essentially, the owners approved the deal they drew up, which to be fair has been mostly all the stuff that was agreed upon, and said to the players “here you go, sign it!” So at this point, the players are just beginning to go over the actual document that was sent to them by the owners. When you consider that, it’s pretty easy to see why the players wouldn’t even hold a vote tonight. They still need to go over everything to ensure that it’s all what they’ve agreed to previously.
So, while the players may not hold a vote tonight or even tomorrow, that doesn’t necessarily mean the union will not ratify the deal. All they are really saying at the moment is that they need to look it over. How on earth the two sides did not have the same document is beyond me. It’s so ridiculous that it almost defies belief, yet here we are. The players say they haven’t seen this exact proposal and need to go over it.
Over the course of them doing that, it’s certainly possible that other issues could come up. One of the issues that the players say they never agreed to with the owners the supplemental revenue sharing plan that Roger Goodell mentioned. That plan will share revenue with franchises if they are distressed or in need of money. That may or not may not be a plan that the NFLPA is ok with.
The players have until Tuesday to accept this deal. They will be allowed back into team facilities this weekend even if they have not yet accepted it.
The NFL owners have unanimously approved the new CBA deal and settlement terms. It will ensure 10 years of labor peace in the NFL and settle all outstanding lawsuits. Now, it on the players to not only ratify the agreement, but also reform as a union. The owners' approval of the new deal in contingent on the players reforming their union.
"We are pleased to announce that our clubs have approved the terms of a long-term negotiated agreement with the NFL players," said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. "It includes many positive changes that emerged from a spirit of compromise rooted in doing what is best for the game and players. DeMaurice Smith and his team, and the players and owners involved in the negotiations, deserve great credit for their skill and professionalism. If approved by the players, this agreement will allow the league and its players to continue to benefit from the NFL's popularity and will afford a unique opportunity to deliver to fans an even better, safer, and more competitive game in the future.
Reports are that the players have an 8pm conference call scheduled at which point they could vote to approve the deal as well. NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith literally jumped into the live shot ESPN was doing as they were reporting the news and said that the league was sending over the deal they just approved.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell spoke with the media minutes after the deal was approved and said that clubs will open their doors to players this Saturday and they are prepared to start a new league year on Wednesday, but that is conditional on the players re-constituting as a union. Reportedly, players will be allowed to sign their union cards on Saturday at their teams' facilities as part of the process to reconstitute the union.
Also, the Hall of Fame game has been officially canceled.
Here are the outlines of the deal the owners voted on today.
The only possible stumbling block now is that the players must reconstitute as a union and some players reportedly do not want that. However, they only need a majority of the vote to do so.
You've probably heard the phrase "global agreement" thrown around in relation to the NFL lockout in recent weeks. Basically, it refers to an agreement that would cover all the current issues between the owners and players. There are three major issues that need to be hammered out. First and foremost is an agreement on a new collective bargaining agreement. That would set the rules for players movement, contracts, practices, virtually everything.
However, that's not the only issue. The two sides need to come to an agreement on potential damages in the TV money case as well as settle the Brady lawsuit. So when the owners specifically speak about a "global agreement" they want to to settle these lawsuits and get a new CBA all in one shot. Unfortunately, certain snags in the Brady case may prevent that and the owners reportedly could vote to approve the new CBA without settling the other matters.
In other words, there would be an agreement, but it wouldn't be "global." Whether or not that means that the league can open up for business isn't clear at this point. The players were expected to vote on all the same issues yesterday, but didn't.
CBS Sports is reporting that one of the stumbling blocks preventing the players from approving a new CBA yesterday was that Logan Mankins and Vincent Jackson, both plaintiffs in the "Brady case," have continued to insist that they deserve $10 million in cash compensation as part of a settlement in the case.
The source in the article says that as of late last night, neither player's representatives had dropped their request and the NFL will not agree to pay them.
Both players have been negatively affected by the franchise tag, which they see as a restraint of trade and believe the owners owe them compensation. They are absolutely right about what the tag is, but the fact is that it was something collectively bargained by their union. Why the owners should now be liable for utilizing a device the players agreed to is hard to understand.
Reports were that last night the players did agree to conditionally approve a new CBA, but the condition was that the Brady case plaintiffs settle or drop their claims. Effectively, they've put the onus on those players now.
"Sigh, and once again greed is the operative byword. Congrats [Drew] Brees, [Peyton] Manning, Mankins, and Jackson for being 'that guy.' #douchebags"
Over the past couple weeks fans have been told by nearly every media outlet in the country that the NFL lockout was nearing an end, all the major issues had been hammered out and the agreement on a new CBA was basically a done deal. As has been the case all summer however, that may not be entirely true... NFL network's Jason LaCanfora is reporting that player reps are leaving DC and that no vote to approve the new CBA was taken. It had been widely reported that the players would likely vote today and the owners would ratify the agreement tomorrow.
At this point, that does not seem likely. LaCanfora does say however, that a vote could be taken later via conference call. However, you have to wonder how after a day of meetings in which the players left... why they'd suddenly be ready to call in and vote later on?
Sports Illustrated's Don Banks is also reporting that the status of the CBA is not nearly as rosy as everyone has been saying.
NFL source said status of CBA is more "tenuous'' than is widely thought. And it's still too early to know if vote will happen today on schedule.
He also said that the start of free agency was "a moving target' and that no decision has been made on the Hall Of Fame game. That game is supposed to take place August 7th, so really you'd have to be kidding yourself if you think teams could be prepared to play a game by then. Even if it is mostly scrubs and fifth stringers.
That said, Banks did assure his twitter followers that "tenuous" doesn't necessarily mean doomsday.
An observation worh adding:"Tenuous'' doesn't mean deal won't happen. Just means things might not be as solid as believed. Steady, folks.
It appears as though our long national nightmare is just about over. Many sources are reporting that all the major terms of a new CBA have been hammered out and an announcement could be made within days, if not hours.
However, the important thing is that whenever the new deal is announced, it won’t be official until the owners ratify it, which would happen on July 21st when the owners meetings in Atlanta commence. So an announcement that a deal has been reached will signal the end of the lockout, but it won’t be officially over until the owners vote on it.
