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As mediation approaches, gap between NFL, players possibly has grown

GoodellSmithCongress AP

On March 11, the league and the players had narrowed their gap to $320 million for 2011, with the NFL offering a salary cap per team of $141 million and the NFLPA wanting $151 million per team.

Nearly nine weeks later, with another round of mediation approaching, the gap apparently has gotten wider.

The players are believed to have increased their number to $159 million per team, characterizing the March 11 figure as a discount aimed at getting a deal done.  We’re told that the league believes the move is aimed at allowing the players to continue to pursue their litigation strategy, in the hopes of gaining even more leverage.

Another problem arises from the reality that the total revenue pie for 2011 has begun to shrink, which would make it even harder to hit the $141 million per team the league offered in March.  As a result, the normal incentive that would be created by the uncertainty of litigation simply doesn’t apply here, with each side opting to push for the ultimate leverage of a win in court in lieu of trying to work out a deal that works for each party.

That’s possibly why the league won’t take the option of shutting down all business operations off the table.  If the appeals court concludes that the lockout should be lifted, the NFL will be backed into a corner, forced to allow the players to return to work and get paid while they pursue even more leverage by attacking any rules that the NFL imposes regarding free agency and the draft.  From the perspective of the owners, it may be better to simply close the doors until the players finally cry, “Uncle.”

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57 Responses to “As mediation approaches, gap between NFL, players possibly has grown”
  1. footballfanatic3431 says: May 11, 2011 11:59 PM

    To put it plainly, if you have not started getting into another sport, now is the time.

    Personally, I have watched every NBA basketball playoff game and I’m very pleased with what I’ve seen…just sayin.

  2. richsaint says: May 12, 2011 12:00 AM

    I love this site and the lockout information has been very informative.
    But, damn I would really prefer to never see a reference to a pie as anything other than something filled with fruit, chocolate or meat and vegetables.

  3. nineroutsider says: May 12, 2011 12:00 AM

    I hadn’t fully picked a side in this thing, but the players are really starting to piss me off.

  4. zaggs says: May 12, 2011 12:01 AM

    So the players are once again asking for more, remind me again how they want to get a deal done?

  5. thedizzypub says: May 12, 2011 12:05 AM

    What’s stopping the NFL from locking its doors forever, Folding the league and starting over? They have the money, the stadiums(some) and the resources to do it. You see it all the time with big companies, the union wants more money so they close up shop and open a new plant down the road. With no work for the players I don’t see a very long wait before players start showing up at the doors of a new league looking for work. The owners and league have good relationships with all the major networks. It won’t take long to get a billion dollar deal on the table. Once September rolls around the millionaire players will just be a bunch of guys with a degree in communications and PE. Hey look my new gym teacher is Tom Brady or he might be your next insurance salesman!

  6. Daboys says: May 12, 2011 12:06 AM

    First….

  7. ebenezergrymm says: May 12, 2011 12:16 AM

    When the league is closed and the players are crying “Uncle” I want video footage of Goodell walking up to DeMoron Smiths face and asking “Who’s your daddy?”

  8. prior0knowledge says: May 12, 2011 12:17 AM

    Could someone please tell me the difference between a “Lockout” and a “Shutdown?” It seems they are essentially the same thing. Both mean no football until lifted. Is there some special legal or labor difference between the two?

  9. trbowman says: May 12, 2011 12:19 AM

    I get more pessimistic about this by the day….

  10. vahawker says: May 12, 2011 12:19 AM

    Stupid people leading stupid people off the cliff. Are there no sane people involved in any of this idiocy?

  11. tommyf15 says: May 12, 2011 12:19 AM

    If the NFL owners “go out of business”, all players will be freed from their contracts and the networks will form their own football leagues.

    Don’t wet your computer chairs thinking the players will “cry uncle” in this scnario.

  12. jerrod777 says: May 12, 2011 12:23 AM

    Litigation, litigation, litigation. That’s all the players want. Let’s see how far that has gotten them. Umm – everyone is mad. The sides are farther apart. The financial pie is growing smaller all the time because fans like me are fed up. Anytime you let lawyers try to fight a multi-billion dollar fight, the only winners are lawyers. The losers are the fans, the players, and the owners. Football as we know it will not be the same. I have about had it with this!

  13. esg6string says: May 12, 2011 12:23 AM

    Or until every last fan has given up on the sport they used to love because everyone involved is some combination of too stupid and too greedy.

