NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and NFLPA head DeMaurice Smith are the principal figures in the ongoing NFL Collective Bargaining Agreement negotiations
The impending end of the current Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) slated for March 2011 should be first and foremost in everyone’s minds associated with the NFL. Right now the league is in the midst of its first “uncapped” season in 2010, but that will be a hill of beans, if there is an NFL owners’ lockout in 2011 – i.e. “No Football”.
All anyone needs to do is go back and do some research from the 1987 NFL Players’ Strike – the last labor strife in the league which led to the owners playing “regular season” games with replacement players – to see the damage that labor unrest caused to the league and it’s fans. There is no doubt that the NFL is the “Golden Goose” of sports with a model that produced approximately $9 Billion in revenues for 2009 and an unprecedented almost 25 years of uninterrupted play.
The two sides involved, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and NFLPA DeMaurice Smith, have begun talks but everything is very preliminary at this time. There are so many negotiating issues around the NFL’s new CBA with the tip of the iceberg including:
Revenues — NFL owners are saying players are taking 60% of revenues, Smith is saying the owners want an 18% rollback on player revenues in the new CBA and the NFLPA is insisting that the league open the books.
NFLPA talking about possible owner collusion — The owners are pointing to the 30% rule, but overall player salaries for 2010 are lower and it has been a very slow offseason for signing free agents / giving out big deals. Also owners will not say it, but they do not want to pay a signing bonus on new player deals which could potentially cover lost salary during a lockout – did you know the owners TV money for 2011 is guaranteed. That is why future Hall of Famer and Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning, who is in the last year of his 2004 contract extension – 7 years, $99.2M with a $34.5M signing bonus (due $15.8M in 2010), has not received a new deal yet. Manning and Patriots QB Tom Brady are expected to get new contracts with at least $50 million guaranteed. Is something up??? Recently on ESPN Radio’s Mike and Mike Show, DeMaurice Smith said, “You guys want me to say the collusion word, of course….Oh, wait a minute. There it goes.”
An owners’ proposed 18-game regular season schedule — Mostly supported by the owners, there are already many veteran players talking about long-term risks. The NFLPA and it’s players are commissioning reports to see about the long-term health/injury risks from playing an 18-game regular season – 16 game schedule since 1978. Let me go on record that I completely agree with getting rid of 1 or 2 preseason games. But you know the players will definitely need extra incentives to approve more games. Patriots QB Tom Brady recently said of the 18-game proposal, “I’ve taken part in several postseason runs where we have played 20 games. The long-term impact this game has on our bodies is well documented. Look no further than the players that came before we did. Each player today has to play three years in order to earn five years of post-career health care. Our Union has done a great job of raising the awareness on these issues and will make the right decision for us players, the game and the fans.”
Retirement Benefits — Led by a very loud contingent of former players, including HOF Joe DeLamiellure, NFL retirees want to be heard regarding health benefits and pensions. Every current NFL player better be thinking about life after football as the average NFL career is 3 to 4 years and a player that has accrued 3 years of play receives only 5 years of health benefits after their retirement.
A possible Rookie Wage Scale – Something has to be done to make sure that “proven” NFL players are getting larger pieces of the pie than unproven rookies. All anyone needs to do is look at the $39M that JaMarcus Russell basically stole from the Raiders. This year, first overall pick, the Rams QB Sam Bradford, is expected to receive a contract greater than Lions QB Matthew Stafford’s – 6 years, $72M with $41.75M guaranteed.
Player Misconduct Administration — Goodell has a ton of leeway under the current CBA to administer justice as he sees fit and some member of the NFLPA want to look into the “legality” of some of the commissioner’s decisions. Owners are also talking tough about going after bonuses already paid, if a player screws-up.
Drug Testing — NFL currently doesn’t test for the performing enhancing drug Human Growth Hormone (HGH) as it requires blood. And the NFL also needs to think about testing for codeine (i.e. the “Sizzurp”) after the recent events with the Packers DL Johnny Jolly and former Raiders QB JaMarcus Russell.
Roger Goodell recently said of the CBA negotiations, “There will be an agreement at some point…Everyone would like it sooner rather than later, whether it’s the players, the owners or the fans. It’s important for us all to get more productive dialogue. Sometimes, these things don’t happen until you get a little closer to the end (of the CBA). That’s just the reality.”
DeMaurice Smith also has been on the offensive lately too. He recently said on ESPN Radio about the on-going CBA negotiations, “As you guys know, we haven’t been shy about being aggressive in protecting players’ rights. If we have to be aggressive to enforce the rules of the Collective Bargaining Agreement, you can bet that we will.”
FIGURE IT OUT GUYS as NFL fans don’t want to see a season lost, because a bunch of Billionaires and Millionaires cannot agree.
BTW: Anyone worried about seeing NFL replacement games, like during the 1987 NFL Players’ Strike, you don’t have worry as the current CBA does not allow the owners to play “Scab” games.
Other 2010 NFL Pre-Training Camp Top Stories
- New York Jets winning the NFL offseason and can they reach the Super Bowl heights many are predicting for them
- Position Battles (Carolina Panthers QBs, Philadelphia Eagles Safeties, Dallas Cowboys WR’s, NY Giants DE’s, Tampa Bay Buccaneers WRs, Arizona Cardinals QBs, Buffalo Bills QBs, etc)
- T.O, Flozell Adams and other free agents still looking for jobs
- Coaches on the hot seat trying to stay alive (Panthers John Fox, Texans Gary Kubiak, Jaguars Jack DelRio, Bears Lovie Smith, Broncos Josh McDaniels, and Browns Eric Mangini)
- QB Donovan McNabb changing teams inside the NFC East
- Brett Favre’s “Possible” Retirement / Return
- Slow rate of rookie first rounder signings
- Future Hall of Famers Peyton Manning and Tom Brady getting new deals or not
- The Baltimore Ravens, Atlanta Falcons, and San Francisco 49ers being popular picks as NFL’s surprise team of 2010
Lloyd Vance is a Sr. NFL Writer for Taking It to the House and Sports Journey Network , who is also an award-winning member of the Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA)