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“True up” apparently is still on the table

NFL And Players Resume Mediation Getty Images

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.

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33 Responses to ““True up” apparently is still on the table”
  1. airraid77 says: May 25, 2011 8:51 AM

    simple logic proven by owners behavior in salary spending, THE more money the owners make, the more money the players make….HOW SUCCESSFUL BUISNESS RUNS. If a buisness is
    losing, it always ends up the same way the with the going out of buisness 40 pct off sale signs.

  2. clayshair says: May 25, 2011 8:52 AM

    So, I take it that if the league generates LESS revenue in the coming years, the players will still be willing to “true up” by taking cuts in pay?

  3. grpatriot says: May 25, 2011 8:54 AM

    A deal need to be done sone! No camp= bad football for a couple of months…

  4. jimphin says: May 25, 2011 8:55 AM

    That NFLPA Union appears to be a great negotiating party.

    1) They assume things.
    2) They want “Roughly” 50 cent of every dollar.

    There you go again with that “roughly” stuff. Really? Is that the best you can do?

  5. vahawker says: May 25, 2011 8:56 AM

    Still waiting for the “True Down” where players give back money if the league doesn’t hit projections. After all,they ARE partners right? I won’t hold my breath

  6. blantoncollier says: May 25, 2011 8:57 AM

    It all comes down to if — and when — the two sides want to get a deal done
    _____________________________

    No it all comes down to if–and when–DeKessler decides to get a deal done. At every opportunity the Owners have put a deal on the table and at every opportunity DeKessler has either walked out of the room or failed to respond to the owners offer.

    Because you know getting more money every year than the year before, “is the worst offer in the history of sports.”

  7. armchairgm9 says: May 25, 2011 9:00 AM

    At any point, now that the NFLPA* is a trade association, the players can hold a vote and 51% of the vote on anything and they can move on it. Say, like, remove DeMaurice Smith from his negotiating position…

  8. mightymightylafootball says: May 25, 2011 9:01 AM

    “…inclusion of a so-called ‘true up’ provision (i.e., a sharing of revenue that exceeds the league’s projections for a given year)”

    *~*~*~*~*~*~*

    Does it work both ways?

    If revenues are better than expected, owners are being asked share the extras with the players. I get that – that’s fair.

    If revenues are worse than expected, will players be being asked to take a cut (i.e., lowering the salary cap in the following year)?

    That’s fair too, right?

  9. eagiants says: May 25, 2011 9:07 AM

    Again, the owners seem to be open to at least some sort of compromise and again…there is no response from the *NFLPA. Please get back to negotiating boys and girls.

  10. wiley16350 says: May 25, 2011 9:10 AM

    If you’re pro-player here are some things to think about.

    There are three trends that the NFL owners have noticed happening that has them fighting so hard in these negotiations. These are:
    1. Fans and cities no longer want to spend their tax dollars on new stadiums or to update current stadiums. So the owners and the NFL have to start using their own money or move to new cities that will. The NFL has decided to take from the players so that they can use their own money.
    2. Teams (even playoff contenders) have seen a decline in attendance and the owners know they have reached a limit on ticket price increases. So they have one less way of creating more revenue.
    3. Many teams have seen a steady decline in profit margins and sooner or later some of the clubs may not become profitable. If they do not make money then they need to be moved.

    So the owners need to find a way to either make more money (through the fans) or find a way to reduce costs. They have decided to reduce costs (because the fans have reached their limit) by not giving the players as much of an increase in the revenue year to year. Let’s be clear here, the players are not being asked to take a cut in pay. The players are being asked to take less of an increase in salary cap then they would have according to the prior deal. In short, they are being asked to take less of a pay raise. In return, the NFL has offered a much better benefits package. The benefits package will greatly benefit every player in the NFL. Taking less of a raise will affect very few players (if any). While there will be players who are asked to take a pay cut (because of a very high cap number), these are more than likely the same players that would be asked to take a cut under the past deal. So if the owners win this negotiation, the only true loser is DeMaurice Smith. If the players win, the only people that benefit will be the players. That’s only if they get an improved benefits package (cause if they keep the same deal as before then only free agents really win). And many people could lose, depending on how much the players win. The movement of teams, loss of competitive balance and much higher costs for fans are real possibilities if the owners lose these negotiations. There is no benefit to us if the players win, so I am pro owner. I feel it is best for the game we love so much.