  14. goawayeverybody says: May 12, 2011 12:28 AM

    What a mess.

  15. Rhode Island Patriots Fan says: May 12, 2011 12:30 AM

    I don’t think I’m being overly dramatic in saying that the future success of American football and the National Football League now rests with the Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals. There’s something awfully troubling to me about any union collectively bargaining one minute, then filing a “disclaimer of interest”—and commencing an antitrust action—the next. For the sake of our game, I hope two of the three appellate judges find reversible error and vacate Judge Nelson’s order. That would deny players the substantial leverage they’ve long sought in the mediation room, and instead create a level playing field for negotiations moving forward toward a new CBA that BOTH sides can live with.

  16. GG Eden says: May 12, 2011 12:46 AM

    Yeah, eff it.

    It’s obviously something that HAS TO happen….the whole anti-trust issue in sports meeting head-on with the set up of the NFL as 32 separate entities. It’s inevitable, all we can do is painstakingly sit and wait for the events to occur. Can’t fast forward to 2012.

  17. endzonezombie says: May 12, 2011 12:47 AM

    With a trained, willing, and able workforce available, at what point will some new gazillionaires start up a new league ? The NFL has a viable blueprint for a very successful business enterprise but for a ‘unionized’ ownership group all marching to the same beat. If the NFL really was 32 separate businesses, what are the chances that all 32 teams would lock out their workforce? Those teams wanting to get a comepetitive edge on the 2011 season would be running camps right now. It is the league ‘ union’ that is the focus of the antitrust lawsuit.

  18. packfaninpackland says: May 12, 2011 12:49 AM

    Screw DeMaurice Smith and his greedy A-Hole players.

    Let the players sit for a year, I can deal with replacement players for one year. The world didn’t stop in 1987 for those few weeks when the players thought they were irreplaceable, and it wont stop now either.

    If I’m Goodell, I drop the offer to $131 million per team, and the offer goes down a million, per team, per day, until this thing is settled. And if “De” and his boys don’t accept, fine, let em rot at home until they do. I have a feeling by about week four (if not before) and the second missed paycheck, the players will come back begging.

    I’m tired of this nonsense and it needs to end NOW !

  19. wcpatsfan says: May 12, 2011 12:52 AM

    OK… I’ll give you my lunch money every day… can I just have my football back.. I’ll throw in a twinkie to sweeten the pot

  20. xsammy34x says: May 12, 2011 12:52 AM

    Uncle!!

  21. chargersz says: May 12, 2011 12:55 AM

    This situation looks like it is getting worse by the minute. I sure hope that they all realize that it will only get worse not better. Personally, with the revenue shrinking and the players demanding more who would blame the owners from shutting the doors. Especially in light of some of the other issues raised with the pending law suit by the players.

  22. sportstalkryan says: May 12, 2011 12:56 AM

    So … exactly what’s the difference between a lockout and “closing the doors”?

    Aren’t they the same thing?

    Or what exactly are the ramifications of “shutting the doors” and how is that different from a lockout? Are all contracts considered null and void?

  23. ffootballontwitter says: May 12, 2011 1:12 AM

    Players clearly don’t understand that they are key beneficiaries of the antitrust, and if they win the case, they stand to lose the most. Without the antitrust exemption, the league would be unable to enter into TV contracts, the #1 factor driving revenue growth.

    But they don’t care. The’re clearly more interested in calling Goodell names than in understanding the merits of their case. Perhaps one day they will realize what they have done by selecting a litigator to represent them.

  24. losalmon says: May 12, 2011 1:17 AM

    We’re all screwed

  25. mike41april says: May 12, 2011 1:19 AM

    I’m beginning to prepare myself mentally for the possibility of no NFL in 2011. The NFLPA is going to destroy the league as we know it in the name of pure greed. The owners are greedy as well, no question but these players are about to spin this thing out of control. If need be, I’d rather they shut the whole thing down. Let these players tap themselves dry. They are addicted to the money and the lifestyle. Eventually, they’ll have no choice but to accept what is offered to them. The key to the league’s success is in its structure. This must be preserved above all.

  26. grandsonofcoach says: May 12, 2011 1:41 AM

    Fans are crying Uncle. Just make it stop. But neither side really cares about us I guess.

  27. brothaman1 says: May 12, 2011 2:04 AM

    That is really depressing. 2011 is already turning out to be a bad year. My last bad year was 2007.

