The biggest news as of yet is that the NFL and NFLPA have apparently settled 1 of the issues. A new rookie wage scale has been agreed upon, as reported by Jason Cole of Yahoo! Sports. The actual “wage scale”, aka the dollar figures, is either not set yet or hasn’t been released. Gone are the days of the $50 Million guarantees to the Sam Bradford’s of the world. Or more relevantly, the mega-millions that get guaranteed to mega-bust players such as Jamarcus Russell.
Besides what will be less money for rookies, the key component of the new agreement is the length of rookie contracts. Previously players in the 1st round, picks 1 – 16, could sign deals up to 6 years while picks 17 – 32 could sign up to 5 years. Then all players after the 1st round would sign 4 year deals. Now, all 1st round picks will be signing 4 year deals and picks in the 2nd round and beyond will be signing 3 year deals. This is huge because it allows players to hit free agency faster and therefore receive their big payday, according they have earned it. I feel this will benefit both players an owners and is long overdue. And apparently we can all offer a little golf clap to our very own Mr. Joe Banner as he was said to have a hand in developing the proposal. Good job Joe!
The 18 game schedule, another one of the key issues in the CBA debate, is “off the negotiating table” per NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith. He further stated that “18 games is not in the best interest of our players’ safety, so we’re not doing it“. That doesn’t leave any wiggle room so unless he outright “caves in” later, we can all stop dreaming about 2 more Sundays of meaningful football.
What this is all boiling down to, as things almost always do, is money. A new CBA will not be reached until they can agree on how to split up the $9.3 Billion in revenue. As I explained here, the owners want an extra $1 Billion off the top of total revenue before the players get their share. Word has it that they’ve come down a little bit from the $1 Billion but the NFLPA is still demanding that the owners make their financial records available. This has been and will be the true sticking point in negotiations. Negotiations are expected to be hot and heavy today and tomorrow as they are closing in on the deadline once again. By tomorrow there will either be a new CBA, a lock-out (and probable decertification by the union), or another extension of the deadline. My money is on another extension.