  11. cl8n82 says: May 25, 2011 9:12 AM

    Just get a deal done.. i dont care how or who “WINS” just start negotiating so the deal can get done. The only one still fighting it are the “Stars” that will gain the most..

  12. Southpaw says: May 25, 2011 9:19 AM

    If they don’t get a deal done soon, there isn’t going to be excess profit to “true up” because everyones going to be watching college ball

  13. grandsonofcoach says: May 25, 2011 9:43 AM

    In my line of work my company spends about 20% on fixed costs including salaries. With salaries being a small percentage of that 20%. To spend more would harm the long term viability of the company. And while the NFL may be a different animal (although the NFLPA* doesn’t treat it as such using labor laws written for common business to solidify their position) 50 cents on every dollar seems quite extreme. No other employee base takes that kind of cut.

  14. grandsonofcoach says: May 25, 2011 9:51 AM

    Also consider if the players took a smaller, more realistic cut of the proceeds we could press the owners to pay for their own stadiums and get those costs of the backs of the taxpayers who are struggling right now.

  15. tiredofthestupid says: May 25, 2011 9:52 AM

    Seriously? You guys keep asking if the revenue goes down, does the player’s salaries go down? Do you not understand what 50% means?

    Revenue goes down, the total dollars AVAILABLE for the salary cap goes down. Why do you think the players want to make sure if the revenue goes UP, they get a piece of that. Because if it goes down, the total DOLLAR AMOUNT for all the players most assuredly goes DOWN.

    See how math works?

    Does that mean an expensive or underperfoming vet gets cut? You bet. Does Peyton Manning get to keep his 20 mil salary? Most likely.

    The gleeful hate for guys you purportedly “root” for is shameful.

    I know, I know, you root for your “team”. I get it. You are so loyal to a business that will pack up and leave in a moment’s notice for a bigger, better deal when it comes available that you are in the tank for uber rich guys who, more than likely, inherited their wealth/team and hold some city hostage for that dreaded socialism you all hate called “subsidies” for billion dollar stadiums most of us could never afford to go to.

    Well done. The royal, protected wealthy of America thanks you for your support.

  16. rad312 says: May 25, 2011 9:57 AM

    Players it is time to man-up, stop swallowing the BS you have been fed by De Smith and Kessler, and get back to the bargaining table!

  17. zxcvbnmjhgfdsa says: May 25, 2011 10:01 AM

    J. Pash:

    “There are some who have suggested that you take the share of revenues that the players were receiving (‘true up’) and then you modify, REDUCE the share of the next set of revenues.”

    Sneeeeky, Mr. Pash. That’s hilarious. Mr. De Smith, you better listen VERY closely to what the lawyers say.

  18. zxcvbnmjhgfdsa says: May 25, 2011 10:04 AM

    Hmm, Mr. Pash, I wonder who suggested that?

  19. djrando7 says: May 25, 2011 10:25 AM

    What I would like to know, is where are the main three “players” at during all of this. Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, and Drew Brees. For them to be the first reaction to getting this into the court systems (and being in the top ten percentile of pay in the league), they should be the front runner of explaining all that is going on to the fans, and the players. There is too much he said she said. The players that don’t make over ten million a year are starting to get antsy. They may not be getting paid right now, but they are losing out on perdiem, workout bonus, and the value time of OTA’s with all the coaches, and rookies learning their new system. This is important for guys that might be in a contract year, or coming off an injury (DOOM). Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, and Drew Brees are just enjoying their time off. They could care less about anyone else but themselves. It’s time to be MEN for crying out loud, and get back to the table, LOCK THE DAMN DOORS, and get this DAMN DEAL DONE. ENOUGH ALREADY. You all look ridiculous.

