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 Uncapped Year or New CBA for next season? 
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Commissioner of the NFL – Roger Goodell
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PFT wrote:
League's lockout fund will dwarf player reserves
Posted by Mike Florio on January 2, 2010 10:30 AM ET
One of the balances we routinely strike in these parts relates to keeping the audience informed and being unduly repetitive. Sometimes, we fail by mentioning things too often. (And we currently can hear some of you muttering, "Rooney Rule.") Other times, it's important to revisit a concept we've previously explained.

So here's one that goes back more than nine months -- and that has become more significant in the interim.

After DirecTV committed to paying the NFL $1 billion per year under a contract extension inked in March 2009, Peter King of SI.com explained that the league will receive that money in 2011, even if there's no football.

Since then, the NFL has negotiated extensions with FOX, CBS, and NBC through 2013. We're told that in each of those deals -- and in the Monday Night Football contract with ESPN that already went through 2013 -- the league gets to keep all television money in 2011, even if there are no televised games.

Based on our rough estimations, this gives the NFL a strike fund for 2011 in the neighborhood of $4 billion.

As of September 2008, the players were believed to have a strike fund of $128 million.

With no player costs, NFL owners will actually make more money in 2011 by not playing football. And guys like Cowboys owner Jerry Jones will have no trouble making their periodic debt payments.

But here's the catch. The networks would get their money back by paying less for the privilege of televising pro football in 2012 and beyond.

And that would serve only to complicate any financial deal that the ultimately gets done between the league and the NFLPA, since the NFL eventually would be paying back the $4 billion via reduced payouts in future years.

Regardless, the owners are far better prepared to absorb a work stoppage than the players, and hopefully the players will realize this before it's too late, for everyone.

It's just another reason why I think the players union will cave in. They can't win this fight and they know it.

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January 2nd, 2010, 2:27 pm
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Here's more:
PFT wrote:
Union leaks memo regarding ownership proposals, warns of lockout
Posted by Mike Florio on January 4, 2010 11:07 AM ET
The league and the players union previously had agreed to stay silent regarding the terms of the ongoing CBA negotiations.

It was fun while it lasted. (Actually, it wasn't fun. We thrive on folks blabbing.)

Someone from the players' side of the table has leaked to ESPN's Chris Mortensen a memo from NFLPA Executive Director De Smith outlining the terms that the league hopes to include in a new labor deal.

And the goal of the leak is obvious. The union believes (or is pretending to believe) that a lockout is coming, and so the union is continuing with its effort to get the fans and the media to side with the players in the ongoing wrestling match between two fat kids over the last slice of deep-dish pizza.

According to the memo, the proposal includes a rookie wage cap that would become effective immediately, despite past reports that any changes to the current structure wouldn't be implemented until 2012. (In other words, those agents whom Mort previously said were lying might not have been lying, after all.)

The league also wants an 18-percent "give back" in the first year of the deal, which would equate to $2.5 billion in credits. Per the report, the union believes that this measure isn't necessary, based on estimates that owners spent only 51 percent of total revenues on player costs in 2009.

Moreover, the NFL wants to implement pin-prick blood testing for Human Growth Hormone, and the league hopes to replace the current defined benefit retirement plan with a defined contribution plan, an approach that the league applied last year to coaches -- and that the league believes (accurately or not) reflects the current customs of American industry.

The memo indicates that there has been no proposal, yet, for an extension of the regular season.

The news comes a day before the two sides are due to meet again to work toward a deal, for the first time in 2010.

But Smith doesn't think that the league wants to make a deal.

"[T]he message I first brought you nearly a year ago remains the same," Smith wrote to the league's player representatives. "This is not about CBA negotiation, it is about one side preparing for a lockout since late 2007."

We've believed in the past that the league has been bluffing about a lockout. If so, the union has firmly called the bluff -- and we're hoping that both sides realize that everyone will lose if an acceptable and fair deal isn't worked out.

