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 Uncapped Year or New CBA for next season? 
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Post Uncapped Year or New CBA for next season?
I just saw this and it made me laugh:
PFT wrote:
Rumors fly of a postseason strike
Posted by Mike Florio on November 3, 2009 11:30 PM ET
Before we go any farther with this one, we need to point out that the chances of it happening are ridiculously small.

That said, the NFLPA's inability to coax the league into displaying a greater sense of urgency regarding the negotiation of a new labor deal prior to the start of the uncapped year in March 2010 has prompted new rumors that the union is considering the possibility of launching a walkout once the 2009 regular season ends.

The only problem? The Collective Bargaining Agreement plainly states that a strike by the players or a lockout by the owners is not permitted during the term of the deal. And since the deal currently lasts through the current season and the next one, the players simply can't refuse to work.

Of course, they technically can go on strike. But the strike would be illegal, and the players would face multi-million-dollar fines and damage awards, if the action ultimately were to disrupt the postseason and prevented playoff games from occurring.

The mere fact that the rumor is being floated -- not necessarily by union leadership -- speaks to the level of frustration that many of the players currently are feeling. They're now close enough to the uncapped year to see that it's a mirage. With the NFL showing no willingness to finalize a new CBA before the uncapped year arrives, those who are desperate to avoid it have begun the process of throwing reckless ideas against the wall in the hopes of finding something that might stick.

A postseason strike simply won't.

Apart from being illegal, it would be a gigantic public-relations blunder for the players, who instantly would be viewed as villains by a public that has yet to cast blame upon either side.

Still, while it most likely will never happen, the talk is out there. And the talk needs to go away as quickly as it bubbled to the surface.


I've been meaning to talk about this for awhile, but haven't gotten around to it, so I guess I'll just touch upon the subject for the time being. Gene Upshaw sold the players a bill of goods about wanting an uncapped year and declaring that there would never be another salary cap if it ever got to that point. Everyone thought that it would be a free agent frenzy, but they were never told the truth. Since DeMaurice Smith took over following Upshaw's death, he has been honest with the players and now, an uncapped year is the last thing that they want.

I find it funny that the tables have turned and now it's the majority of owners that would welcome an uncapped year instead of the players. While there would be no spending limit for teams, there would also be no salary floor. Dallas, Washington, and a couple of other high revenue teams would exceed the current $128M cap, but most teams would drop below the current $110M or so floor. I wouldn't be surprised to see teams like Tampa, Buffalo, and Jacksonville have payrolls of $50-60M if this happens.

In addition, player benefits such as dependent medical coverage, life insurance, matching 401K's, etc. would end. Players would also need six years in the league to become an UFA instead of four, thus lowering the number of players who could get the "big money". Teams could also designate an extra franchise/transition player. Teams making the playoffs would be limited to the number of free agents they could sign, thus lowering the number of "big money" contracts. If that wasn't enough, since there would be no cap hits, almost every team would unload every bad contract that they have. It's no wonder that the owners would like an uncapped year, while the players hope to avoid it.

At some point, I'll discuss how all this would effect the Lions, but I think they would welcome an uncapped year. For instance, they could easily cut Sims and White, and they wouldn't have a negative cap adjustment for the NLTBE's in the contracts for Stafford, Pettigrew, and Delmas.

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November 4th, 2009, 1:36 am
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Thanks for giving us an introduction to this. It's all very confusing and most journos talk about it like everybody already knows all the details.

However, I just have to say a lot of those things, like losing medical coverage and so forth, would not actually happen. Owners that try do things 'on the cheap' will be punished. Yes, players won't be able to move around as much, but a team that skimps on benefits or salaries won't get the talent, simple as that.

One only need to look at the Lions to see talent is king. For that reason, players will have a lot of bargaining power no matter how it's formalized.

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November 4th, 2009, 9:35 am
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LiaB, you are both right and wrong. 10% of the players (who are the most talented) would benefit from an uncapped year, while the other 90% would suffer. The union and the players are finally realizing this and that's why they want to get a new deal done.

As for the medical benefits, they are 100% paid for by the teams right now. In an uncapped year, they wouldn't go away, but they would be taken out of the players' paychecks just like you and me. Teams would also maintain the 401K accounts for the players, but they would simply stop matching their contributions dollar for dollar.

A couple of weeks ago, DeMaurice Smith offered to sit down with the owners for five days in mid January to hammer out a new CBA. This proposal was refused by the league because they are in no hurry to get a deal done. The union views the deadline as March 2010, while the owners see it as April 2011. Right now, the owners have all the leverage and they are using it to their advantage.

