It widely has been presumed that, once the uncapped year started on March 5, there’s no way a new labor agreement would be negotiated before 2011. Generally, we agree.
But there’s talk — limited, for now — that a window of opportunity currently exists for getting a new deal done. Why? Because a new deal would entail a rookie wage scale, which would limit dramatically the money that otherwise will be pocketed under rookie deals paid out to the likes of Sam Bradford and Ndamukong Suh.
The incoming rookies likely would regard the change as unfair. But the incoming rookies don’t have a vote.
Of course, it could get even more interesting if the deal gets done — and if the rookie pay rules change — after the players have been drafted. In that case, the outcome could seem even less fair.
Still, there are many issues to be resolved and the owners, in our view, simply aren’t likely to abandon the leverage they’ve carefully cultivated over the past couple of years. The owners, we believe, intend to fully exert that leverage, culminating in the unilateral imposition of the last, best offer made before the current deal expires — and then possibility the negotiation of a new CBA on the eve of the 2011 regular season.
That said, we’d welcome the negotiation of a new deal before April 22. Of course, before that can happen, the two sides would have to have, you know, a meeting.
Finally, if there were a new deal by the start of the draft, the financial rules (including, presumably, a salary cap) likely would apply next year. The rookie wage scale would apply right now.