And in this regard we call on the owners to be truly fair to the guys who make the game what it is. The current problem arose, in our view, because the union forced a bad deal on the league in 2006. So if the league now insists not only on evening the playing field but also on exacting revenge by forcing a bad deal on the players, the next time the CBA is approaching expiration the players will be preparing not to be locked out, but to strike.

So work it out, guys. If there's a lockout, we'll take no sides. Instead, in our minds, you'll both be going to hell.

I bolded what I felt were the important parts. First, that would be great news if a rookie cap was implemented immediately. Also, Mort said on Sportscenter this morning that there might be a rookie cap this year even if there isn't a new CBA since both the owners and union seem to want it.

Secondly, if the owners want a 18% "give-back", they're not going to get it and there actually could be a lockout in 2011. I could see 10% spread out over the first 3-4 years of the agreement, but that's simply too much. I know that the owners got swindled by the players in 2006, but they don't need to do the same thing back to them out of revenge. C'mon now.

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January 4th, 2010, 12:58 pm
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This doesn't sound promising:
PFT wrote:
John Mara talks about lack of CBA progress
Posted by Mike Florio on January 19, 2010 11:07 PM ET
Giants co-owner John Mara, risking a six-figure fine for commenting on the league's labor negotiations, has decide to talk publicly about the status of the discussions.

"I don't think we're making any progress," Mara told Judy Battista of the New York Times. "We made a proposal in early November. I don't think we've received a meaningful counterproposal. The point that we try to make to them is that the costs and risks are much greater than they ever have been. Especially in this economy. I don't think there has been enough of a recognition on their part of that concept. . . . They want a deal that is equal to or better than the existing one, and that is not acceptable to us."

Mara's reference to the costs and the risks and the economy arguably bolsters the notion that the owners should open up their books to the union. Such comments ultimately could fuel a legal challenge by the players to force the teams to share their financial information.

Though Mara admitted that he's "frustrated" by the failure to move toward a deal, we're not sure that any of the owners should be expressing emotions other than resolve. And if the comments of Cowboys owner Jerry Jones from September 4 were sufficient to trigger a $100,000 penalty, there's a chance that Mara might be in line for a similar sanction, too.

Either way, Mara says he's resigned to the fact that 2010 will unfold without a salary cap.

And as we've previously explained (and undoubtedly will revisit soon), the lack of a cap won't be nearly as good for the players as the players have long presumed it will be.

The player's union is crazy if they don't yield on the part I put in bolded text. They fleeced the league during the 2006 CBA negotiations and there is zero chance that the owners will agree to anything that doesn't decrease the players' percentage of total revenue

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January 20th, 2010, 1:19 pm
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Players are getting greedy...

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January 20th, 2010, 1:25 pm
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The best part was when he referenced "these economic times." That is a joke and insult to the fans that keep this league running and allow these players to get paid to play a game.


January 20th, 2010, 6:00 pm
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Same old story...the little guys get rolled over by the fat cats, and the fat cats use the media to make the little guys seem like the bad ones. It happens everywhere else in our society so why not the NFL?

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January 21st, 2010, 2:11 am
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lightning_in_a_bottle wrote:
Same old story...the little guys get rolled over by the fat cats, and the fat cats use the media to make the little guys seem like the bad ones. It happens everywhere else in our society so why not the NFL?

Wow, really? Who exactly are the "little guys" getting rolled in the NFL? The millionaire players or the billionaire owners? :roll:

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January 21st, 2010, 10:07 am
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Touchdown Jesus wrote:
lightning_in_a_bottle wrote:
Same old story...the little guys get rolled over by the fat cats, and the fat cats use the media to make the little guys seem like the bad ones. It happens everywhere else in our society so why not the NFL?

Wow, really? Who exactly are the "little guys" getting rolled in the NFL? The millionaire players or the billionaire owners? :roll:


The players. Not all of them earn Stafford-sized checks, the span of an NFL career is short and getting shorter, and it involves an enormous amount of physical risk. Plus, if there are boatloads of money being made, shouldn't the people most responsible for the product be disproportionately rewarded? I think so.

