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Steve Hutchinson is convinced a lockout is coming

For months, NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith has pegged the likelihood of a lockout at 14 on a scale of one to 10.

Vikings All-Pro guard Steve Hutchinson apparently agrees.

The owners fully intend to lock us out,” Hutchinson said Friday after the team’s practice, according to Judd Zulgad of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.  “That’s why they negotiated a TV
contract that would pay them with the lockout happening [in 2011].  They
fully wanted this to happen because they made sure they were going to be
compensated if in fact there was no season played.”

We still think there’s a chance — a good chance — that the owners are bluffing, and that they want the players to think that a lockout is coming, so that the players will be forced to take the last pre-lockout offer.  But we feel less strongly about that than we used to.

But Hutchinson didn’t mention one key reality of the television contracts.  If the union prevails in its attempt to block the league from pocketing the TV money in a lockout, the owners won’t be compensated if there’s no season played.  And perhaps the leverage will swing to the union.

Either way, the NFL season unofficially officially begins on Sunday night with the Hall of Fame game, and it could be the last unofficial official beginning to an NFL season for a while.

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44 Responses to “Steve Hutchinson is convinced a lockout is coming”
  1. BoltsFan says: Aug 6, 2010 5:58 PM

    A lockout is most certainly coming, unless the union pulls its head out of its own a$$ and consents to a rational rookie wage scale (which will NOT involve a simultaneous guarantee of the additional money being paid to veteran players), a smaller percentage of the overall gross revenue pie, and language that gives teams real teeth in being able to financially punish players that hold out on signed contracts, including being able to pursue and recover up-front money paid for services not received. The union may win on keeping the free agency period at four years, but they are going to cave on these other issues or they will be sitting out in 2011. At some point, the union has to recognize that it is NOT calling the shots, it is NOT a business “partner” in the traditional sense, and it is NOT equal to ownership.

  2. BoltsFan says: Aug 6, 2010 5:59 PM

    A lockout is most certainly coming, unless the union pulls its head out of its own a$$ and consents to a rational rookie wage scale (which will NOT involve a simultaneous guarantee of the additional money being paid to veteran players), a smaller percentage of the overall gross revenue pie, and language that gives teams real teeth in being able to financially punish players that hold out on signed contracts, including being able to pursue and recover up-front money paid for services not received. The union may win on keeping the free agency period at four years, but they are going to cave on these other issues or they will be sitting out in 2011. At some point, the union has to recognize that it is NOT calling the shots, it is NOT a business “partner” in the traditional sense, and it is NOT equal to ownership.

  3. JNB says: Aug 6, 2010 6:00 PM

    Bummer

  4. Bwa Ha Ha says: Aug 6, 2010 6:07 PM

    Welll, yeaaaah…….

  5. cbatchel says: Aug 6, 2010 6:09 PM

    I am sure of it also, the owners want some of that money back that they gave the players the last time they negotiated the CBA. And with the league adding 2 more games they starters actually have to play there is no way the players are going to go for that.

  6. DonTerrelli says: Aug 6, 2010 6:15 PM

    ridiculous

  7. MACK DADDY says: Aug 6, 2010 6:15 PM

    I don’t think it will stop Favre from texting chicks pictures of his cock.

  8. FinFan68 says: Aug 6, 2010 6:26 PM

    The union (along with the agents and greedy, narcissistic players demanding more money) is determined to ruin the league and kill the cash cow they stubbornly refuse to acknowledge. They make plenty of money but they comoplain that someone else makes more and that is somehow disrespectful to them. Many of these dumb holdouts have been about being the highest paid player at their position…even if only by a mere $0.50! That is the attitude the union seems to be taking. They are the most compensated group of people on the planet. The greenest rookies (bench warmers–never playing a down) make in the 97th percentile of all wage earners in the United States. They assume ZERO financial, operational or managerial risk. They are already highly paid for the potential injuries. Whaqt other industry do the workers expect to earn as much money as the boss or company as a whole?

  9. steelers rule says: Aug 6, 2010 6:47 PM

    My question is if there is a lockout for 2011,how does that effect the next 2 drafts? Lets say the worse team is Buffalo and they draft in April, no football iin 2011, do they get 1st round pick again in 2012? If so, it might be to some teams advantage, who usually do not draft in top 10, to suck and get 2 very good players for the next 8-12 years.

  10. Bob Nelson says: Aug 6, 2010 6:49 PM

    Hutchinson is confusing boarding up the former vikings franchise building during the move with a players lockout.
    If he moves with the franchise he will not be locked out of the next building they rent.

