NFL Labor Negotiations Making Big Progress
The NFL owners and the players met over the past few days in Hull, MA outside of Boston to continue negotiating a new collective bargaining agreement (CBA). At Nantasket Beach Resort, the two sides discussed several points of a new CBA and seemed to lock up some of the more important points and started discussing more minor issues, like a rookie wage scale. It appears that this thing could actually get done in time for training camps and the preseason, as SI’s Peter King believes the over-under date is July 10 for the deal to be completed. Details of the talks and the new CBA are still coming out, but here’s a summarized bullet-point list of what we’ve learned so far:
- The major breakthrough and probably most important part of the new CBA for the players is that they would receive 48% of the total league revenue. Eliminated is the $1 billion off-the-top expenses cut that the owners received. Therefore, any new TV deals and all other revenue gets factored into the players’ cut. Previously, the players received a lump sum from the TV deals.
- Teams would have to spend close to 100% of the salary cap. Smaller market teams are weary of this part of the deal.
- Rookie wage scale
- Breakdown of benefits for retired players
- Players with four years of accrued NFL seasons will become unrestricted free agents. The 2010 rules had these players becoming restricted free agents*
- A proposal has been put out for this year only when free agency begins that teams will have the right-of-first-refusal for three of their own unrestricted free agents. The argument behind this is that due to the lockout, teams did not have the opportunity to negotiate with their own free agents. The players and teams expected to be aggressive once free agency begins are not likely to go for this.
- Another idea to address teams being able to negotiate with their own players would be having a three- or five-day window before free agency begins where teams have that time to negotiate with their own free agents.
- Expanding training camp rosters to around 80 or so players so that coaches can better evaluate the younger players, due to the fact that they have had zero mini-camps to evaluate players. Also, teams are expecting lots of “training camp injuries,” such as pulled hamstrings and such due to the lack of team-supervised workouts and training sessions.
*The new restricted/unrestricted free agent rules affect the Patriots in that S Jarrad Page, who the Pats tendered under the 2010 rules before the lockout, would become an unrestricted free agent. This would lessen the likelihood that he remains with the team.