I personally see the main issue as an easy fix. In 2006, the players received 59% of all revenue and they don't want to see that decrease. Prior to that, revenue such as luxury boxes, club seats, stadium naming rights, and a few other things weren't included in the player salary calculation. I think the players should still keep 59% of all revenue, but stadium debt should be deducted from it. The amount of money going to player salaries would decrease, but the union could still say that they're getting 59% of all revenue. It's a win-win.

The other major issue is rookie contracts, but I think the agents are the only ones in favor of keeping it the same. The veterans realize that the money going to the top ten draft picks means less money in their pockets, so they wouldn't have a problem with it and many have said so. Personally, I feel the rookie pool is fine just the way it is. The problem lies with the NLTBEs, high-end incentives, and escalaors that are built into the contracts. Those should be completely eliminated and the 25% rule strictly adhered to. For instance, if those rules applied to Stafford and his rookie pool remained at $3.1M, his six year contract would max out at $30.225M.

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November 4th, 2009, 12:20 pm
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slybri19 wrote:
LiaB, you are both right and wrong. 10% of the players (who are the most talented) would benefit from an uncapped year, while the other 90% would suffer. The union and the players are finally realizing this and that's why they want to get a new deal done.

As for the medical benefits, they are 100% paid for by the teams right now. In an uncapped year, they wouldn't go away, but they would be taken out of the players' paychecks just like you and me. Teams would also maintain the 401K accounts for the players, but they would simply stop matching their contributions dollar for dollar.

A couple of weeks ago, DeMaurice Smith offered to sit down with the owners for five days in mid January to hammer out a new CBA. This proposal was refused by the league because they are in no hurry to get a deal done. The union views the deadline as March 2010, while the owners see it as April 2011. Right now, the owners have all the leverage and they are using it to their advantage.

I personally see the main issue as an easy fix. In 2006, the players received 59% of all revenue and they don't want to see that decrease. Prior to that, revenue such as luxury boxes, club seats, stadium naming rights, and a few other things weren't included in the player salary calculation. I think the players should still keep 59% of all revenue, but stadium debt should be deducted from it. The amount of money going to player salaries would decrease, but the union could still say that they're getting 59% of all revenue. It's a win-win.

The other major issue is rookie contracts, but I think the agents are the only ones in favor of keeping it the same. The veterans realize that the money going to the top ten draft picks means less money in their pockets, so they wouldn't have a problem with it and many have said so. Personally, I feel the rookie pool is fine just the way it is. The problem lies with the NLTBEs, high-end incentives, and escalaors that are built into the contracts. Those should be completely eliminated and the 25% rule strictly adhered to. For instance, if those rules applied to Stafford and his rookie pool remained at $3.1M, his six year contract would max out at $30.225M.


I understand, but what would keep an owner from offering a more robust health care package or other benefits as a way of attracting talent? That happens all the time in the private sector (when there's not a crippling recession), especially when talent is in high demand.

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November 4th, 2009, 12:38 pm
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National Football Post wrote:
Owners pull revenue-sharing plan Union appeals to Special Master to keep program in place. Andrew Brandt

A Decision to Share Less

As we enter the final month of salary cap football in the NFL for what may be a short or long while, something happened this weekend that could shake the uneasy truce between the NFL and the NFL Players Association in their closed-door discussions over a new Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA). The move has the potential to escalate a growing disparity between teams in their revenue, player costs and, in theory, success – or lack of it -- on the field.

The NFL, which has many partners, has informed its most important partner, the NFLPA (union), that once the calendar turns to the 2010 league year in March, the Supplemental Revenue Sharing (SRS) program that promotes competitive balance and helps the lower-revenue clubs will cease.

What happened?

Let’s review. On that fateful day in March 2006, when NFL ownership approved a new CBA, the dominant discussion of the day was not what the players were getting but rather the revenue sharing plan. The late Gene Upshaw, the NFLPA’s executive director at the time, relied on the owners’ preoccupation with the SRS while the labor part of the deal sailed through virtually unnoticed.

The SRS was passed to take money from the top 15 revenue-producing teams and distribute it among the lower tier of teams (nine received funding last season). Those SRS amounts have been a nominal slice of overall revenues yet are responsible for distribution of more than $100 million per year in propping up teams struggling to find new revenue streams and build new stadiums.

Meanwhile, the new CBA passed by a 30-2 vote of ownership. The two opposing votes -- Mike Brown of the Bengals and Ralph Wilson of the Bills -- were seen at the time as contrarian voices in the wilderness, but they soon became the majority opinion as owners exercised an early opt-out in May 2008, terminating the CBA following the 2010 season. And, as per the document, the last year of the CBA --2010 -- will operate without a salary cap.