  11. Steve W. says: Aug 6, 2010 6:50 PM

    # FinFan68 says: August 6, 2010 6:26 PM
    The union (along with the agents and greedy, narcissistic players demanding more money) is determined to ruin the league and kill the cash cow they stubbornly refuse to acknowledge. They make plenty of money but they comoplain that someone else makes more and that is somehow disrespectful to them. Many of these dumb holdouts have been about being the highest paid player at their position…even if only by a mere $0.50! That is the attitude the union seems to be taking. They are the most compensated group of people on the planet. The greenest rookies (bench warmers–never playing a down) make in the 97th percentile of all wage earners in the United States. They assume ZERO financial, operational or managerial risk. They are already highly paid for the potential injuries. Whaqt other industry do the workers expect to earn as much money as the boss or company as a whole?
    ________________________________
    Really? I don’t tend to favor players holding out for more money (there have been a few cases, but very few), but players in the NFL are hardly the best compensated people on the planet. The top baseball and basketball players make much more than any football player…and all of that is guaranteed. Those players also don’t tend to suffer injuries that could leave them crippled or brain damaged in some way later on in life. I agree that listening to players whine that they’re not the highest paid player at their position is disgusting, but some players are dramatically underpaid (relative to the market value for their talents).
    While I also agree that the revenue sharing scheme is too skewed towards the players, you really can’t compare it to a typical company. In professional sports, athletes aren’t simply employees, they’re the product. So, a more accurate comparison would be to compare the teams total investment costs (including coaches and staff salaries, players salaries, stadium upkeep, etc.) to it’s revenue. If the return on their investment is too low (lower than other successful industries for instance), then you can claim that the model is flawed. Otherwise, it’s just millionaires and billionaires fighting amongst themselves for a bigger share of the profits. Personally, if the numbers show that the model itself isn’t flawed, then I really don’t care which side gets more of what it wants (it will be the owners in the end). I simply want them to come together and work out a compromise that lets me keep watching football.

  12. Cushing Will Kill You says: Aug 6, 2010 7:04 PM

    Screw the dumbass players who can’t manage to save a few bucks. Many, maybe most, NFL players haven’t the intellectual capacity nor the marketable skills to earn even close to their NFL salaries in the non-sports world.

  13. kpweaver27 says: Aug 6, 2010 7:07 PM

    Yeah, this lockout has been coming for a long time with rookies making the money they are. Leave it to the NFLPA and the NFL to experience the most rapid growth in all of professional sports only to ruin it by being shortsighted.

  14. lieutenant Dan's Ice Cream says: Aug 6, 2010 7:07 PM

    I’ll take Hutch’s word. He knows how the NFL works.
    That poison pill debacle a couple of years ago really shows what a slimey turd Hutch and the Vikings really are.

  15. VikeKings says: Aug 6, 2010 7:27 PM

    what pictures M daddy? watch that site that started this rumour go bankrupt for slandering.

  16. bow_to_the_pats says: Aug 6, 2010 7:28 PM

    How monumentally stupid must the NFL be to even consider shutting down? The disease of greed is gripping the NFL.

  17. Mr. Lagoo says: Aug 6, 2010 7:55 PM

    Steve Hutchinson sounds like a whining little bitch…he must learn from that grandpa he must protect. Besides, coming from the guy who signed that bullshit contract that forced Seattle to not match it (because of the clause of x number of games must played in the state of Minnesota) – yeah, he’s a real quality character…I’m on the owners side – players you make plenty. The owners will do more with their money (as far as trickle down economics), but then again, the players do pay out to all their rape victims, thug bodyguards/homeboys, trial lawyers, etc.