  28. emperorzero says: May 12, 2011 2:33 AM

    Clearly the players aren’t interested in negotiating in good faith. Honestly, if I was an owner, I would be pushing hard to completely shut down the league. Not all of the owners, but I have to think a good majority of them actually make their money elsewhere besides their franchise. I have to think it would be “cheaper” for them to close the doors than operate under the current conditions.

  29. squabguy says: May 12, 2011 2:55 AM

    I’m all for it as a fan now paying WAaaaaaay too much for things nowadays.

    Shut it down, let all these greedy guys who’d be making what we make do without a season.

    It’s way out of control, and something has to happen before it gets better imo.

  30. carson9 says: May 12, 2011 2:58 AM

    Im in favor of the owners here. If a team loses money then the owners lose money, and costs are passed onto fans to make up for it. The players still get paid regardless and shoulder none of the burden. I have zero sympathy for players driving up payroll costs for teams, then passing those costs to the fans. I am an ICU nurse who use to have season tickets up until 2004 when I couldn’t afford them any more. Now I barely make 2 games per year as costs continue to go up, but my paycheck is the same. Sorry NFLPA, no sympathy from this fan….

  31. Marv says: May 12, 2011 3:21 AM

    This looks very much like the owners are going to win anyway… and I like that!

  32. iamtalkingsolistenandlearn says: May 12, 2011 4:38 AM

    “From the perspective of the owners, it may be better to simply close the doors until the players finally cry, “Uncle.”

    **************************************

    Umm, I think I have been saying this for a month now

  33. fergie22 says: May 12, 2011 5:04 AM

    shut it down i don`t care anymore let them flip burgers like everyone else greed is destroying this country and these fools are a prime example both sides suck keep going and loose your fan base and see what you have to split up then

  34. saints25 says: May 12, 2011 5:48 AM

    I’ve said it all along.”SHUT THE NFL DOWN”…We cant have the players running the NFL.Besides Ill save alot of $$$$$$$$$$$$ with the NFL out of business.

  35. edjy71 says: May 12, 2011 5:49 AM

    Sorry to break it to all you NFLPA* boosters out there but the cold hard reality is that we are now at a point where the league MUST win, even if that includes a complete shutdown.

    Consider the history of labour disputes with the other leagues. Whenever the league wins, the overall health of the sport improves (NBA,NHL). Whenever the palyers win, the sport suffers (MLB).

    For the good of the sport, the league must win!

  36. eagleswin says: May 12, 2011 6:12 AM

    Bravo. An article that doesn’t take a shot a the owners and ask them to give the NFLPA whatever they want just so there is football in the fall.

  37. markeyh says: May 12, 2011 6:20 AM

    That might be the best move……I am sure McDonalds will pay the players a livable wage.

    I mean it must be very hard to remember to “Don’t offer ketchup” because those packs cost .50 cents a pack….

    Or to ask……Do fries go with that shake?

  38. deanvernonwormer says: May 12, 2011 6:28 AM

    Why don’t you two jerk offs (jag offs if you’re in the midwest) just split the difference and call it a day?

  39. mackie66 says: May 12, 2011 7:16 AM

    I read where, if the owners close down , the networks will form their own football league. It wont be named the NFL or AFL or UFL. Sorry that dog wont hunt. The players might be released from their contracts to be able to sign where they want to, but will be paid what the owners want to pay, not what the CBA says to pay. Maybe some of you remember the airline stricks in the mid 80′s. Some airlines went belly up and employees lost their jobs. Thats called cutting your own throat which is what the players are attempting to do to the NFL. No draft, all the money they (players) want, when they want it. The billionares wont go for that, they’ll simply close down.

  40. mhs8031 says: May 12, 2011 7:40 AM

    Everyone is waiting for the season to begin–they see that as the breaking point for both sides. Ironically, it is.

    If this drags out that long, then both sides are idiots. I see the biggest problem as being DeMaurice Smith. He thinks you fight to win. But when you are parasite and you try to kill the host, you only realize what you have done after it is too late.

    The players need to fire Smith and hire another team. That would show a good-faith effort to resolve this issue and rid them of a leader trying to feed his Napolean complex.

  41. bobbyhoying says: May 12, 2011 7:56 AM

    If the NCAA had a true playoff format for the national championship the NFL might be delivered a knockout blow.