Now when that happens, it appears as though the owners will get a three day window starting on July 22 to negotiate with their own free agents. There will be no right of first refusal as the owners wanted, but they will have a chance to talk with their pending free agents before frenzy begins, which seems fair.
Then on July 25th, the floodgates open and player movement will commence. That means trades, free agency… The NFL will truly feel like it’s back that day. Just a few days later, training camps will likely commence, which means we could be seeing free agents signing one day and showing up to camp the next or a few days later. It certainly won’t be the best thing for getting them integrated in to the team and taught the system… but it sure will be exciting.
Several NFL teams, including the Giants, have already canceled their training camps and will instead have practices back at their headquarters. Despite the fact that time is running out on the Eagles to commit to having their camp at Lehigh University, the team remains committed.
“For us, it’s a priority, so if there’s any way to do it, we definitely will,” Eagles president Joe Banner told Philly.com.
Banner said that the team would wait until “the last minute” to decide on whether they need to move their camp, saying being at Lehigh is “an important part to our whole approach to things.”
Should camp move from Lehigh to the Novacare complex, it would effectively shut out the fans. The Eagles have an agreement with their South Philly neighbors to not hold any fan events at the complex. Last year, the Eagles started camp on July 27th, which is just about two weeks from now. The Eagles would reportedly only need about a week to get ready to move up to Bethlehem, but the University usually takes three to four weeks to prepare Goodman Stadium for the influx of fans and players.
That means they already don’t really have enough time and when you consider that reports of a possible end to the lockout don’t have an agreement getting done until the 27th… It’s clear that camp at Lehigh is in serious doubt.
It appears a new deadline has emerged in the ongoing discussions between NFL owners and the Players Association to end this year’s lockout, with ESPN’s Adam Schefter and Chris Mortensen reporting this week that “there is a growing belief inside league circles that the NFL and NFL Players Association will have an agreement in place” to approve by July 21. While others, such as NFL Network’s Albert Breer, continue to emphasize that if a new CBA isn’t completed around July 15, hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue would be lost as a result of the preseason being affected, there’s no clear end date to what’s been a lengthy labor mess.
As SB Nation Philly‘s own Jason Brewer recently pointed out at Bleeding Green Nation, it’s becoming difficult for fans to accept reports of an upcoming resolution simply because of the continuous flow of contradicting information and weeks of reported progress, but no deal completed.
Either way, Schefter and Mortensen seem to think the negotiating sides are eyeballing the possibility of approving a new CBA at owners’ meetings shortly after the July 21 date. “If and when the final issues are resolved, the two sides will have closed enough ground in other key areas to have an agreement in principle that the courts, players and owners must ratify. But those steps are expected to occur in the days leading up to, and during, the July 21 owners meetings in Atlanta.”
Despite the unexpected Eighth Circuit ruling today, NFL owners and the NFL Players Association have issued a joint statement on continuing negotiations:
While we respect the court’s decision, today’s ruling does not change our mutual recognition that this matter must be resolved through negotiation. We are committed to our current discussions and reaching a fair agreement that will benefit all parties for years to come and allow for a full 2011 season.
The 8th circuit court has ruled for the NFL owners in the Brady vs NFL case by a 2-1 vote. The decision essentially means that the court has declared the lockout legal and vindicated the owners legal strategy so far. Of course, this is really no surprise as it has been apparent since the court decided the hear the case that it was very likely that they would overturn the lower court’s ruling for the players.
But what does this mean for the actual negotiations? Well, that depends on how much of the reporting about them has been true. Like I said, this decision is no surprise. So it really doesn’t hand the owners any more leverage than they already had. The players would have known they would lose this suit already. So, if the reporting is to be believed and the sides are close to a deal, this ruling really shouldn’t have any effect.
If anything, it’s just another reason to get it done. Especially for the players, who now know for sure that the owners can lock them out and not play them next year if a new deal is not reached.
So now that the court fight is essentially over, all eyes turn back to the negotiations as the sides try to hammer out a deal by next week.
Every year the NFL holds a rookie symposium to help drafted players from that year transition to life in the NFL. With the lockout this year, that was canceled. However, the NFLPA still felt it was valuable and decided to hold a rookie symposium of their own.
The interesting thing is that DeMaurice Smith asked Roger Goodell to speak at the event and the commish agreed to do it. So this morning, Goodell spoke to the rookies in Florida at a symposium, titled “The Business of Football: Rookie Edition.”
Goodell, who traveled down with Smith, will now head back to Minnesota to reconvene negotiations. Obviously there seems to be a new level of trust and a cordial relationship between Smith and Goodell, which can only mean good things for the prospects of a new deal. Back in April and May, the tone of Smith’s comments toward Goodell and the owners was very sharp and a bit angry. Now he’s inviting the commish to speak to his players. That’s a big shift.
Last week, it was reported that there were a few owners that were showing some resistance to the rumored parameters of a new CBA. However, the Washington Post is reporting today that the details of the deal that has been presented to the owners today have been met with very little dissent.
Despite reports of concerns by some owners, it appeared that the level of dissent was relatively modest as the meeting began in a hotel near O’Hare Airport. There was widespread expectation that Goodell would be able to address the group’s reservations and emerge with the authority to finish a deal with the players.
It's good news to hear that the owners appear to approve of the general parameters of the deal, because judging from the details we've seen, there really aren't many reasons why the players shouldn't be ok with the deal.
Just to catch up on a few more of the details that we've gotten recently, The cap is rumored to be somewhere between $141 million to $151 million per team this coming season. Also, players would only need four years of NFL service to become unrestricted free agents. That means that players like Stewart Bradley, whose contract is up and has played four years, will be free to sign anywhere. Under the terms of the last year of the CBA, a player needed six years to get to unrestricted free agency.
The NFL owners and NFLPA have been meeting over the past two weeks in hopes of getting a new collective bargaining agreement done before they reach the point where the 2011 season could be in jeopardy. So far, the reports from these negotiations have been positive, but no details have leaked out… until now.
With all the NFL owners in Chicago for a meeting, reports are now that they are being briefed on some of the parameters that could end up being part of the final CBA that has been talked about with the players over the past two weeks. Here are some of the specific points that the negotiating teams on either side have reportedly agreed to.