  18. sand0 says: Aug 6, 2010 7:58 PM

    Pro sports, and the NFL in particular, are a rare instance in which the players make almost all of the money. The Packers published their annual financials and the entire organization profitted by like 10 or 15 million. How many players in the NFL make that per season? While assuming no real financial risk (though there is physical risk).
    I think the players have this mentality that gross revenue by a team is the equivalent of their wage. They don’t account for the massive operational expenses, headlined by player salary. They don’t realize that some teams are losing money, though most aren’t.
    But on the other hand it isn’t like owners have it that rough either. While their annual profits might not always look huge, most teams have gained value significantly over the years. Most owners try to ignore that portion.
    People might poke fun at my team the Vikings because their stadium prevents them from generating league average revenue to match their payroll. But even Zygi’s franchise has increased considerably in value over the last few seasons and if he can manage to finangle a new stadium it will turn out to be a tremendous investment for them.
    If they have to sell or move the team probably not so much but most signs point to the stadium getting done.
    My rant drifted off topic. At the end of the day the owners might have to make a rash move. They might have to tear up the CBA, write their own “new contract” moving forward that favors the owners, and permanently lock out any player forever from the NFL if they refuse to accept it. Then backfill the lost players with UFLers, CFLers, college kids that didn’t make it, and geeks off the streets.
    This solution however would come with a huge loss in popularity and value to the NFL so perhaps it doesn’t make much sense. They’d have to rebuild the pie. But at least they’d get to profit more from the league that they own.
    Stuff like this has a tendency to drift. The players union has always tried to get the most money for their players and that is fine. But it has gotten to the point where if the NFL could turn back time they might have wished they’d nipped this in the bud before it came to a looming disaster.
    And if the players want to play big boy ball then maybe we need a system where a certain percentage of annual profits are shared between players and owners across the league. And players don’t negotiate wages but rather negotiate like what percentage of the profits they get to keep. Chumps might earn like (made up number) 0.0001% of the league profits while stars might earn 30 or 40 times that or whatever.

  19. east96street. says: Aug 6, 2010 8:04 PM

    FinFan68 says: “They are the most compensated group of people on the planet.”
    If that was true, they would dominate Forbes list of the 400 richest Americans. They don’t.
    http://www.forbes.com/lists/2009/54/rich-list-09_The-400-Richest-Americans_Rank.html
    “Whaqt other industry do the workers expect to earn as much money as the boss or company as a whole?”
    Since no one knows what any of the owners/teams are making (with exception of Green Bay), how, exactly, did you come to that conclusion? Do you have access to the financial records of all the other NFL teams or are you just talking out your ass?
    I’m not saying they’re suffering, but your rants are completely unsubstantiated and factually incorrect.

  20. LL Live says: Aug 6, 2010 8:16 PM

    “We still think there’s a chance — a good chance — that the owners are bluffing, and that they want the players to think that a lockout is coming, so that the players will be forced to take the last pre-lockout offer. But we feel less strongly about that than we used to.”
    Who the f*&^ is we? You and “Little Lorenzo”? Mike “Third Person(s)” Florio and Favre’s Third Leg? According to Jenn there is an uncanny resemblance between the two! Florio is just a little shorter.

  21. getagrip says: Aug 6, 2010 8:22 PM

    I’m all for scab football. Bring it on.

  22. Stupid Raiders Fan says: Aug 6, 2010 8:41 PM

    One thing I haven’t heard anyone talk about is the amount of money that will be lost by people other than the NFL and the players. Fantasy Football Websites come to mind and all the money they generate through ads and memberships. If there is no NFL season wouldn’t they lose a lot of money? What about stadium employees and vendors? Wouldn’t they lose their jobs if there was no season?

  23. mattgso says: Aug 6, 2010 8:41 PM

    Just a game of chicken right now. Someone will blink and we’ll have a 2011 season. Too much money to be lost on both sides.

  24. smilesdavis says: Aug 6, 2010 8:50 PM

    Hey mannyg, where are you. anyway, my buddy found this place thats supposedly like the drudgereport for sports or something. its http://sportscomplainer.com , I know how much u love that drudge thing so i figured i’d let u know. bye .

  25. fatfatuma says: Aug 6, 2010 8:52 PM

    @BoltsFan
    Thanks, we got it the first time…

  26. Paul says: Aug 6, 2010 9:01 PM

    I could not disagree with the anti-union BS more. You guys would buy a load of shit if it was wrapped in clear plastic and had holes in it so it would stink up the joint. If the owners are suffering so much, then SHOW YOUR DAMN FINANCIALS to prove it. Only the Packers have shown their books because they had to as a publicly traded company. As long as the owners cry about rookie or veteran salaries AND DON’T SHOW THEIR BOOKS, I’m not buying a moment of it. These guys are not having to apply for welfare because of player salaries. They are not threatening bankrupcy with their $1 Billion+ companies and the Billions in TV contract revenue. And let’s not forget the public extortion for brand new stadiums from which these guys receive financial windfalls.
    Let’s please get over the player jealousy. Most of these guys will be lucky to play two or three years with more than 95% of player contracts NOT guaranteed, meaning that if a team cuts you because you got hurt, you get ziltch, nada, not one more penny. Back to the graveyard shift, packing boxes for UPS for $15/hr, if you’re lucky.