And, apparently, without the SRS program -- although not without a fight. Immediately after the NFL informed the union that the SRS would be discontinued, the union appealed to the Special Master – the person in charge of interpreting CBA issues. The hearing, scheduled for Tuesday, will determine whether the league has the ability to tie the SRS to the salary cap, meaning neither would be applicable in 2010. The union maintains they are separate issues.

What no SRS means

Why is the union so concerned about continuing the SRS? It’s because that $100M that goes to the lower-revenue clubs can be spent, in theory, on players. It’s a mechanism, like the salary cap, to achieve competitive balance and ensure a system where everyone has a chance. As NFLPA executive George Attalah told the Associated Press, “Revenue sharing helps maintain the 'any given Sunday' dynamic in the NFL.”

That, of course, is in theory. While there is a mandatory minimum in cap spending for each team – around $108M this season -- there is no mandate for teams to spend a designated percentage of revenues on players. In other words, there are no strings attached to the SRS money that designate the money must be spent on players as opposed to other uses.

No cap, less spending?

As I’ve written, the prospect of no salary cap next year is less about teams engaging in profligate spending than about teams not doing enough spending. This is the biggest issue facing the players today. Without a cap, there is no minimum; without a minimum, there is the possibility that a number of teams could roll back next year, using the time to recover from previous bad decisions, a downturn in suite and sponsor sales resulting from the economy and their mounting debt service.

NFL to MLB?

Were that to happen, football could look more like baseball from a player spending point of view. The disparities in team payrolls announced last week were eye opening. While the Yankees had an average player salary of $7.66 million, the Pirates and Padres had average salaries of less than $1M! While the Yankees had a payroll exceeding $200M, the Pirates hovered around $30M!

This enormous disparity is only possible without a cap. The NFL – with a $128M cap this season – will have spending ranges for 2009 from a high of around $155M to a low of around $110M, a spread of about $40M, less than a quarter of the gap between the high and low in baseball.

Absent a cap and SRS, that spread will likely grow. While there may be a couple of NFL owners who spend liberally without the restraint of a cap, there may be another group of owners who will pull back. The payroll disparity will not be anywhere near that of baseball, but it will get bigger.

All part of the negotiation

The proposed elimination of the SRS is strategic. It illustrates an approach of continuing to point out to the union the ill effects of not having a deal in place before next year. The league negotiators have appeared completely unfazed by the prospect of operating without a salary cap and are now ready to pull the plug on a plan that would theoretically provide lower revenue teams more funding to buy players. The league is putting itself in a leveraged position to try and forge a better deal.

The problem

And what’s the problem with the deal they have now? Simply, the NFL believes that player costs – mandated by a floor and ceiling of a salary cap that has risen geometrically in the last five years – are significantly outpacing club revenues and operating costs of running an NFL franchise. The league wants the union to share the risk. To that, the union says, “Show us your books,” and then the quagmire starts anew.

Where will this go?

Tuesday’s decision by the Special Master will have some impact, but the slow negotiating pace of the meetings so far gives us no confidence that 2010 will be played with a salary cap, having all kinds of ramifications for player spending – or lack thereof – and thinning the free-agent pool considerably (more on that later this week).

I’m often asked these questions: Do I think there will be a new CBA negotiated by the end of the 2009 season? No. Do I think there will be a new CBA negotiated by the start of the 2010 league year in March? Better question. Do I think there will be a new CBA by 2011, a year when all bets are off? I’m cautiously optimistic that there will be, yes.

The pulling of the plug on the SRS by the NFL hit the union in the blind side. This is one play of many, perhaps the biggest game of any played prior to next season, when the NFL could look a lot different than it does now.

The owners are really playing hardball now in an attempt to get the union to cave in. I don't know if it's going to work or not, but if there is an uncapped year, the players are going to be furious once they see what happens.

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December 9th, 2009, 11:53 am
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Wow... this is crazy. I can't even speculate... but it could ruin football...

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December 9th, 2009, 12:10 pm
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lightning_in_a_bottle wrote:
I understand, but what would keep an owner from offering a more robust health care package or other benefits as a way of attracting talent? That happens all the time in the private sector (when there's not a crippling recession), especially when talent is in high demand.

That's possible, although I doubt it will happen. Most players want money, plain and simple.

Also, the thing that I think is being overlooked is the fact that some owners don't care if they win or lose. All they care is that their team makes them money (see: Donald Sterling & the LA Clippers). I can see plenty of situations where owners stop spending much money on their teams, and just bank on the profits.

