Goodell wants NFLPA to return to the bargaining table

Roger Goodell, commissioner of the National Football League (NFL), makes a statement after negotiations collapsed between the NFL and National Football League Players’ Association (NFLPA) in Washington March 11, 2011. The last real hope for a quick end to the dispute ended when the union representing the players (NFLPA) filed a court application to dissolve itself after failing to reach an agreement with league and owners over a range of issues. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts (UNITED STATES – Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL EMPLOYMENT BUSINESS)

According to a report by, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has sent a letter to all players encouraging them to return the bargaining table to conclude a new bargaining agreement.

“We want you to understand the offer that we made to the NFLPA,” Goodell wrote. “The proposal was made to avoid a work stoppage. Each passing day puts our game and our shared economics further at risk. We believe the offer presented a strong and fair basis for continuing negotiations, allowing the new league year and free agency to begin, and growing our game in the years to come.”

Goodell then summarizes the key elements of the proposal: maximum salary and benefits per team of $141 million per club in 2011, with maximum salary and benefits per team of $161 million in 2014; free agency for players with four or more accrued season; reduced draft-choice compensation for restricted free agents; extensive changes in offseason workouts; reduction of preseason and regular-season padded practices; increased days off; retention of the 16-game season through 2012 with no change to 18 games without the players’ agreement; expanded injury guarantees, with up to $1 million in the year after an injury occurs; continuing medical coverage for life; immediate increases in pension for pre-1993 players; a new rookie wage scale that would make $300 million per draft class available for veteran pay and player benefits; abd external arbitration of all drug and steroids appeals.

If the players were smart, they would return to the bargaining table because going through the courts will only make the situation messier than it already is. The two sides need to keep the lines of communication open, learn how to compromise, agree to a new deal and go back to gauging the fans for billions of dollars.

That said, Goodell’s words will probably fall on deaf ears. Chargers’ linebacker Kevin Burnett recently called Goodell a “blatant liar” on a San Diego radio station and questioned what the commissioner has done to improve the league. I would imagine that other players share Burnett’s point of view and thus, the NFLPA will stay the course (which means going through the court system instead of heading back to the bargaining table).

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