CBA Negotiations Falling Apart


Most of the NFL fans are about done with CBA negotiations, talk of 18 game schedules, 9 billion dollar revenue pots, and just about anything else that is going on between the NFL and NFLPA.  I have to say, that I’m getting tired of finding there is only that to cover when I should be writing about the Dolphins new free agent additions.  After a week of mediated negotiations ended in a 24 to 7 day extension, it has become clear that both sides are simply not going to get this done, and in my opinion, the NFLPA is to blame.

The NFLPA is simply allowing these negotiations to fall apart.  They have stepped over the “gag” rule that mediator George Cohen asked to be observed and now info keeps finding it’s way into the media.  NFLPA head man De’Maurice Smith has taken to the podium to say exactly what he thinks needs to get done before the union files for desertification and takes the league to court.

Yesterday, Smith announced that there was no way that the NFLPA would agree to an 18 game schedule which the owners proposed to bring in more revenue.  The players offered 2 more playoff games instead.  Smith is standing his ground on this as the players do not want to play two more regular season games.  O.k. fine, but is that something that really needs to be broadcast outside of the mediated room?

It also came to light that the two sides have agreed in principal on a rookie wage scale that is not being denied as of yet by the NFLPA but the heart of the entire negotiations lies with the split of 9 billion in revenue.  The NFLPA wants the NFL to open their books and while the NFL is doing some of that, the NFLPA says it’s not doing enough.  In the event of desertification and subsequent litigation, the NFL would have to open their books for the courts.

Smith said yesterday that the NFL has reduced it’s demand from taking an additional one billion off the top and instead are asking for 800 million.  The NFLPA of course says no.  They want .50 cents on the dollar which it’s reported is less than what they are currently getting from the last CBA.  In other words, the two sides are so far apart right now that the chances of getting a deal done by tomorrow’s extension deadline is nil.

The NFLPA has also asked US District Court Judge David Doty to open the information from last weeks judgement regarding the NFL’s “Television insurance” ruling.  That ruling stated that the NFL acted unlawfully in setting up TV revenue in the event of a lockout.  Judge Doty said that the NFL was out of line in doing so.  The ruling was the biggest asset for the NFLPA heading into negotiations.

While both sides are apparently still meeting in Washington, D.C. it is growing more and more likely that the NFLPA will cease to exist come Saturday and a contingent of three NFL players, Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, and Drew Brees will file an anti-trust lawsuit against the NFL and it’s owners within the next week or two.

Desertification of the union will mean that the NFL can not lockout it’s players as they are seen as single businesses and working together under rules would be a violation of federal anti-trust laws.  It’s uncertain how the NFL season would progress from there but players would still be able to workout a team facilities and there is some speculation that a free agency period could still take place although it’s doubtful.

Litigation is likely to last well through the summer months and the season itself could be in jeopardy as there would be no union to negotiate with throughout the summer.  The same thing happened following the 1987 players strike that resulted in litigation leading to the current free agency system in place.  Remember “Plan B free agency”?

All eyes, and most of the national media it appears, are staring directly at the Federal Commission on Mediation offices in DC.  It was reported today that many members of the NFLPA Union player reps are at today’s meetings and so are many of the NFL’s big player owners, including Jerry Richardson of Carolina and Jerry Jones of Dallas.

The deal will either get done or will fall apart quickly.  Stay tuned!

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Tags: CBA DeMaurice Smith George Cohen NFL NFLPA

  • fins4ever1

    Frome everything I have heard is that the NFLPA would have an advantage in court due to the first ruled already made. I don’t see any reason they would be motivated to negotiate with the owners.

    Someone help me understand. If a player signs a contract for 3 mil a year, how does the owners revenue split affect him? Do the players get a bonus based on revenue? Does part of thei 9 billion they are bickering about go to the union themselves? I don’t get it. As a player you are getting paid what you agreed to. Why the fuss?

