Key factors in the NFL CBA negotiations

I’m in Las Vegas at the Fantasy Sports Trade Association conference and one of the panels yesterday featured former Packer VP Andrew Brandt (current president of the National Football Post) and sports agent Blake Baratz discussing the ongoing collective bargaining agreement negotiations between the NFL and the Players’ Association.

Here are the key points of contention:

1. Share of revenue.
The players currently get 59% of the pie and the owners would like to see that share reduced. This is obviously a contentious issue.

2. An 18-game season.
The NFL wants to expand the regular season by two games while eliminating two preseason games. This would be a boon for the owners since regular season games bring in more revenue than preseason games. For the players, this is a health and safety issue and one concession that the owners could make might be in the area of health benefits and post-career pensions.

3. Guaranteed salaries.
This is not a big deal with regard to established players like Peyton Manning, who is in the midst of negotiating a contract that would make him the highest paid player…ever. Baratz believes that the main issue is with the Top 10 players in the draft. There is a ridiculous amount of money being thrown at unproven players and everyone (outside of the ten young men who will be drafted that early) would like to see that amount of money reduced. Baratz believes that there isn’t much of a difference between an early first round player and a late first round player, yet the monetary difference is huge, and those fat contracts (think JaMarcus Russell or Ryan Leaf) can hamstring a franchise for years if that player doesn’t pan out. However, the two sides won’t necessarily agree on what to do with the money. The veteran players would like to see it spread around the rest of the league while the owners might just want to cut that cost out completely.

4. Health benefits.
This is more important to the rank and file players than the stars who make far more money, but as of March 3, NFL players will have no health benefits. Brandt mentioned a story where one player asked another if he and his wife should plan to induce labor so that the delivery is covered by insurance.

5. Salary cap.
When we headed into the 2010 season without a salary cap, many pundits were worried about how out-of-control owners would spend, spend and spend some more. Instead, we’ve seen the opposite, with teams slashing salary and going under the salary cap floor. The Players’ Association needs that salary floor to keep players’ salaries up, so they’ll no doubt agree to a similar salary cap structure that was found in the previous CBA.

Both men are optimistic about a deal getting done relatively soon, and place the chances of something getting done before training camp at around 90-95%.

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NFL, union clearly have their priorities mixed up

According to, the NFL and union officials are discussing the possibility of adding two games to the regular season.

Teams still would play a total of 20 exhibition games under the proposal. The league would go from four in the preseason and 16 in the regular season to two and 18.

“This is an idea that is really gaining momentum, particularly with the owners,” Green Bay Packers president Mark Murphy said during a conference call.

“Part of it is really providing more value to our fans,” Murphy said. “The quality of our preseason has really deteriorated over time.”

Hey, that’s great. We’ll all enjoy those two extra games if there’s even a freaking season next year.

I find it a little disturbing that the NFL and union are meeting to discuss whether or not to add extra games to the regular season schedule, but aren’t spending that time working on a new collective bargaining agreement so we have a season in 2011. All fans here about is how there is a threat of a lockout looming and these two clowns are wasting time discussing something that won’t even matter if there’s no season. I’d like to think that Roger Goodell would prioritize league matters a little better than this.

Of course, if the two sides are talking about this, maybe they are close to striking a new deal. Because it would be completely and utterly useless to discuss something like this without knowing whether or not there will be football in 2011, right?…Right?…Right?!

Photo from fOTOGLIF

NFL not ready to make decision about OT change

The NFL has decided to table the discussion on whether or not to change the overtime format for regular season games next year. Instead, commissioner Roger Goodell said on Tuesday that he would like to get more feedback from the players before the league makes a significant change like that.


Owners voted in March to change the sudden-death rule for the playoffs. If the team that loses the coin flip immediately gives up a field goal, that team will get a chance to score either to tie or win.

Goodell said owners also discussed upcoming labor negotiations with the players. The current contract expires at the end of the 2010 season.

I’m all for making adjustments to rules in effort to try and better the game (although it’s debatable whether or not changing the current OT format qualifies as “bettering the game”), but the league should prioritize its agendas.

As of this moment, the league is heading for a lockout in 2011. Instead of trying to figure out whether or not to change the overtime rules for the regular season, it would be nice if the league concentrated all of its efforts on signing a new collective bargaining agreement with the player’s union. I get that the league is going to discuss other matters of interest during this time, but all I continue to read about is how there is still “plenty of time” for the two sides to come together. Yet, the fact remains that a lockout is looming.

The NFL should always be about the fans. If there were a lockout next year, then it would destroy the fans. Forget the damn overtime rules and come together on a new deal already.

Photo from fOTOGLIF

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