Players will get 48 percent of all revenue. Previously, the owners were asking for 1-2 billion dollars off the top before revenue was shared. This is a big win for the players if true. The players’ share will not be allowed dip below 46.5 percent, per the formula that is used to share revenue. Teams will have a salary floor that requires them to spend at least 90-93 percent of the salary cap.
A rookie wage scale seems to be part of deal but is still being hammered out. The 18 game season is not part of the deal, but it will remain an option that can be discussed in the coming years. There will however be a new 16-game Thursday night TV package starting in 2012 that will help grow league-wide revenue and “pay” for part of this new deal.
In addition, owners will get some “expense credits” for funding new stadiums and retired players will see a significant bump in benefits.
Sources are saying that a deal could be done by mid-July, which would allow for a full preseason. Of course, there is still more negotiating to be done and the owners as a group still have to approve this deal.
Arlen Spector, who served Pennsylvania and Philadelphia in the Senate from 1981 to 2011 penned an op-ed piece in the New York Times this weekend detailing his proposal to end the NFL Lockout. Spector says that Congress should leverage its power over the NFL through its anti trust exemption.
To ensure an agreement between the owners and players in time for the 2011 season, Congress should place a special condition on the continuation of the N.F.L.’s antitrust exemption: the owners and players must abide by a settlement procedure known as last-best-offer arbitration. This procedure would require the two sides to negotiate; if an agreement is not reached, each side would make its last best offer and an arbitrator would chose between the two. This arrangement creates an incentive for each side to make the more reasonable offer, lest the arbitrator pick the other side’s.
Specter noted that he tried to do this in the past when the Eagles threatened to move to Phoenix in 1980. He introduced legislation that would have made the exemption conditional on the league not allowing teams that were turning a profit to move. However, he said that NFL lobbyists fought it and got the bill defeated.
Now, the response I would expect people to have here is that "Congress has better things to do!" Which frankly I think is debatable. With the political gridlock not much is getting done anyway and plus overseeing this antitrust exemption is part of their responsibility. In fact, a bill has already been introduced that threatens to strip the NFL of its antitrust exemption. Representative John Conyers (D-MI), who introduced the bill, said, "At a time when the economy is struggling and the NFL has chosen to lock out its players, it is particularly inappropriate to allow the league to benefit from a special antitrust exemption."
That bill was blocked by House judiciary committee chair Lamar Smith (R-TX), who says that the dispute is a "private matter." He's partly right, but when one side has a special congressional anti-trust exemption.... It's not entirely private. In fact, the bill was in response to the ruling that the NFL acted in bad faith in it's TV negotiations, which is exactly what the exemption covers. It allows the NFL to negotiate TV contracts on behalf of all the teams. It would seem like that makes it completely relevant from Congress' standpoint.
In addition, a lost NFL season could have significant economic impact. Specter cites a study that estimates a missed NFL season would cost "$5 billion from lost jobs, decreased spending at local businesses and reduced tax revenue. In addition, billions of dollars in TV revenue and millions of dollars in ticket sales would vanish."
Frankly I'm inclined to agree with Specter here. I'm usually against any government involvement in things like this and generally I still am. However, I think this is a little different. This isn't a bailout or special treatment. In fact, it's quite the opposite. If the NFL's labor dispute is going cost countless numbers of lost jobs and tax revenue, I think it's completely fair to say that they shouldn't be enjoying special anti-trust exemptions from Congress.
ESPN's Adam Schefter is reporting today that some owners are resisting the parameters of a new CBA deal currently being discussed with the players. The deal would bring an end the lockout and restore football for the foreseeable future. According to Schefter, at least two of those owners are from AFC teams.
A handful of NFL owners -- at least two of which are from AFC teams -- believe the parameters of the deal being discussed don't adequately address the original issues the league wanted corrected from the 2006 collective bargaining agreement, according to sources.
So who are they? I think we have to look at the owners that really objected to the last deal and don't run particularly high revenue teams. Mike Brown of the Bengals and Ralph Wilson of the Bills. Those were the only two that voted against the last CBA and have been outspoken in their opposition to it.
Wilson was outspoken in his opposition to the last labor agreement and implied earlier this year that he wasn't even able to break even.
I came into this game 50 years ago because I enjoyed the game of pro football. Not to make money," Wilson told the New York Daily News. "In those days, everybody was hoping to break even. We lost money for a number of years. I am really not into the game to make money, but I would like to break even or make a little. ..
"It's very difficult. We've had a tough time. We've hung in there. Buffalo has lost population and it's a tough go. When I came in the league, it was the 14th largest city in the league. All the corporations moved out of Buffalo. We're doing alright. We will make it, but it's not easy."
Brown also said that the last CBA was a mistake.
It is a very good deal for players. It's good for high-revenue teams," he said. "It's a challenge for low-revenue teams. We didn't feel it was in the best interest of our team financially."
"We don't want other teams' revenues," Brown said. "We merely want them to pay the cost that they export down to us. The league as a whole is further imbalanced (economically.)"
Brown specifically said that the deal was bad for low revenue teams.
Brown said low-revenue teams, such as the Bengals, pay 70% of their revenue toward player costs. High-revenue teams, such as Washington, Dallas, New England and Philadelphia, pay about 40%.
Now I don't claim to have any inside info here, but I'd be willing to bet serious money that one of, if not both of these guys are the unnamed AFC owners that Schefter cites in this report.
The two sides have concluded oral arguments in the appeal of the Brady vs NFL case before the 8th circuit court today. While most legal analysts expect the owners to prevail, one of the three judges, Kermit Bye, warned that neither side will like their ruling and urged them to settle to matter out of court.
W e will take this case and render a decision in due course,” Bye said before making a pointed push for the sides to work out the problem. “We won’t, I might also say, be all that hurt that you’re leaving us out if you should go out and settle the case. But that’s up to you. But we will keep with our business and if that ends up with a decision, it’s probably something both sides are not going to like but at least it will be a decision.”
Bye is the one Clinton appointee on the three judge panel and was the dissenting voice in the courts’ decision to issue stay on a previous ruling that would have ended the lockout. He would seem to be the only judge likely to side with the players, as both of his more conservative colleagues leaned toward the owners in their previous opinion.
If the two sides do resume negotiations, the court could potentially hold off on its ruling if significant progress toward a settlement is being made.
News began to leak out yesterday that a number of influential NFL owners, along with commissioner Roger Goodell held a "secret" unannounced meeting in Chicago. It was late revealed that NFLPA head DeMaurice Smith and federal mediator Arthur Boylan was also in attendance.
The two sides were not scheduled to resume mediation until next Tuesday in Minneapolis. According to the Washington Post, the two sides will continue to talk today. The meetings come ahead of Friday date in the 8th circuit court of appeals, which will hear the owners appeal of the players anti trust lawsuit. It is expected that the 8th circuit will rule in the owners’ favor.
While mediation has yet to yield any results for the two sides, it is significant that they’ve decided to meet without being ordered to by the court. Plus, the presence of DeMaurice Smith is significant. If the 8th circuit court does indeed rule in favor of the owners, which is a decision that likely wouldn’t happen for a few weeks, it would hand the owners significant leverage in the negotiations and set a legal precedent that the players do not want.
Given all that, it would make sense for the players to want to get a deal done before that decision is handed down. Smith’s presence at the unscheduled negotiations could certainly be seen as an indication of his willingness to deal.
At the very least however, this has to be seen as a positive step and hopefully can lead to a deal.
Soon to be free agent Eagles safety Quintin Mikell would like to see the most recent proposal the owners made to the players in an attempt to to come to an agreement on a new CBA. The only problem? The NFLPA doesn't seem to want to show him, the rest of the players or their agents.
He's referring to NFL agent Joe Linta, who recently gave an interview to a Pittsburgh area newspaper blasting the player's association for not allowing him or his players to see the owners' latest proposal. He says that if the players saw the offer, there's a chance they might accept it. So he's going to the owners.
"I'd like to see it myself so when I talk to my 45 guys, I can show them what it is - since there is no union,'' Linta said, referring to the decertification of the NFL Players Association as a union March 11. "I would like (Steelers owner) Mr. Rooney to forward the offer to me. I represent two percent of the union, I'm not insignificant. Let me ask you something, who has the players' back more, the players union or the player's agent? Why can't I get copy of this and disseminate it to my players?"
We've already seen today that David Akers has contacted union leadership to urge them to get a deal done. It could very well be a growing sentiment among players and their agents. Linta says that since 8th circuit court signaled that it's likely to rule against the players on June 3rd, it means the lawsuit route has not really worked and he doesn't seem to get what the NFLPA is hoping to accomplish by continuing litigation.
"Now what? Does the union go to the Supreme Court? That will take until October. It’s over. These guys are driving these players right off a cliff right now."
David Akers has been one of the players joining Michael Vick for informal team workouts in Marlton, and as one of the teams’ union reps, has been filling his teammates in on what’s going on in the ongoing dispute between the owners and players. He told CSNPhilly yesterday that he actually doesn’t think the owners and players are that far apart.
"To me, I don’t think we’re off that much ultimately, in that I think cooler heads need to prevail and sit down and kind of get out of the core system right now and just figure out the best scenario for the owners, the players and obviously the fans who support the entire league," Akers said. "So it’s discouraging right now to kind of be in this limbo not really knowing when the season’s going to start, if it’s going to start, you know, and everything that kind of goes along with it. So I would just hope that cooler heads ultimately prevail right now."
With all due respect to Akers, if the owners and players aren’t that far apart, someone should tell the union leadership. As late as last week, NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith was still branding the owners’ offer as “the worst deal in the history of professional sports.” That sounds pretty far off to me.
The 8th circuit court has finally handed down a ruling on the NFL owner’s request for a permanent stay on Judge Susan Nelson’s ruling against them. Suffice to say, the players aren’t going to like it.
The appellate court granted the NFL a permanent stay of Judge Nelson’ ruling pending a full appeal sometime next month. When the court granted the temporary stay, it seemed only a matter of time before it would issue a permanent one. The vote was 2-1 and the majority opinion had this to say.
In sum, we have serious doubts that the district court had jurisdiction to enjoin the league’s lockout, and accordingly conclude that the league has made a strong showing that it is likely to succeed on the merits," the majority wrote.
This speaks to the exact argument the NFL made to Judge Nelson. They said that she didn’t have jurisdiction in the matter and it should be referred to the National Labor Relations Board, which adjudicates disputes between a union and ownership. She ruled that wasn’t the case.
One of the reasons no one was surprised that Judge Nelson ruled in favor of the players was because of some of the comments she made and questions she asked during the case. It was clear she was leaning toward the players. Which way do you think the 8th circuit is leaning? In this passage, they directly address Judge Nelson’s ruling.
“The district court reasoned that this case does not involve or grow out of a labor dispute because the players no longer are represented by a union,” the majority wrote. “We have considerable doubt about this interpretation … [the Norris-La Guardia Act] does not specify that the employees must be members of a union for the case to involve or grow out of a labor dispute.”
If you read the excerpts I took from Judge Nelson’s ruling, she was impeccable in backing up her understanding of the law. Right there, the 8th circuit just said…. “We disagree.” And in the way our court system works, what the appellate court says is what goes.
This seems pretty simple to me. The players are going to lose. And after the 8th circuit, there’s pretty much no where else to go. So, they might want to think hard about really trying to hammer out a deal in these next couple weeks. Because when the owners win, and I think it’s pretty clear that they will, this is going to set a precedent that the NFLPA, MLBPA, NHLPA and NBAPA don’t want. It may be wise to get a deal done before the 8th circuit hears this case.
The 8th circuit court of appeals has granted the NFL it’s motion for a temporary stay of Judge Susan Nelson’s ruling to the lift the lockout. That means all lockout conditions have been restored for the moment.
Two judges voted for the stay, while one dissented. This is where it gets interesting. Legal experts have warned during this process that the 8th circuit is considered to be rather conservative and is usually pro business and anti labor in a collective bargaining dispute such as this. Basically the opposite of the track record of Judges like Doty and Nelson, who were more pro labor. The NFL has seemingly been wrangling to get this case in front of the 8th circuit all along.
The dissenting judge, Kermit Bye wrote a very strongly worded rebuke of his 8th circuit colleagues. “I am unaware of a general practice in this circuit of resolving requests for stays pending appeal in non-emergency situations in a two-step process”
Bye’s implication is that it’s highly unorthodox for the 8th circuit to make a move like this. The vote went down political lines. Bye, who dissented, is a Clinton appointee, while the two judges who voted for the stay Steven M. Colloton and William Duane Benton, are George W. Bush appointees.