  • Brian Miller

    Thats what I don’t get either but I think it has to do with alloted cap money. For example, in a capped year, the NFL must spend at least 80 – 85 percent of the cap so players will receive more. In addition, there is money alloted to the NFLPA for year end performance bonuses and that kind of thing as well as money going to retired players as well. So like you, I’m not sure how that directly affects player X who signed a 3 million dollar deal.

  • Fish Out Of Water

    I don’t see how anyone can blame the NFLPA, especially you! If you had a collaborative partner ship with another company, let’s say you provide the labor while they provide the marketing and advertising, what would you think if that partner came to you and said this isn’t working I need more of a % from our agreed deal? Are you gonna say “Sure happy to do it” and take money out of your pocket, say “not a snowballs chance” and dissolve the partnership, or will you ask them to explain to you why and you will consider it? The later is what the NFLPA is doing, and the first response is what the NFL wants the NFLPA to do. Ridiculous! Remember the players are players and the owners are business people. Business philosophy has never been based on altruistic principles. Business thrives by the simple understanding that the other person is going to negotiate the best deal they can get, and that is what keeps the market balanced. There is no fairness clause! There is no meter that lets you know when you have enough in the till! The goal of business is to create revenue and increase profit. This is exactly why the owners do not want to show their books, because they then could lose any leverage they have with making up whatever story they want to justify their stance that the NFL business model won’t work. This situation squarely falls on the owners’ shoulders! They are to blame for this, not the players who take on way more risk than the owners.

    • AB

      @Fish Out Of Water

      What you fail to see about the situation is the following. When the CBA that expired was created, times were different. The value of the dollar was much higher and the cost of business was a lot lower.

      Now, with the value of the dollar hitting the toilet through inflation, and the costs of everything skyrocketing all over the place, the owners need more of the revenue just to keep up with their costs. Stadiums need to be maintained and upgraded, etc. The owners are risking their money and financial lives for this business, not to mention all the money that they give up having to pay all the taxea that they do. Why shouldn’t they get more of the reward for all the risk that they take?

      I’m with the owners on this one, but I think a compromise could be made. Why not add 2 more games, an extra bye week, and 10 extra players to each squad, while keeping the practice squad as is.

      Seriously, these players are starting to annoy me with all their whining. Football players know what they are doing to themselves and their bodies. The vast majority of them have been playing the game for most of their lives.

      Just my 2 cents.

  • Fish Out Of Water

    Here’s a suggestion…come up with a standardized payment system for players based on tenure. Then give incentive clauses for rewarding performance. This ensures the players who perform and make the league great get paid what they deserve every year, which will always motivate players to play harder and better making the game better, while the Albert Haynesworths and Jimarcus Russells of the league get what they deserve, nothing. This would also free up hundreds of millions that go to the agents. No need to have agents if compensation is already determined. So no more snakes hanging around the college game. This would also make the owners happy because they no longer have to overpay for some slacker who isn’t cutting it. You just need to figure out a couple items like how to measure a salary cap (base it on the incentive pay of your players, if you know what you will have to pay a player for next year because of how they performed you can decide if you will keep him or not) and how to manage free agency (incentive salary cap will ensure there are players coming into the free agency market every year, so there would be plenty of mobility. No more BS franchise and transition tags). Solve those and you have a solution to this whole frick’n mess. Let’s get some of the purity back into the game! Get rid of the elements that make the game suck and create situation like the one we have now.

  • Pingback: NFL Lockout: So Much For The 18 Game Season Being ‘A Done Deal’ – Stampede Blue :3w

  • Brian Miller

    I agree with your second post about rewarding players who outperform their contracts or are deserving of more. As for siding with the owners on this, it’s easy to me to do so. Show me any company in this world who you can go to and demand them to open their books so you can see if they are paying you what they can really afford? Show me any company that makes the players pay for work environment improvements?

    The NFL players do not pay for the renovations or additions to the locker rooms at training facilities. I have been to Miami’s several times and man I can tell you that workout facility is state of the art with a ton of player amenities. They don’t pay for that, the owner does. The players don’t pay for upkeep on the field of the stadium, or the renovations to older stadiums that need repairs. They have stadium locker rooms that are incredible and are basically catered to their every whim.