  20. djrando7 says: May 25, 2011 10:28 AM

    One other note. If any of you players are reading these comments, remember one MAJOR thing: DeDouche Smith and Kessler are getting paid….BIG TIME….right now. You ARE NOT. Think about it. Why would either of them want this to be over? They are laughing driving away in their Bentleys, going home to their 10mil dollar house. They don’t care about the average NFL player, they are so far removed, and shoved up Manning, Brees, and Brady’s butt, they have no room to even think of anyone else but the big players.

  21. nepatsfan83 says: May 25, 2011 10:39 AM

    A true-up? Really? So what happens if league doesn’t exceed the projected revenues and comes in lower? Does that mean the players will get less? Reminds me of the movie Mr. Deeds when the QB comes in to renegotiate his contract “So you want a raise because you had one good year” “So if you have a bad year does that mean we can take back the money” QB “oh hells no”.

    The players are really starting to look extremely greedy in my eyes. A $150 million salary cap is, on average, over $2 million per player on the team. That would take someone making $50K per year, 40 years to earn. But hey, the owners arent being fair right!! ridiculous!! Not to mention on the last deal that if a player plays only 4 years, he gets his FULL pension!! Hell that is better than what these state workers are getting across the country!!

  22. willycents says: May 25, 2011 10:52 AM

    It would be a waste of time for the NFLPA* to fire DeSmith. He is now the paid shill for Brady, et al. Only way for DeSmith to get fired and out of this situation is for Brady, et al to fire him from the legal team representing him.
    To those of you wanting negotiations(me included), there is no legal entity to represent the players side in negotiations due to the decertification of the union. The only negotiations we can possibly get at this point is a settlement of the Brady, et al lawsuit.
    What is probable is that, if those players ‘win’ is that the legal team, including DeSmith, will write a settlement of the suit and submit it to the judge for approval and signing. Once the judge signs said writ, whatever they wrote is the new law in this case. (and the owners blow up the league)

    I firmly believe that, if a group of players formed a new group to negotiate, DeSmith and cohorts, would immediately go to court to prevent it….sue their own clients to protect their $1000 an hour jobs.

  23. zxcvbnmjhgfdsa says: May 25, 2011 10:57 AM

    Reporter to Babe Ruth:

    “You made more than the President (Hoover).”

    Ruth: “I had a better year.”

  24. klunge says: May 25, 2011 10:59 AM

    @tiredofthestupid:
    It’s laughable that you think player’s salaries will fluctuate up & down with simple math based on projected league income. They already sit out/hold out to get big contracts made bigger, and usually refuse to take pay cuts even when they perform poorly. You can’t possibly think they’d agree to a CBA that allows their salaries to be adjusted down annually.

    They want a salary floor (which increases yearly) plus the so-called “true-up”. Share in the profits while assuming none of the risk. It’s like buying stocks expecting a company to guarantee if shares go up you get dividends but if they fall the company has to buy them back at original price. Everyone would invest if there was no risk, but that is not reality…except in the NFL.

    The other reason that won’t work is unlike other unions who have set pay scales based on position and experience, NFL players still negotiate independent contracts for themselves. Every contract longer than 1yr would be useless, since it would have to be renegotiated annually, and the only way to significantly impact salary cap is to go after the highly paid players like Manning who gets 20% of the teams money while the 52 other guys split the rest. Yeah right, egomaniac superstars are going to just take one for the team and give back all that money.

  25. airraid77 says: May 25, 2011 11:06 AM

    the players win the law suit, the league and all the leagues are done. professional athletes will be no more….
    the players have to know this….which is why i can see a true uprising by the common player so to speak.

  26. jbcommonsense says: May 25, 2011 11:10 AM

    I see no problem with a ”true down” when profits decrease, nor do I have a problem with the stadium/costs-are-rising argument. Great, if the owners will kindly open their books we can evaluate just how to divide the profits evenly.

  27. vahawker says: May 25, 2011 11:19 AM

    tiredofthestupid says: May 25, 2011 9:52 AM

    Seriously? You guys keep asking if the revenue goes down, does the player’s salaries go down? Do you not understand what 50% means?

