When the NFL extended an offer to the players on March 11 without the inclusion of a so-called “true up” provision (i.e., a sharing of revenue that exceeds the league’s projections for a given year), the pre-asterisked NFLPA assumed that the “true up” was off the table. Based on Tuesday’s comments from NFL general counsel Jeff Pash, it appears that a “true up” could still be included in the final deal, if/when a final deal is reached.
“There are a lot of ways to bridge those gaps,” Pash told the media from the league meetings in Indianapolis regarding the financial divide between the two sides. “You could have a percentage basis. You could have a fixed level with some sort of a base, what has come to be called ‘true up’ to reflect revenue increases on some basis. There are some who have suggested that you take the share of revenues that players were receiving up to a certain point and then you modify, reduce the share of the next set of revenues. I have heard that suggestion as well. So there are a lot of ways that this could be done. It is really just a question of who is going to do it — by which I mean we should do that together. Those are decisions, issues and discussions best had between the clubs and the players rather than submitting them for courts, judges, juries, appeals and things like that. I think we can decide them quite capably.”
Of course, there’s a difference between picking a system for splitting up the money and coming to an agreement as to how that system will be utilized. At the end of the day, the heart of the dispute remains that the NFLPA* believes, under any formula used, that the players should receive roughly 50 cents of every dollar in revenue. The league wants to reduce that share, but the league also believes that the total dollars paid to all players can and will continue to increase.
It all comes down to if — and when — the two sides want to get a deal done. With players starting to speak up and speak out regarding a desire to figure this thing out, the time could be approaching when real talks will occur.