Bye said simply that the NFL had not proven that they were being done irreparable harm by the absence of the lockout.
“The NFL has not persuaded me this is the type of emergency situation which justifies the grant of a temporary stay of the district court’s order pending our decision on a motion for a stay itself.”
For those hoping to an end to his dispute, this is a negative development. Plus, as NFL Network's Albert Breer reports, the same three judge panel that granted the stay are expected to be the same three who will hear the NFL's appeal. If that vote goes along party lines as well, the owners would win, the lockout would be legal and we'd be back at square one.
The NFL has dispatched a “post injunction operations” memo to teams in the wake of Judge Nelson ruling advising them to essentially open for business.
Clubs have been directed to allow players to use team facilities for training, rehab and medical treatment. They are allowed to distribute playbooks and conduct film study sessions. Mandatory and voluntary camps may begin and players may also be involved in team sponsored charity activities.
As of yet, there is no player movement or free agency allowed. However, the NFL said that they will release that information tomorrow. Right here is the full list of what the NFL has told teams is permissible.
The NFL has filed an appeal of Judge Nelson’s ruling with the 8th circuit court and if that court issues a stay on her ruling this could potentially all be reversed. That ruling is expected to come quickly, but if a stay is not granted the NFL will have to proceed with a new league year, which means free agency, trades, basically everything will happen.
According to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, the anti-trust lawsuit currently being pursued by the players union threatens the very fabric of the game. This morning he detailed the potential outcomes of a union victory in a Wall Street Journal Op-Ed piece.
Basically, by dissolving their union and bringing an anti trust suit against the NFL, he says the union has attacked the entire collective bargaining process and everything that comes with it. That includes the draft, salary cap, salary floor, revenue sharing… everything that makes the NFL as competitive as it is. Goodell says the plan would “benefit some star players and their agents” but "virtually everyone else—including the vast majority of players as well as the fans—would suffer. "
By suing to prevent the NFL from collectively bargaining, Goodell says the players are attempting to rid the game of the following things.
The Draft - There would be no draft, players would enter the league as free agents and auction themselves off to the highest bidder. Clearly this is something agents would love to get rid of. In fact, Goodell quotes one agent, Brian Ayrault, as saying “Why should there even be a draft? Players should be able to choose who they work for. Markets should determine the value of all contracts. Competitive balance is a fallacy.” If you want to see Ayrault's full argument against the draft, you can find that here.
No Salary Cap/Floor/Minimum ect - Any team can spend as little or as much as it wants. Big market teams get all the top talent and small market teams get none, plus they don’t even have the draft to restock talent. Players could also be paid as little or as much as they can get. There would be no more “veteran minimum.”
No league wide rules on virtually anything – Each team would get to decide how much or how little they practice. There would be no league wide benefits, teams will decide what if any benefits they want to give to players. There would be no league wide drug testing. Teams can either test or not depending on their preference.
Now, the players would likely say that they have filed this antitrust suit to gain leverage in a collective bargaining negotiation. They’ll say they still want a collectively bargained deal. However, you do have to wonder if they win this lawsuit, whether they may reconsider. With their agents likely 100% behind killing off the current system, they’ll start getting a lot of advice that maybe this really is the way it will go.
It’s a scary thought for sure.
The NFL has released an official statement on the ruling to lift the lockout made by Judge Susan Nelson today. Not surprisingly, they disagree with her decision and plan to appeal.
We will promptly seek a stay from Judge Nelson pending an expedited appeal to the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals. We believe that federal law bars injunctions in labor disputes. We are confident that the Eighth Circuit will agree. But we also believe that this dispute will inevitably end with a collective bargaining agreement, which would be in the best interests of players, clubs and fans. We can reach a fair agreement only if we continue negotiations toward that goal.
The core of the NFL’s argument in the case was that the court didn’t have jurisdiction in this particular matter and should have referred the case to the National Labor Relations board. Judge Nelson clearly disagreed in her decision.
“The minimal, if any, benefit that might be derived from seeking the NLRB’s expertise here is clearly outweighed by the delay involved, particularly where the players are incurring ongoing irreparable harm.”
She also said that she expects that the NLRB would have ruled against them anyway.
“Employees have the right not only to organize as a union but also to refrain from such representation and, as relevant here, to “de-unionize.”
Although the NFL has filed a charge here, the NLRB has yet to issue any complaint and, in this Court’s considered judgment, it is likely that the Board will dismiss the charge."
The NFL will now seek to file an appeal with the 8th circuit court, while also asking for a stay of Nelson’s ruling pending that appeal. They will argue that the court has “primary jurisdiction” which is a doctrine that allows courts to refer cases to special agencies (such as the NLRB) in cases where those agencies have greater expertise.
However, Nelson said in her decision that typically the 8th circuit does not recommend applying this doctrine.
The Eighth Circuit has repeatedly cautioned that the doctrine is to be invoked sparingly, however, as staying the case while the agency addresses or resolves the particular issue within its expertise usually entails substantial delay.
While she is of the mind that the 8th circuit would agree with her decision, this does not mean that they won’t at least hear the appeal. If they do hear the appeal, it is likely that they will quickly issue a stay on her ruling.
ESPN is reporting that US District Court Judge Susan Nelson has ruled in favor of the players and granted their motion for a preliminary injunction lifting the lockout imposed by the owners in March. The ruling could mean that teams would have to open their doors for players to return to offseason workouts and have contact with their coaches. It could also mean that the NFL would have open the free agency period and players trades could resume.
However, the NFL is expected to file an immediate appeal and ask for a stay of the ruling while their appeal is heard. If that is granted, essentially nothing will change from the status quo.
While the ruling would certainly be a win for the players and would seem to give them some leverage, it certainly doesn’t ensure that the season will be played or that an agreement will be struck any time soon. The owners will of course appeal, which will prolong the process, plus the NFL also currently has an unfair labor practices complaint against the players that the National Labor Relations board has yet to rule on. If that decision goes against the players, it would render the dissolving of their union invalid and therefore the court decision that came as a result presumably invalid as well. Essentially we’d be back at square one.