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January 21st, 2010, 2:57 pm
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LIAB, the problem is that the owners signed a very bad agreement back in 2006. That's why they opted out of it two years early. Now, they're attempting to get player compensation back to a realistic level, but the union doesn't want any part of it. I normally side with the players about these things, but not in this case. The 59.5% share of total revenue isn't sustainable, especially in a poor economy, and some owners are actually losing money because of it. I know it's difficult to believe that NFL teams could lose money, but Seattle and Oakland did last year, and the Lions did the two years before that.

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January 21st, 2010, 3:30 pm
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It is really amazing that the owners would opt out of a contract they thought was bad for them and the players union feel that they deserve an even better one that the owners just got out of ahead of time. Are they that asinine?

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January 21st, 2010, 3:43 pm
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PFT wrote:
Goodell says uncapped year is "virtually certain"
Posted by Mike Florio on February 1, 2010 1:09 AM ET
With a March 5 deadline for getting a new labor agreement negotiated in order to avoid a season without a salary cap, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell acknowledged on Sunday night the reality that the 17-year-old device for preventing the big market/small market disparity that has ruined baseball will be going away, at least for a year.

Goodell told NFL Network's Rich Eisen that a year without a salary cap is "virtually certain."

"The real core message here is that we all want to get a fair agreement, for the players, for the owners, to allow the game to continue to grow," Goodell said. "There are conversations going on, that's a positive step. But we're all frustrated there's not more progress."

There seems to be little frustration regarding the disappearance of the spending limit, and the corresponding evaporation of the spending minimum. Other limitations will apply in order to prevent a Red Sox-Yankees domination of the player-acquisition market, such as six years of service to qualify for free agency and the "final eight plan," which will limit the ability of the teams appearing in the divisional round to sign unrestricted free agents.

But there seems to be a consensus that the long-term interests of the league are best served by the presence of a salary cap. In years past, the late Gene Upshaw vowed that, if the cap went away, it would never return. This time around, the union has not suggested a desire to operate without a cap -- since to do so would mean the permanent absence of the spending floor.

And given that a spread of nearly $20 million exists between the minimum and the maximum, one prudent course of action for the union would be to tighten the gap, pushing the floor closer to the ceiling. Such a move would pump more money into the system, for the benefit of all players.

Still, with no urgency to get a deal done before March 2010, the eleventh hour has now been shifted to early 2011. Basically, then, we'll see more preening and posturing until the moment that the two sides get serious about doing a deal -- and that moment is still at least 12 months away.

I've pretty much come to that conclusion myself. I thought that the union would cave since they can't win, but I guess not.

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February 1st, 2010, 12:37 pm
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The NFLPA is a joke. They are worse than the UAW of the early 90s. The NFL teams cannot sustain profitability and allow for better facilities, trainers, etc. if they give even more to the players.

I agree with the players on certain things. There should be better retirement and advanced health care for players who have hung 'em up and are now suffering through injuries sustained while playing. They should have access to the best doctors and medical treatment....provided they do what those doctors advise them to.....not go out drinking and falling down after hip replacement surgery.

But the players wanting an increase of their share is born of absolute greed. Without the owners, they'd have no chance of making the money they do. And before any of you say that the NFL would be no place without the players, I need only direct you to college football.

The players AND owners need to understand that NOTHING happens without fans going to see them, or watching them on TV. Poll the fans, see what they think. I think they'd find that the fans are in agreement with the idea that:

A rookie salary cap absolutely needs to happen. Without it, there will truly not be league parity. Teams picking in the top five are hamstrung by contracts, whether that player works out or not. It is rare for players to earn as much as, or more, than their rookie deals in the top five picks.

Players are a tad overcompensated at this point, versus the overall revenue generated for the league. While the players are the ones who risk their bodies, it is the owners who risk everything else. It is the owners who eat coaching contracts, many times because the players aren't doing their jobs, not because the coach is all that bad....but somebody has to be the scapegoat. It is the owners who have to pay an ENORMOUS amount to baby these players, provide travel, provide meals, provide all the support staff....literally hundreds per team. Even those players who make the league minimum are better compensated than a vast majority of working class men and women in America. So excuse me if I don't empathize with their "plight".


February 1st, 2010, 9:36 pm
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THis can only be bad in general for football. WTG Greed.

The Players are going to end up fudge, because they were misled. Sucks for them.


February 1st, 2010, 9:47 pm
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As I've said before, the problem is that the owners got raped by the players during the 2006 CBA negotiations. Look at it this way: the salary cap was $85M in 2005, but rose to $128M last year. That's a total of $43M per team or $1.376 BILLION combined in increased player costs. That is not sustainable. Until the players realize this, these negotiations are going nowhere.

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February 1st, 2010, 11:27 pm
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PFT wrote:
Post-salary cap, teams will proceed at their own peril
Posted by Mike Florio on February 1, 2010 11:00 PM ET
We've received several questions over the past few weeks regarding the operation of player contracts after the evaporation of the salary cap.

And the answer to all questions is simple -- once the cap goes away, any further rules relating to the operation of the salary cap will hinge upon the collective bargaining process.

As NFL spokesman Greg Aiello explains it, there will be no "transition rules" unless and until the league and the NFLPA agree to such measures via collective bargaining. Thus, any team that decides to sign players to big-money deals will be assuming that risk that, eventually, they'll have to scramble for cap space, if/when a cap is reapplied.

This reality could cause some teams to be even more cautious when it comes to spending money in 2010.

Meanwhile, existing contracts can be dumped by trading or cutting players with no cap consequences in 2010. Presumably, there would be no lingering ramifications in future years covered by the deals, subject again to the collective bargaining process.

So, basically, the removal of the salary cap will plunge the entire player payroll system into uncertainty, and there will be no clear answers until the league and the union reach an accord regarding the next compensation scheme.

I'm sorry, but this is going to be a long, boring post since there's so much to talk about here.

First of all, I'm quite sure that there will be a salary cap in place whenever a new CBA is agreed to in 2011, 2012, or whenever. It may not have the same rules as the current agreement, but there will be one. The decision about what to do about contracts signed or terminated during the uncapped year will just be another issue between the owners and the union.

I can tell you right now that the union won't want signing bonuses from contracts signed this year to be prorated. They also won't want teams to have dead money from any players released this year either. Both of those things would take money away from future cap space and will leave teams with less to spend.

The NFL will argue that not accounting for that money would upset the competitive balance. For instance, if the uncapped year becomes a free for all with teams like Dallas and Washington who have cash on hand, it would give them a salary cap advantage in the future. What's to stop them from signing players this year to 5 year, $25M contracts with a $20M signing bonus and annual salaries of $1M? Those players would get $21M this year, but only count $1M per year toward any future cap. Most teams don't have the cash flow to structure contracts this way, so they wouldn't be able to compete with the high spenders.

This brings up another problem and I have no doubt that Snyder and Jones have thought about it. They could restructure the deals of players they currently have under contract to take advantage of the uncapped year. For example, Dallas could give Ware a $15M bonus and reduce his salaries by $3M over the next 5 years. How is that fair since it's an attempt to circumvent the system? Once again, it's a cash flow problem between the have and have nots.

My guess is that this is going to be another give and take issue between the NFL and the players. The league will probably allow dead money to just vanish, but they won't stand for any shady contracts signed or restructured during the uncapped year. They may agree to treat 25% of any bonuses as a roster bonus, but the remaining 75% would have to be prorated over the life of the contract or something like that. That would seem to be a middle ground to me.

Another issue which could help or hurt the Lions are the salary cap adjustments. These can take many forms, but the most common are the NLTBE or log bonuses given to highly drafted rookies. Stafford had a $9.105M log bonus, while Pettigrew probably had one around $2M and Delmas may have had one around $1M. If this year had a salary cap, the Lions would have taken a $12M negative cap adjustment before the league year even began. It doesn't matter now, but will the new CBA push those adjustments into the 2011 season? For the Lions' sake, I hope they don't, but that will be yet another issue between the owners and the union.

That's it for now, but I'd imagine that I'll come up with a ton of other crap about this soon. It's not good no matter how you look at it.

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February 2nd, 2010, 1:22 am
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