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December 9th, 2009, 5:01 pm
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steensn wrote:
Wow... this is crazy. I can't even speculate... but it could ruin football...


If the worst case happens and no deal is reached this year, I will suffer through 1 season of crap without a cap. If a new deal isnt in place with a Minimum & Maximum Cap (like the current system) by 2011 with a Rookie Cap as well (much lower than current payment to top 10 rookies)....

I will stop supporting football alltogether. It has been my favorite sport since I was 4 years old, but Sports without a cap for competative balance are a joke.

Baseball is a Joke. The Yankees BUYING Trophies is a travesty and makes it not even worth watching.

We should all pray football doesnt go down the same dark hole.


December 9th, 2009, 5:21 pm
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Buying trophies? You do realize this world series was the first in 10 years? They've had the highest payroll for decades, but most of those 27 championships came prior to the 80's.


December 9th, 2009, 7:59 pm
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njroar wrote:
Buying trophies? You do realize this world series was the first in 10 years? They've had the highest payroll for decades, but most of those 27 championships came prior to the 80's.

Exactly what I was thinking. Hell the Tigers are in the top 5-10 in payroll the past few years and they havent won.

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December 9th, 2009, 8:47 pm
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Well, this sucks:
PFT wrote:
Mort: No rookie wage scale until 2012
Posted by Mike Florio on December 20, 2009 11:01 AM ET
Last year at about this time, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell made it clear that college football players with remaining eligibility should not rush into the 2009 draft due to concerns that a rookie wage scale would be adopted for 2010. Goodel said that there would be no change to the current system until 2011 at the earliest.

Now, ESPN's Chris Mortensen reports that a rookie wage scale would not be implemented until 2012 at the earliest.

So if underclassmen are thinking about coming out due to concerns that the windfalls will evaporate in 2011, think again. The big money will still be there.

And Mort made a blunt plea to the players who might give up their last year of eligibility in order to chase money that might not be there if they wait another year: "Do not listen to agents who are scaring you into a rookie wage scale or a rookie cap. . . . Don't let agents deceive you and lie about this rookie wage scale and rookie cap that would affect you into coming out early."

That said, there's still a chance that there won't be football at all in 2011, which means that players drafted under the current rookie payroll structure might not be getting paid at all for possibly a year. So if agents are using that angle to persuade players to give up any remaining eligibility, the agents wouldn't be lying.

Mort also mentioned the possibility that a rookie wage scale would be phased in, which could make any reductions in the amounts currently paid to the players at the top of the draft not sufficiently significant to be the determining factor in whether a player leaves college early in 2011, 2012, etc.

So, the Lions will have to pay a billion dollars or so to their next two top 5 draft picks now. :(

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December 20th, 2009, 12:17 pm
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National Football Post wrote:
Owners will embrace uncapped year

Expect spending on player salaries to drop in 2010. Jack Bechta

The new year represents a new era for the NFL and its players. It will be the first time NFL clubs will go without salary restrictions since 1993, the date the new Collective Bargaining Agreement was put into place. Part of that deal included the removal of the minimum floor teams were required to spend on players.

In 2009, the minimum salary floor for the NFL is about $108 million, which must be spent on players’ salaries. In 2010, if no new deal is struck before the season kicks off and the league has guaranteed income from its multimedia and advertising partners, there’s little incentive for owners to spend money on player salaries. I predict that owners will bring spending down to the $90-million range on average.

Remember, when these triggers were negotiated into the CBA, they were there to incentivize both sides to get a deal done. The cap was put in place to prevent rich big-market teams from buying up the best free agents, a la the Yankees, and buying Super Bowls every year. The minimum floor was put in place to encourage small-market teams, and some of the old guard penny-pinching owners, to contribute to players’ salaries and keep their organizations competitive.

Times have changed! Economics have changed! Fears are gone!

When the 11th-hour deal was struck on the CBA extension, a majority of owners felt it was forced down their throats. But they also knew that labor peace was the most important component for keeping the revenue momentum going.

When they received their first revenue-sharing checks from the league after the new deal, they had, on average, about an $8-million net haircut taken right off the top, even though gross revenues increased significantly. As one seasoned team president put it, “They were pissed!”

The percentage increase to the players’ salary pool meant a direct hit to their bottom line, and they felt it right away. They’ve been groaning about it ever since.

For the first times in years, or maybe ever, the league has seen revenues flattened because of the shaky economy. So owners, especially those with long-term debt on their stadiums, are ready to fight back and pick up cash where they can. The expiration of the floor will bring this opportunity for owners to cut spending and “get some of their money back,” as one GM put it to me.