Sports Business Daily is reporting that a group of as many as 70 NFL players could be close to revolting against DeMaurice Smith and the NFLPA by hiring their own lawyer and suing for a seat at the negotiating table. The group is reportedly not looking to stop the current lawsuit, but could be upset with the current strategy of the NFLPA and want the ability to have their own voice during the mediation sessions.
KC Chiefs linebacker Mike Vrabel, who is a plaintiff in the case and a member of the NFPLA executive committee, told ESPN that he’s unaware of any breakaway group and that if the players are unhappy with the job being done by himself and the other union heads, they should elect new ones.
“We all have a seat at the table already. If they’re unhappy, then we should get together and elect a new executive board,” he said.
The report says that if 75 players agree to the breakaway, the law firm they are working with could file for for an intervention before the week is out. We’ve written previously about some of the odd decisions made by DeMaurice Smith and the union heads since the start of the lockout and how they’ve seemingly allowed public sentiment, which was almost unanimously on their side drift to the owners a bit.
ESPN NFL business analyst Andrew Brandt says that he thinks Roger Goodell’s letter to the players may have started this rift.
It seems like there’s a group of players that maybe Commissioner Goodell got to with that letter in his divide and conquer strategy that may be questioning the direction of the union leadership right now. That’s what it appears.
Brandt also says that he expect Judge Nelson to make a ruling on whether to lift the lockout this week.
Much was made of the so called $4 billion "warchest" that the owners had negotiated with the TV networks to ensure that they'd still get paid in the event of a lockout. It gave the owners tremendous leverage over the players, who obviously wouldn't be getting paid if no games were played.
But the players won a major victory when Judge David Doty ruled that the league hadn't negotiated in good faith and potentially left money on the table in order to secure the deal. Now, the players are back in court asking for damages... and they've got Doty again.
Doty, who has often sided with the players, will not be presiding over the hearing which will determine whether whether the players can win an injunction to end the lockout. However, he will get to decide what if any damages the players receive as a result of the NFL's TV deal.
It's just another part of the big game being played here where each side is trying to get an upper hand to strengthen their bargaining position. Certainly a big money judgment for the players in this case would help their cause. If they also won the injunction to end the lockout... the players will really be in the drivers seat.
For a more in-depth explanation of the original ruling, check out our earlier story.
Chargers' LB Kevin Burnett joined XX Sports Radio in San Diego to talk about the ongoing NFL labor dispute and his feelings on commissioner Roger Goodell. In short, he thinks Goodell is a "full of it" and "a blatant liar." If you want to hear more of his thoughts on the commish, check out the full interview on Sports Radio Interviews. What I found very interesting was his response when asked whether he thought there would be a 2011 season?
"It has to be. There's no way that the season could just be missed. ... We're going to miss games. I think there's a great possibility that we do miss games, but I don't know how far into the regular season it goes. It may get to one, maybe two games. I definitely think preseason will be X'ed. I don't know how we're going to put a team together, but it'll be exciting to see what happens."
Who knows how plugged in Burnett is to what the union is up to, but he doesn't seem to have much doubt that games will be missed next year. Until now, even after the talks broke down, both sides have remained optimistic that next season would not be affected.
Obviously, missed games is what could really send fans over the edge. While there's certainly a lot of anger over the dispute, the fact is that it really hasn't deprived fans of much so far. The free agency period has been postponed, which is always a big deal, but the season is still pretty far away. If a deal gets done before players would have been taking the field, I think a lot of fans will quickly forget about the labor dispute... but if this drags on to the point that games are missed, that's not something fans are going to forget.
In response to the players’ de-certifying their union, the NFL owners have imposed a lockout officially starting the league’s first work stoppage in 24 years. The players have filed for an injunction to block the lockout and have brought a class action anti trust lawsuit against the NFL for what they call unfair business practices.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, in an open letter to fans, said that he felt litigation was not the ideal way to get a deal done.
We remain committed to collective bargaining and the federal mediation process until an agreement is reached, and call on the union to return to negotiations immediately. NFL players, clubs, and fans want an agreement. The only place it can be reached is at the bargaining table.
However, NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith implied that negotiation was pointless if the owners would not budge on two key issues for the players.
As businessmen, we asked the owners two years ago to consider two basic tenets to getting a fair deal: financial transparency and the health and safety of our players. Financial transparency would help us reach a compromise. Even until the last moment, we were rebutted. And as for health and safety, that’s a non-negotiable issue. To our players, I will not ever yield on this point. There is no price tag for your arms, legs, backs, necks, shoulders and brains.
As much as we all want to say that the bargaining table is the best place for these issues to be worked out, these two sides have been back and forth on this for two years. For the past 17 days they’ve been in constant discussions and haven’t even come close to a deal. Even the federal mediator George Cohen admitted that there was nothing constructive to be gained by further mediation or negotiation because the sides were simply too entrenched in positions that are too far apart. Despite the optimistic from Goodell and the NFL owners, I’d have to disagree that further negotiation would lead to anything. We just have seen any evidence in two years which shows it to be the case.
So, while the lockout seems like the worst case scenario for fans… we can at least take solace in the fact that by heading to court this dispute is at least on a track to resolution. How long it takes or whether it will cost all or part of next season still remains to be seen.
The NFL has released an official statement on the breakdown of their negotiations with the players. In the statement, they refer to the NFLPA’ decertification as a “sham” and claim that the players have left “a good deal” on the table.
Here is what they say was offered to the players.
“It included an offer to narrow the player compensation gap that existed in the negotiations by splitting the difference; guarantee reallocation of savings from first-round rookies to veterans and retirees without negatively affecting compensation for rounds 2-7; ensure no compensation reduction for veterans; implement new year-round health and safety rules; retain the current 16-4 season format for at least two years with any subsequent changes subject to the approval of the league and union; and establish a new legacy fund for retired players ($82 million contributed by the owners over the next two years).
The union was offered financial disclosure of audited league and club profitability information that is not even shared with the NFL clubs.
The expanded health and safety rules would include a reduction in offseason programs of five weeks (from 14 to nine) and of OTAs (Organized Team Activities) from 14 to 10; significant reductions in the amount of contact in practices; and other changes."
As the NFL’s lead labor counsel Jeff Pash said today “evidently that was not enough.” The players did not offer a counter-proposal and have yet to respond to the owners’ claims.