  27. PERCY 420 says: Aug 6, 2010 9:02 PM

    mack daddy=c**ksack

  28. Paul says: Aug 6, 2010 9:15 PM

    I’ll add one more comment. I think the players should threaten to go on strike THIS season. They should play 1/2 the season and if the owners still won’t bargain, then strike. The best time would be on Thanksgiving or right before the playoffs start or maybe, gasp, even before the Super Bowl because it would get the owners right where they would hurt the most. The TV networks would be screaming for the owners to get a deal done and, boy, would it happen fast. A potential strike this year would most likely screw up the owners’ plans to pocket all that dough for a lock-out in 2011 because there’s no way the networks would tolerate it.
    Too bad the players probably don’t have the balls to do this.

  29. Cushing Will Kill You says: Aug 6, 2010 9:52 PM

    I, too, think the use of “we” in the PFT posts is comical.

  30. BigBenRapesDefenses says: Aug 6, 2010 10:02 PM

    This sucks, unless this means Florio is out of a job.

  31. numberfour says: Aug 6, 2010 10:05 PM

    what one may see is the union, led by shysta lawya duh smith, plus the media (not wanting to pay for nothing) plus duh’s friends in the maladministration all going after the NFL.
    in the so-called media, of course. but we dont have a media. we have a bunch of commie university journalism school indoctrinated fellow travalers pretending to be objective, or at least, non-aligned.
    of course with the economy still in the crapper due to demorat congress, fannie, freddie, the war the great promiser hasnt ended (after yes w did his part), and the great promiser’s stimulus lies, cap’n’tax lies, health care lies…
    dont expect rational americans who only make so much moolah to side with a bunch of illiterate bling wearing thugs. numerous americans would play for a fraction of what nfl players get paid.
    the networks signed contracts. and just like a bunch of players, they will start whining shortly.
    the nfl should simply tell the networks should it come down to any kind of stoppage: stfu, u owe us money. pay up. and enjoy scab-ball!
    if the players want the teams to show their books. fine. players u go first. show us all the dumb schitt yall spend money on. first. lets see yer arrest reports too.
    the players cannot eat bling (except for maybe marshawn) and none can afford to lose a year of that kind of money.
    tags was a big hairy puss. and the hammer is swinging the other way now.

  32. Blackn'Gold says: Aug 6, 2010 10:13 PM

    Perhaps, it is good the players feel with certainty that a lock out is coming? Maybe, their perspective will change. The player salaries are getting to the point of being unsustainable. All the teams have to be financially solvent or there will be no league or any point to free agency. The millionaires vs. the billionaires will only hurt the game still many of the fans realize that this pay insanity has to end. The ball is in the players court.
    GO STEELERS!

  33. cusoman says: Aug 6, 2010 10:13 PM

    Leave it to the hate mongers of this site to turn a story about politics in the NFL into an opportunity to bash the Vikings. Pathetic.

  34. The Laces Were In says: Aug 6, 2010 10:22 PM

    @ Paul
    A player’s strike would pnly benefit the owners. An in-season strike would allow the owners to not pay the remaining portions of player salaries, but also all bonuses based on performance, skill, making Pro-Bowls, playoffs etc. The TV revenue war chest would compensate for a lack of playoff football as well.
    Not only that, but the owners would have the upper hand in the public relations department as well. The owners could always say that “there is still time to negotiate and the player’s greed is costing hard working fans a chance to enjoy their teams in the ’10 season”, or along that line.
    Fan anger would benefit the owners immensly.
    Ballsy? Yes. Incredibly dumb? Oh, yeah.

  35. Huskersrock says: Aug 6, 2010 10:49 PM

    I don’t care, lock them out, I will watch college ball. If I miss a year to set up a sustainable system then so be it. A salary cap and rookie wage scale must be included.

  36. Sociofan says: Aug 6, 2010 11:01 PM

    Actually, I thought the HOF Game was the official unofficial beginning of the season…guess I had it backward.

  37. se18a29 says: Aug 6, 2010 11:07 PM

    MACK DADDY says:
    August 6, 2010 6:15 PM
    I don’t think it will stop Favre from texting chicks pictures of his cock.
    Jealous, little boy? LOL

  38. Brewdogg says: Aug 7, 2010 1:45 AM

    Mr. Lagoo says: August 6, 2010 7:55 PM
    Steve Hutchinson sounds like a whining little bitch…he must learn from that grandpa he must protect. Besides, coming from the guy who signed that bullshit contract that forced Seattle to not match it (because of the clause of x number of games must played in the state of Minnesota)
    ====================================
    There you are mistaken. Was the poison pill thing a bit slimey…yes. But the clause in Hutch’s contract was that the entire contract would be guaranteed if he was not the highest paid lineman onthe team, and since Walter Jones had already signed a larger contract… It was the Seahawks contract to Nate Burleson that included the games played in Minnesota clause. And there was one other major difference. The vikings had every intention of honoring the entirety of Hutch’s contract. The Seahawks singed Burleson to a 4 year, $16 million deal with 3 more years tacked on at over $10 million per year that made the overall deal the same as Hutch’s, and they never had any intention of paying those last three years. Both sides signed that deal knowing that the contract would be terminated after the fourth year. So which team and player was less honorable?

  39. kazkal says: Aug 7, 2010 1:46 AM

    Players need stop being stupid,They’ll lose more money then they’ll get if owners cave after a year…Plus even elite player contracts are getting out of control…

  40. The Laces Were In says: Aug 7, 2010 1:46 AM

    @ Paul
    A player’s strike would pnly benefit the owners. An in-season strike would allow the owners to not pay the remaining portions of player salaries, but also all bonuses based on performance, skill, making Pro-Bowls, playoffs etc. The TV revenue war chest would compensate for a lack of playoff football as well.
    Not only that, but the owners would have the upper hand in the public relations department as well. The owners could always say that “there is still time to negotiate and the player’s greed is costing hard working fans a chance to enjoy their teams in the ’10 season”, or along that line.
    Fan anger would benefit the owners immensly.
    Ballsy? Yes. Incredibly dumb? Oh, yeah.

  41. luckyram says: Aug 7, 2010 8:23 AM

    @ Steve W.
    “players in the NFL are hardly the best compensated people on the planet. The top baseball and basketball players make much more than any football player”
    A fine example of how statistics & perception lie…..
    NFL Players salaries are for 16 games.
    Baseball plays what…168? NBA…82??
    Divide those numbers by the salaries and you’ll see that the NFL players are paid at a higher RATE per GAME/Season than others.
    Really not too hard when you think about it clearly.

  42. Brewdogg says: Aug 7, 2010 9:53 AM

    @luckyram
    True…. But football players spend more time in practice. If you were to figure the average hours put in in all mandatory in-season activities in each sport…..
    I don’t have the numbers, but you get the idea. I think baseball players have it best. $25 million salaries and they routinely play into their 40s, with little wear on their bodies…. (unless they play on Astroturf) Oh, what it must be like to be coveted by a Steinbrenner.

  43. sand0 says: Aug 7, 2010 2:46 PM

    @ Paul,
    You made a well thought out post but you make the claim that people against this union don’t know what they are talking about because owners don’t show their financials. But you seem to make the assumptions that the owners are making a ton of money without seeing those financials. Do you see the hypocrisy?
    Truth be told we only really know the financials of one team, the Green Bay Packers. I would peg them as fairly middle of the road. It is a popular team playing in a medium sized market. Though the city itself is small, they are covering Wisconsin well, filling up a modern stadium, selling jerseys, etc. And that team despite increased revenue is down in profits and the net profits are only at 10 to 15 million, which is less than many individual players.
    It is just unusual for employee salary to be 10X or more times as large as your NOP. This is unsustainable. I know the bleeding hearts in us want to support unions but this is just a really special case. Plus usually unions are protecting the little guy. When a bunch of players that make millions get together to drive up their salaries you are almost delving into like corporate collusion or price fixing. The money and stakes are much higher than like hospital nurses or something.

  44. Brewdogg says: Aug 8, 2010 11:42 AM

    I do have to agree with Sando. The NFLPA has done what many unions have done, and that has been to diverge from their original intent, which was to protect its members from unfair treatment, and have morphed into a greedy association that seeks to squeeze every last dollar out of the owners. I do believe that the owners are doing just fine, don’t get me wrong. These are businessmen. But at the same time, players who never have an impact on the league walk away with millions from their rookie contracts, while some of the all-time greats can’t afford the medical care necessitated by their time serving the league.
    First things first. There needs to be a rookie wage scale. The union has to give in to that. The millions in signing bonuses paid to players who haven’t proven a thing will bankrupt the league. The owners should grant that all contracts are guaranteed, to offset the impact of limiting rookie pay. This will only benefit the league, since having the entirety of contracts guaranteed will lead to shorter contracts signed and less emphasis on massive signing bonuses, and will protect the players from the injury risk that they claim as their trump card.
    Considering the average age of these players when they are making their millions, if I were running the union, I would insist that they turn over a percentage of their earnings to a mass fund, something like a 401k, that would be payed out over the years after their retirement based on what they payed in. The NFLPA could then use that money to supplement these players who think they aren’t getting paid enough for their services, in the form of a loan that accrues interest until their contract is up and they get their big payday. The interest could be used to supplement the NFLPA medical plan.

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