The NFLPA, I’m personally convinced, wanted nothing short of litigation. Why? Simple, the NFL wanted to take back some of the money that they gave up years ago in the midnight ending CBA. The NFLPA reps grandstanded and when push came to shove, all they could spew was “Show me your books”. Even when the final minutes ticked off the mediation week deadline, they, the players, would not agree to more talks until the league, opened their books to the players lawyers satisfaction.
Whatever went on behind closed doors is now open for both parties to discuss and while there is some hope that the newly filed anti-trust lawsuit with 10 plaintiffs representing the players will yield a judgement by Judge Doty that will allow the start of free agency and continued NFL business, at least one side has been willing to share some of what they were willing to give up.
The NFL owners of course.
According to PFT, the NFL owners made significant concessions in their labor demands. Continue reading to see 10 of the concessions the league was willing to give up to continue working towards a unified goal and a new CBA.
The official league released statement regarding their final proposal (does not include the actual number they were asking for in return). My own comments are listed below each stated offer.
1. We more than split the economic difference between us, increasing our proposed cap for 2011 significantly and accepting the Union’s proposed cap number for 2014 ($161 million per club).
PP – Are you freaking crazy? Currently the last salary cap was around the 135 mark and that was getting out of hand. Considering that each teams take of that “1 Billion off the top” amount is around 32 million, what the hell was the union wanting?
2. An entry level compensation system based on the Union’s “rookie cap” proposal, rather than the wage scale proposed by the clubs. Under the NFL proposal, players drafted in rounds 2-7 would be paid the same or more than they are paid today. Savings from the first round would be reallocated to veteran players and benefits.
PP – So the players got what they wanted on both accounts. They got “their” proposal accepted and the saved money going to veterans.
3. A guarantee of up to $1 million of a player’s salary for the contract year afterhis injury – the first time that the clubs have offered a standard multi-year injury guarantee.
PP – Injury agreement in writing that would pay up to 1 mill? This is one of those things that the current system didn’t allow for. A player who misses one year suddenly has a cushion if he can’t return or is out of football for good. Yeah, I would turn that down too.
4. Immediate implementation of changes to promote player health and safety by
a. Reducing the off-season program by five weeks, reducing OTAs from 14 to 10, and limiting on-field practice time and contact;
b. Limiting full-contact practices in the preseason and regular season; and
c. Increasing number of days off for players.
PP – No word on whether James Harrison or any of the other players would bitch over the fines that they would endure when they didn’t follow those no implemented safety measures. Didn’t the players want a reduction in all of the off-season work they had to put in? I mean I don’t know about you, but 285,000 at minimum and not having to actually work all year sucks!
5. Commit that any change to an 18-game season will be made only by agreement and that the 2011 and 2012 seasons will be played under the current 16-game format.
PP – The one thing the league really wanted and they gave it up only to say that they would not move forward without union approval first.
6. Owner funding of $82 million in 2011-12 to support additional benefits to former players, which would increase retirement benefits for more than 2000 former players by nearly 60 percent.
7. Offer current players the opportunity to remain in the player medical plan for life.
8. Third party arbitration for appeals in the drug and steroid programs.
9. Improvements in the Mackey plan, disability plan, and degree completion bonus program.
10. A per-club cash minimum spend of 90 percent of the salary cap over three seasons.
PP – The league increased the mandatory spending limit by 5% so that money would be guaranteed to the players that would be commensurate with their current salaries.
IN closing if what the NFL released is true and factual, and the money that the league was seeking back from the players was even 600 million additional, then I think this is evidence that the NFLPA simply wanted to take this to litigation where they feel they will get a better deal. If I were the owners, I would pull all of that off the table immediately and tell the players legal representation to go to hell.
For what it’s worth, there is more and more information supporting the leagues claim that the final offer included a split of that 1 billion they had been asking for off the top of the 9 billion in revenue. According to a report last night, the league at one point was down to around 600 million and offered to split the difference with the union which would have made the gap a mere 300 million, give or take a few 100,000. And still, the union would not move on this without the NFL completely opening their books.