Multiple sources are reporting that the NFL players union has officially filed the papers the de-certify their union. This means that the NFL has dissolved as a union and can no longer negotiate or bargain on the behalf of the players. The next step is likely for a number of players to file a class action lawsuit against the NFL on anti trust claims. The NFL will counter-sue to prevent the players union from dissolving and could very likely also vote to lockout the players and suspend all business.
As Andrew Brandt just said on ESPN, “It’s out of the hands of negotiators and into the hands of litigators.” There can be no more discussions between the two sides, because the NFLPA no longer exists and can not bargain on the players’ behalf.
Just minutes before today’s 5pm deadline, NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith issued an ultimatum that the owners turn over 10 years of audited financial data before the union agreed to any extension of the deadline or any further negotiations. Smith likely knew that the was the one thing the owners would not do, so minutes later the NFLPA faxed the necessary papers to the court to dissolve their union.
The owners reportedly made “hundreds of millions of dollars” worth of concessions today, but the players made no counter proposals. With conflicting info coming from both sides, it’s tough to know exactly what to believe… but what is clear is that the players simply don’t trust the owners. For the players, any concessions the owners make don’t really mean anything unless they can see the owners books so they know exactly what the financial position of the league is. Of course, almost no private company would agree to fully open their books like that and the NFL is no different. As several people have noted this week, there are owners that don’t even want to open their books to each other… so the chances of them turning over their full books to the players are non-existent.
According to a statement made by federal mediator George Cohen, who had been mediating this dispute, "no constructive purpose can be served by requesting the parties to continue mediation at that this time." He said that the two had failed to come to any consensus on a number of major issues.
The only sure fire winners in the current scenario are the lawyers… who look set to to reap a bounty of billable hours with months of legal battles likely ahead.
With the CBA deadline a mere five minutes away, NFLPA lawyer DeMaurice Smith left the negotiations with the owners and issued the following statement.
“At this time significant differences remain. We informed the owners that if there was going to be a request for an extension that we asked for 10 years of audited financial records to accompany any extension. We told them please let us know by 5pm today. We’re going to head back to the office and I’m sure we’ll have a statement later.”
While Smith didn’t say it specifically, the implication here is that either the NFL gives up 10 years worth of full financial data or the players will de-certify right now. At least according to Smith, it doesn’t appear there will be any more extensions or talks unless that ultimatum is met.
Now there’s always the chance the owners counter-offer to some other time frame of financial statements, or even different financial statements… But as it stands now, the players have laid down an ultimatum to force the owners to do the one thing they’ve steadfastly refused to do.
The guarded optimism of last week seems to have turned into pessimism and sniping as the deadline for a new CBA looms just mere hours away. While, the two sides reportedly have agreed on some points this week it seems now that they're far enough apart on some major issues that a court battle just might be the most likely scenario.
Case in point, check out this exchange on twitter between the spokesmen for the owners and players. The owners' lead counsel Jeff Pash seemed to question the players' commitment to the negations.
I've said it many times — if both sides have an equal commitment to getting this deal done, it will get done. I don't know if both sides have an equal commitment. You've heard plenty of what I've heard as well. If that's the case — if both sides are committed — there's a deal to be made.
So NFLPA spokesman George Atallah shoots back,
"If owners continue to ? players' commitment to negotiations, we're prepared 2 make public all our unanswered proposals."
Ok, that seems reasonable... But then he got a little more nasty after a negotiating session.
I would like to request an expense credit from the owners on the last 3 hours of my life.
Then, NFL spokesman Greg Aiello responds
While George is at it, ask him when is union going to respond to our 150 pages of draft CBA provisions ...
The obvious implication from both sides is that the other doesn't seem to be taking it seriously enough. Atallah thinks the owners wasting time by making the proposals they have, but Aiello sees the players as failing to negotiate by not responding to the owners' proposals.
So close to the doomsday deadline, this isn't the kind of rhetoric you want to be hearing.
While the NFL and NFLPA are still reportedly far apart on some issues, it appears they've found some common ground on at least one issue... taking money from rookies. The NFL has wanted to curb rookie salaries for this entire process and the players don't mind selling out guys that aren't a part of their union yet, so it's not a huge surprise that they've come to an agreement on a new rookie wage scale.
Actually, it's probably the wrong connotation to say that the current players have "sold out" the rookies. There are some advantages to the young guys built in.
First, there will be a roll back in the amount of guaranteed money and signing bonuses offered to the top picks. The tops guys will be making less money when they come into the league. However, first round picks will now be limited to signing four year contracts as opposed to the five or six year deals they previously signed. This has a two pronged effect. For one, the owners are on the hook for less years if the guy is a Jamarcus Russell level bust. However, it also gives the players who do excel a chance to get to free agency earlier. Now, if a team decides it wants to keep a guy, they're going to have to re-do his deal after 3 seasons rather than 4 or 5 as been the case previously.
In addition, everyone picked after the first round can not sign a deal longer than three years. Those players can become restricted free agents after their third year. Again, this gives these guys a chance to get a big contract earlier if they've earned it.
The deal also reportedly involves the owners being allowed to insert more language into contracts which allows them to recoup more signing bonus money from players who run afoul of the law.
The NFL owners and NFL Players Association have agreed to extend the deadline of the CBA expiration for 7 days. This comes just one day after the two sides agreed to push the deadline back 24 hours. Previously, the CBA was set to expire last night.
As we noted earlier, the fact that the sides have agreed to extend the deadline to keep talking is a positive sign that progress is being made. If the general framework for a deal were not coming together, there would be no reason to extend the deadline. These sides have been talking for two years with neither budging, so if there was still no budging the last two days they would never think another week would help. So clearly, there’s been progress.
There’s obviously still major issues to be hammered out, but this extension does appear to be a sign that an agreement could get done sometime in the near future. Sources from both sides told Yahoo! sports writer Michael Silver as much yesterday.
Sources on both sides of the conflict agreed on one basic premise: If enough progress is made that another short-term CBA extension – perhaps a week, perhaps two – is announced by Friday night, the players and owners will almost certainly be headed for a settlement that will result in a multi-year deal before the end of this month.
It should be worth noting that this extension merely allows them more time to negotiate. It does not extend the signing period for players that are currently free agents. So as of now, those players are in a holding pattern and unable to sign anywhere. All the extension means right now is that the sides aren’t giving up and bringing the issue to court, it doesn’t mean it’s business as usual in the NFL.
Following yesterday’s news that the NFL and NFLPA agreed to push the deadline for a new collective bargaining agreement back 24 hours, we’ve got more potentially good news today. SI’s Peter King has tweeted this morning that "serious, significant progress’’ has been made on issues involving the CBA.
According to other reports, the general framework of a deal has started to take shape, but there’s still a lot of major issues to hammer out. It’s not going to happen today. However, according to Michael Silver, if we see yet another extension agreed to, perhaps for a week or two, that’s a strong sign that the two sides feel like a deal is reachable. If another extension is not reach by the day’s end, that means they’ve reached an impasse on something fundamental and the doomsday scenario is the next likely step.
That would involve the owners voting to lock out the players, the players de-certifying their union and filing a class action lawsuit, the owners countersuing and so on… The legal proceedings that would follow are what would threaten the 2011 season.
So don’t expect a deal today, but keep an eye out for another extension. If that happens, it’s very likely that we could be only a few weeks away from a deal.
Finally some positive news on the NFL Lockout front. A new deal may still be weeks or even months away, but it’s still encouraging news that the NFL and the Players Association have agreed to extend the CBA for another 24 hours while the two sides continue negotiating.
There had been speculation that the union would decertify on Thursday ahead of being locked out at midnight Friday morning. But reportedly the NFLPA agreed to the owner’s proposed extension to remain at the table for another day. Eagles fans shouldn’t get their hopes up just yet, as it could still very well be weeks or even months before an agreement is reached. But if nothing else, this news suggests that both parties are indeed serious about coming to terms on a new deal sooner rather than later.
President Obama was asked today whether he would or should intervene in the dispute between the owners and players to prevent the loss of next season. In short, his response was that he hopes they can figure it out themselves because “I’ve got a lot of other stuff to do.”
“You’ve got owners, most of whom are worth close to $1 billion. You’ve got players who are making millions are dollars. My working assumption at a time when people are having to cut back, compromise and worry about making the mortgage and paying for their kids’ college education is that the two parties should be able to work it out without the President of the United States intervening,” President Obama said.
“I’m a big football fan, but I also think for an industry that is making $9 billion a year in revenue, they can figure out how to divide it up in a sensible way and be true to their fans who are the ones who, obviously, allow for all of the money that they are making,” the President continued. “My expectation and hope is that they will resolve it without me intervening, because it turns out I have got a lot of other stuff to do.”
He’s absolutely right. He does have more important stuff to do and they should be able figure this out themselves. It’s absurd that think that President should have to concern himself with solving a dispute between football players and owners.
Albert Breer of NFL.com has confirmed that the NFL owners have formally offered to extend talks past the current midnight deadline. Considering he works for the NFL, it’s probably safe to assume he’s got solid sources. The players however, are looking for concessions from the owners before agreeing to the extension.
On it’s face, it may seem like the players are being petty in the face of a olive branch from the owners, but their demand makes sense. If the owners aren’t willing to budge on anything, then what would be the point of continuing discussions? The players want some sign that there’s hope for movement toward a deal if they’re going to put off de-certification or other measures to fight the lock out.
So while the owners have made a positive gesture here, they’re going to have to do more if they want to stave off of the midnight deadline.
The current collective bargaining agreement between the NFL players and owners ends tonight at at midnight, meaning that if some sort of agreement or extension is not reached the owners could vote to lock out the players starting tomorrow. In all likelihood, the NFLPA would also move to de-certify itself to prevent a lockout at that point.
The two sides have been meeting all week, but little has come out about any progress toward a new deal. The players did win an important judgment over the owners this week, when federal judge David Doty ruled that the owners had not acted in good faith when negotiating their current TV agreement and could bar them from access to the $4 billion in payments the owners were due this year from the TV networks even if there were no football played.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter is reporting that at least three sources have told him that the owners are pushing for an extension of talks between the two sides that would last beyond the midnight deadline. The players however, want concessions from the owners to proceed. An extension would simply mean that the current CBA would last another week or two just so the sides could continue talking without having to make a decision on a lockout or de-certification.
It seems like this thing has just begun. Stay tuned.
One of the key pieces of leverage the NFL owners have held over the NFLPA has been that they get paid no matter whether there is a season or not, while the players get nothing. This advantage came as a result of a deal struck when the NFL negotiated its current TV contracts that required the TV networks to continue paying TV rights even if a season isn't played. The revenue would be upwards of $4 billion dollars. The players meanwhile, would not be paid if they don't play... So the leverage here is clear. The NFL owners are well set up to hold out as long as they need to get the deal they want, while the players are not.
When you consider that this is a lockout, not a strike... it comes across as pretty nefarious. The players are not allowed to play and therefor have no chance to actually earn any real money if there's no football.
The players alleged that in order to secure this deal with the TV networks, the NFL essentially sold their TV rights at a discount. They argue that this is proof that the owners not only started planning to lock out the players years ago, but they violated an earlier agreement in which they promised to deal in good faith to get the maximum amount of revenue possible. If the NFL had purposefully given the networks a discount to convince them to risk paying for football even if there is none, then clearly they would not have been trying to get the highest possible revenue deal they could.
Today, a federal judge agreed with the NFLPA argument. U.S. District Judge David Doty ruled that the NFL owners had violated their good faith agreement with the players.
"The record shows that the NFL undertook contract renegotiations to advance its own interests and harm the interests of the players," he wrote.
He said that the owners "consistently characterized gaining control over labor as a short-term objective and maximizing revenue as a long-term objective ... advancing its negotiating position at the expense of using best efforts to maximize total revenues for the joint benefit of the NFL and the Players."
The players association has asked that the $4 billion in TV revenue that would be paid this year be placed in escrow until a new collective bargaining agreement is made. No hearing has been scheduled to determine any potential damages or injunctions as a result of the ruling.
While the NFL downplayed the ruling, clearly it does weaken their position. If they didn't have this guaranteed revenue in their back pocket, the threat of them possibly canceling the season is all but off the table. From a fan's perspective, anything that diminishes the possibility of no football next year is certainly a good thing.
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