The fear of giving other teams an advantage on buying up and locking up premium players is gone. Dan Snyder, an agent’s owner, has proven that money does not buy championships. So the tendency will be for owners to not spend aggressively on free agents (if at all) and release highly compensated older players making $4 million or more. If each team reduces its payroll by $20 million on average, $640 million will evaporate from the players’ payroll. This, my friends, is incentive for the players association to get a deal done before next season. I doubt, however, that you’ll see much motivation coming from the owners to do so, despite the best efforts of the commissioner. If I’m only half right, then we’ll still see $320 million evaporate right into the owners’ pockets. Some owners actually have already changed their methods and tightened their wallets, refusing to give their GMs the needed capital to keep and procure the best talent available.

Now, don’t get me wrong. Dan Snyder, Jerry Jones and a handful of others will do their best to field great teams and lock up their top talent -- and they may still spend aggressively. Savvy owners will even look to 2010 as an opportune time to build for the coming years. However, keep in mind that there may be fewer free agents available than any year since 1994.

The one team that may benefit most is the Green Bay Packers. Remember, they don’t have one owner; they’re run in the interest of fielding the best product and using their cash, which they have plenty of, to do so.

Most fans are perceptive enough to know if their teams are spending wisely and sufficiently on players. Owners whose 2010 salary pools dip well below $108 million may find themselves fielding calls and reading emails from disgruntled ticket buyers demanding they get a team worth rooting for.

At the very least, 2010 will prove to be an interesting year in the NFL.

This is pretty much what I've been saying all along. But unlike most people, I honestly believe that there will be a new CBA before the uncapped year begins. I think the players union will cave in and give the owners a deal that they can't refuse before allowing an uncapped year to take place.

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December 23rd, 2009, 12:03 pm
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Quote:
Free-agent status at risk for 212 players
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Associated Press
WASHINGTON -- Miles Austin of Dallas, Brandon Marshall of Denver and six other Pro Bowl picks are among more than 200 NFL players who would lose their status as unrestricted free agents this offseason if the league and its union can't agree on a new labor contract.

According to a list obtained by The Associated Press on Wednesday, there are 212 players who would be considered restricted free agents -- instead of unrestricted -- if there is no salary cap in 2010. There is at least one player from each of the NFL's 32 teams on the list.

In an uncapped year, a player would need at least six years in the NFL, up from the current minimum of four years in the league, to be an unrestricted free agent able to sign with any team.

Pro Bowl linebackers Elvis Dumervil of Denver and DeMeco Ryans of Houston are in the group of potentially affected players, as are starting quarterbacks Kyle Orton of Denver and Jason Campbell of Washington.

The other players announced Tuesday as selections for this season's Pro Bowl who could find themselves missing out on a chance to cash in this offseason are Packers safety Nick Collins, Patriots guard Logan Mankins, Saints guard Jahri Evans and Eagles fullback Leonard Weaver.

In addition to the NFL's sacks leader (Dumervil), and the NFC's leader in yards receiving (Austin), other prominent names on the list include Chargers linebacker Shawne Merriman, Jets receiver Braylon Edwards, Colts safety Antoine Bethea, Dolphins running back Ronnie Brown and Patriots kicker Stephen Gostkowski.

If they lose out on the chance to become unrestricted free agents this offseason, players might not get what they were expecting to be a huge payoff. They also won't have the luxury of moving freely anywhere in the league.

A restricted free agent's old club gets a chance to offer the player a one-year contract at different levels of pay that determine what level of draft-choice compensation the old club would receive for losing the player. And the old club has the right to match any offer another club makes to a restricted free agent.

Other rules changes would go into effect if there is no salary cap in 2010. There would be no minimum or maximum amounts teams could spend on payroll, and each club would get an extra "transition player" tag. A "transition player" must be offered a minimum of the average of the top 10 salaries of the prior season at the player's position or 120 percent of the player's previous year's salary, whichever is greater


http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/news/story?id=4781911

Players are going to get JIPPED!!!

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December 30th, 2009, 3:00 pm
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Why do you think I've been saying that the players don't want an uncapped year? I used to laugh whenever that idiot Upshaw said that they were looking forward to it, since I knew it wasn't true. It's also the primary reason why I think a deal will get done. The players will put pressure on the union and they will cave into most of the owner's demands. It would be in the owner's best interests to accept it since I don't think the same offer will be there in 2011. It will be interesting to see what happens.

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December 30th, 2009, 3:33 pm
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I heard on Sirius NFL Radio today that the "Drop Dead Date" is March 4. If there isn't a deal by then, there won't be one.


January 1st, 2010, 2:43 am
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