Last week, we reported that the most recent bargaining session between the NFL and the players union entailed the first discussion of financial terms.
Liz Mullen of SportsBusiness Journal reports that the league’s proposal during the November 4 meeting included a rookie wage scale and an adjustment to the current salary-cap system that takes certain expenses into account.
Currently, the player payroll fund arises from revenues only, forcing the 32 teams to run the rest of their businesses with the 40.4 cents on each dollar generated. Some owners have complained that the retained revenues do not generate in a sufficient profit, after all expenses are paid.
So the new system proposed by the league apparently would be aimed at ensuring that the owners realize an adequate return on their investments.
Though we don’t disagree with the logic, the proposal seems to bolster the union’s position that, in order to fully and fairly assess the situation, the league should open its books.
As to the proposed rookie wage scale, the specifics haven’t been revealed. Currently, a de facto wage scale has arisen via the slotting process. Beyond the first ten picks, the league has no issue with the present system. The concern comes from the windfalls paid to unproven players taken at the top of the draft.
The union has characterized the situation as the league’s problem, presumably in order to ensure that the league will make some sort of equivalent concession in order to fix the flaws in the current system.
Moving forward, it’s possible that little or no specific information will be provided until a deal is done. We reported that the league and the union have agreed to stop talking to the media about the negotiations, and Mullen obtained quotes confirming the new code of silence.
As NFL spokesman Greg Aiello told Mullen, “We are not commenting on the negotiations.” NFLPA spokesman George Atallah offered a similar message. “The NFLPA is not discussing the CBA negotiations in an effort to maintain the integrity of the talks,” Atallah told Mullen.