  42. oldbyrd says: May 12, 2011 8:23 AM

    First of all De Moron Smith is so far over his head that he can hear the Angels sing. He is a idiot. Has no place in any legal matters. He is simply an over paid big mouth. This 3′-1″ marxist should get out before there is no football at all. Here is a fact 80% of football players retire broke. This shows you what they know. They have no right to ask for a single dime from the owners. They didn’t put up a cent to start this thing. Like all communists they just want. How smart can you be to have D Idiot Smith working for you.? REALLY

  43. shawon0meter says: May 12, 2011 8:28 AM

    The owners should just agree to $159milion and only spend $141million then…lockout over

  44. garkeith says: May 12, 2011 8:33 AM

    I have paid double the attention I would in a normal year to the NBA. This could be the best thing that ever happened to them.

    NCAA should start planning Sunday games for this year.

  45. petedutcher says: May 12, 2011 8:48 AM

    Here’s a thought…the owners could purchase the rights to the XFL and restructure that organization and it’s rules.

    Then they could close up shop on the NFL permanantly.

    If the owners were to shup down and start a new league, the players would be able to legally claim it was only done to thwart them. By purchasing another league and expanding it, the XFL would have already been in existance and the players cannot make that claim.

    However, I don’t believe a shut down is coming

    Simply because the owners would instantly become liable for outstanding contracts…to players, advertisers and networks. It would cost them far too much to do it.

    Another negative would be team name changes. As a Buccaneers fan, I do NOT want them to change their name. And I’m sure other fans feel the same about their own teams as well.

    And the name changes would have to happen…because otherwise the players would claim nothing has really changed and that the NFL just changed the name of their league.

  46. petedutcher says: May 12, 2011 8:51 AM

    Another angle, Mike…

    Rumors that the league is developing new rules for the new season should hte stay be lifted have clearly surfaced…but what if these rules are actually covertly intended for a new league?

  47. jlinatl says: May 12, 2011 8:59 AM

    I can’t help but think this whole mess is the result of the player’s voting for an attorney rather than a competent ex-player to run the union.

    Attorneys spend a lot of time, money and effort learning legal. Almost no time learning about what is “in the best interest of”. That’s why marketing and operations people avoid them. (It’s also why my divorce cost more than my first car… not that I’m bitter).

    What is in the best interest of both these parties is not what is deemed legal regardless of the rulings.

  48. thefiesty1 says: May 12, 2011 9:09 AM

    Judge Nelson’s decision gave the players an inch. Now they want more. That figures. The players will not agree to anything now until they take ALL of the pie. This is all so ridiculous. One of these days they’ll be talking about REAL money.

  49. snowpea84 says: May 12, 2011 9:11 AM

    I’m excited. I’m rooting for a shut down to give these players proper prespective.

  50. jmikeh73 says: May 12, 2011 9:28 AM

    wow. this is great news.

    go Liverpool.

  51. mwt5584 says: May 12, 2011 9:42 AM

    The past couple of months have made me realize how much I love baseball.

  52. gregjennings85 says: May 12, 2011 9:42 AM

    This site restrict post so thoroughly and despises anything not supported by billionaires so vigorously it flies in the face of anything remotely resembling an objective journalistic outlet.

    Please, after 3 attempts, post this.

  53. gregjennings85 says: May 12, 2011 9:43 AM

    I stopped reading after this snippet:

    “The players are believed to have…”

  54. havoksports says: May 12, 2011 9:49 AM

    Once again the fans equal=poop in everyone’s eyes. No one really cares. And its sad because most if not all of these players at one time were that a fan and now they don’t care. We need to ban together and show our leverage by not buying or watching any NFL next year and flex our muscles…. Problem is IDK if i could go one weekend with out any pro football… How do you boycott your favorite thing ?

  55. semperfi24 says: May 12, 2011 9:52 AM

    Daboys says:May 12, 2011 12:06 AM

    First….

    _______________________________

    You misspelled “sixth”

  56. crazy2bbengals says: May 12, 2011 10:02 AM

    Easy solution to force honest negotiations…Live tv coverage. What else does the NFL Network have going on?

  57. captainobvious1 says: May 12, 2011 10:11 AM

    The players are certainly acting like spoiled children and deserve the criticism that comes their way. However, all of this would have been avoided if the NFL hadn’t opted out of the CBA. Just sayin’.

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