    Now look at the health insurance that the league pays for their players and their families, it’s a very very good plan and the players don’t pay much into that if anything.

    The NFL provides a lot of stuff to the players and that comes out of the revenues generated and from that 9 billion. Then they have to go out and basically bid on the services and have to eat guaranteed contracts that players don’t follow through on. Albert Haynesworth, Pat White, etc… The owners have a choice as to whether or not they pay those prices but let’s face facts here, the agents have driven up that market and the pressure to produce a winner on the field supports that. Bust a pick in the first two rounds of a draft and your set back financially and as a team. The players don’t care that you invested a ton of money on them. They get paid regardless of their performance on the field.

    So yes, I do think that the owners who are the only ones investing in their franchises should make more money off the top and the players should take a cut in some way from what they are demanding. It’s the players’ demands that will ruin the game, not the owners wanting another billion to divide among 32 teams. Let’s not assume that it’s 9 billion per team we are talking about here.

  • Ranadicus

    What I’m getting tired of is seeing the $9 Billion revenue number thrown around in a sadly transparent attempt (to anybody paying attention anyway) at making the owners look greedy for wanting more money. Divide that money among 32 teams and you get $281 million per team. This is before taxes take about half of it (maybe more depending what state the team is in) and the salary cap takes about 90% of the rest. Throw in all the other expenses associated with owning a team and I can see where the owners are coming from. If you ask me, the biggest issue keeping the sides apart is out of control taxes. Cut taxes by even 10-15% and we’d have a CBA already.

  • Brian Miller

    AB brings up a good point here. The players know what they are putting their bodies through and what can happen down the road. While there are some who simply play because they absolutely love the game, most I would assume wouldn’t play if they didn’t get paid like they do. I hate how a player suddenly whines because his knees hurt every morning after he has been away from the game for several years, guess what, it’s called getting old and they know what the costs are going to be.

    As a paramedic, I get paid a helluva lot less to put myself through a helluva lot more. Yeah, I ache every morning from lifting patients who weigh as much an NFL lineman and I also have to worry about catching some disease and then exposing it to my family. So I don’t want to hear them cry about how their bodies hurt as they get older. At least they are getting paid well for it. Even at minimum they are getting paid around 200 grand a year, with all the benefits as well.

  • Ag

    It’s decertification not desertification! Really? Ur a journalist?

  • Brian Miller

    yes, I know, it was the stupid spell check that auto changed it.

  • Brian Miller

    Oh, and I think it’s “You are” or “you’re” not Ur…just saying…;)

  • Joe Y

    All sympathy with the players on this one. An 18 game season? 2 more playoff games? That’s crazy. Injuries are already having a deletrious impact on the game. Now they want to have more games. If anything there should be fewer.

    As far as taxes are concerned, they are solely on profits, not building businesss faciities. Furthermore, let’s not forget all the government–and by government, I mean us, the taxpayets–already hands out to teams, most of which–though not Miami!–get government subsidies for their stadiums.

    Finally, there is the NFL’s anti-trust exemption. You may not have noticed it, but the NFL draft, as much as we all love it, is a flagrantly illegal restraint on trade that makes the owners countless millions of dollars. How would you feel if when it came time to take your first job you were told that you had to move to Duluth and if you couldn’t negotiate a salary you liked with the company that chose you, you’d just have to wait a year and hope a company you liked in a place you could tolerate living would pick you and pay you what you could accept.

    Worst of all, we know how vastly disproptionate an amount of these players end up cripppled, sick, maimed, and dying young.

    Meanwhile, the owners are part of the most successful sports league in history at a time when half the country is going broke. Clearly, they’re not familiar with the phrase “pissing in the soup.”

  • Joe Y

    that’s “disproportionate” and “taxpayers.”

    and you piss in the soup so there’s more of it to eat, and that’s exactly what the NFL is going to do if they increase the game count.

  • Brian Miller

    Me too Joe. SudddeNly it wasnt about making the highlight reel on ESPN