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

    Previous statements said they want a GUARANTEED cap with additional “true up” money. Therefore, if revenues fall, the cap is still GUARANTEED and no money is given back.

    PFT 3/30/11
    The “pegged cap” system uses revenue projections to determine the numbers. If the actual numbers come in lower, the players still get paid.

  28. willycents says: May 25, 2011 11:33 AM

    @ jbcommensense

    The owners offered 5 years of third party audited books, omitting the names of the teams. The Broncos and the Bears offered to open ten years of books, the Packers books for the last 50 years are available to public view via the SEC filings.

    The players responded with a great big EFFFFFF YOU. Why did not the players at least accept the offer and take a look at those offered books? Probably because they would show what the majority of owners was saying was true, and would put the players in a bad situation, especially in a public relations standpoint and would put them in a position of having to admit that the owners, at least those three teams, had a valid point.

    Why don’t the players offer to be allowed to look at the books,, and put up a $1B bond to guarantee the secrecy of that data, with the bond to be split amongst the owners whose data is “leaked” to the media?
    At least, that would be an offer of some sort from the players. After all, they made more of the gross revenues last year than the owners did, so they should be able to pony up a simple 25% of that sum. After all, they wanted the league to pony up a $1B bond to appeal the runling out of Minnesota, didn’t they? Fair is fair.

  29. tiredofthestupid says: May 25, 2011 11:39 AM

    From Wikipedia,

    “The cap was introduced for the 1994 season and was initially $34.6 million. Both the cap and the floor were adjusted annually based on the league’s revenues, and they increased each year. In 2009, the final capped year under the current CBA, the cap was $128 million per team, while the floor was 87.6% of the cap. Using the formula provided in the league’s collective bargaining agreement, the floor in 2009 was $112.1 million. The salary floor percentage would have increased 1.2% per year until it reached 90% of the cap in 2011.:

    Guys what this means is: LEAGUE REVENUE HAS GONE UP EVERY YEAR SINCE 1994.

    And that is AFTER the 1 BILLION is taken off the top of the Gross Revenue.

    So…sorry, where is GUARANTEED in any document.

    And the NFL offered a SET fee (pegged) in the latest offer, with a declining upward revenue percentage. Why? They are not anticipating revenues going down. The PREVIOUS CBA does not guarantee anything other than a percentage of revenue set aside for the Salary Cap. If revenues had gone down, so would the Salary Cap/available money for the players.

  30. southmo says: May 25, 2011 11:46 AM

    Pash is right, there are a lot of ways to bridge the gap between the players and the owners. Unfortunately since the players refuse to make a counter-proposal, there’s no way to know where to build that bridge.

  31. rogerfromoz says: May 25, 2011 11:52 AM

    when will the lawyers get out of the way so a new deal can get negotiated? they are ruining football so could someone on both sides please get them out of this process? the nonsense and garbage they spout about true ups and worst deal in the history of sports is idiotic. someone with common sense please step forward.

  32. depotnator says: May 25, 2011 12:08 PM

    “Again, the owners seem to be open to at least some sort of compromise and again…there is no response from the *NFLPA. Please get back to negotiating boys and girls.”

    Don’t be a fool…this is just sudden PR spin by the league. We are hearing this for the FIRST time over 70 days into the lockout. Even PFT is a little surprised to hear this huge concession only now. When the players used this ‘true up’ issue to decertify, the league could have immediately responded that ‘ tue up’ was negotiable. They didn’t then, and they didn’t in any subsequent negotiating session. NOW we hear about this as the league stalls waiting for June 3rd litigation to resume. Perhaps they are saying this now for the 8th Circuit to hear.

  33. southmo says: May 25, 2011 12:35 PM

    depotnator… criticizes the owners for bringing up this “NOW” when he should be asking why the players haven’t made a single concession or proposal on anything either THEN or NOW…

    How I wish the players would also decide to try some “sudden PR spin” and actually made an offer of some kind.

    If the players did make a counter-proposal that was somewhere close to reasonable, they’d be amazed how much PR help that would be. I’d sure be breathing a sigh of relief that actual progress could be made.

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