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A strong hint that a deal could be coming

James Quinn and Jeffrey Kessler, attorneys for the NFL Players Association enter a federal courthouse to resume court-ordered mediation in Minneapolis Reuters

As the media does its best to read the tea leaves regarding when or if a new CBA is coming, here’s one that arguably has more meaning than any others.

Jim Trotter of SI.com reports that the NFLPA* has renegotiated its contracts with outside counsel, and that the term “flat fee” is part of the deal.

This development strongly implies that guys like Jeffrey Kessler and Jim Quinn weren’t previously being paid by the hour in the Tom Brady lawsuit, but pursuant to a contingency fee arrangement, which would have given them a piece of the eventual verdict.  Given that such a judgment after a lost season of football and the antitrust trebling effect could have exceeded $12 billion, the lawyers could have gotten $4 billion or more, subject to court approval.

By converting to a “flat fee,” the lawyers will get a sum certain, regardless of outcome or the amount of time spent on the matter.

That said, there’s also a chance that the adjustment has been made solely in order to reduce the heat on the lawyers, who are perceived to be an impediment to getting a deal done.  By changing their compensation to a flat fee, it becomes harder to claim that they are trying to milk as many billable hours as possible out of the cash cow, or that they’re holding out for their 33.333333 percent of a gargantuan verdict.

Our flat fee is on the former.  There’s no way that the lawyers would agree to a fixed sum for handling the balance of a lawsuit that could drag on, in theory, for years absent some certainty as to how much more time they’ll need to devote to the process.

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58 Responses to “A strong hint that a deal could be coming”
  1. bradentonbuc says: Jul 5, 2011 5:40 PM

    So are you saying Tom Brady has a hand in holding things up?

  2. footballfanatic3431 says: Jul 5, 2011 5:44 PM

    Just wait for it. Don’t get your hopes up yet.

    I’m waiting for any of the following headlines

    “Talks Break Down, Mediation Cancelled”
    “NFLPA Storm Out Of Mediation”
    “Jerry Jones Pounds Fists Together, Screws Up Talks Again”

  3. chazk100 says: Jul 5, 2011 5:51 PM

    YES!

  4. bolt4life says: Jul 5, 2011 5:54 PM

    @footballfanatic3431 That’s funny. Except those titles are too straight forward. PFT will put a title out on Twitter that vaguely relates to the meat of the article lol.

  5. paulseiferth says: Jul 5, 2011 5:55 PM

    uh oh, my hopes are up . . .

  6. dryheaveone says: Jul 5, 2011 5:58 PM

    I agree footballfanatic3431, would not surprise me at all if we do see one of those headlines. Every day there is a report a deal is close THE VERY NEXT DAY there is another report with somebody saying, “well, not that close, alot of work has to be done”….BLAH-BLAH-BLAH

  7. minormillikin says: Jul 5, 2011 6:06 PM

    Though the world wouldn’t necessarily be more productive, it would definitely be better if all the lawyers would quit and become football bloggers.

  8. realfann says: Jul 5, 2011 6:08 PM

    The notion that the players lawyers were in line to make $4 billion is absurd.

  9. skoobyfl says: Jul 5, 2011 6:08 PM

    I mentioned a deal will become “official” it earlier today & I mentioned yesterday that the NFLPA attorney’s were reaching for there piece of a $12 Billion pie.

    Prepare.

  10. apdynasty23 says: Jul 5, 2011 6:09 PM

    @footballfanatic3431, you forgot the silly ass “*” PFT puts after “NFLPA” in every headline…

  11. descendency says: Jul 5, 2011 6:11 PM

    This definitely removes the motivation for the lawyers to push for a win in the Tom Brady (and company) antitrust lawsuit

  12. gregski79 says: Jul 5, 2011 6:13 PM

    Funny how yesterday the retired players filed suit to be part of the negotiations and today the actual case lawyers were negotiating on their behalf. Can we the fans negotiate to get some discounts from NFL teams?

  13. iamgoodkid says: Jul 5, 2011 6:17 PM

    yeah yeah yeah ok like im going to believe that i dont believe anything they say

  14. iamgoodkid says: Jul 5, 2011 6:18 PM

    me too im waiting for the negative headlines im waiting for it right here on my couch

  15. vetdana says: Jul 5, 2011 6:22 PM

    Before I would get excited and read too much into this……I would have to see the renegotiated contract and ascertain exactly what services were included and for what fee. I have been a party to many “flat fee” contracts and there can be many “spaces between the lines”. Lets see the contract.

  16. bucforever says: Jul 5, 2011 6:27 PM

    OMG, Please let it be so!!!!

  17. grandpoopah says: Jul 5, 2011 6:31 PM

    $4 billion for lawyers.

  18. ravensfan4life52 says: Jul 5, 2011 6:34 PM

    get it done!

  19. njdevil7 says: Jul 5, 2011 6:34 PM

    Those two lawyers have the most punchable faces….

  20. dannymac17 says: Jul 5, 2011 6:41 PM

    So, in essence, youre saying we’re a lot closer than we were about “silver thinks a deal is coming” 3 hours ago?

    Thanks for the update.

  21. xliontamer says: Jul 5, 2011 6:43 PM

    The real sign will be when the asterisk is removed from the NFLPA*…

  22. leftysmoke says: Jul 5, 2011 6:45 PM

    When I see the title, “Done deal: Free Agency to start at 12 am EST”

    I’ll be ecstatic. Until then, I’m going to stay pessimistic.

  23. hedleykow says: Jul 5, 2011 6:46 PM

    Las Vegas M Resort Race and Sportsbook has already released lines for all 256 regular season games on the schedule. Step up to the counter, boys.

  24. time2speakup says: Jul 5, 2011 6:50 PM

    Yeaaa! Or whatever.

  25. laeaglefan says: Jul 5, 2011 6:50 PM

    Well, that’s good news that the lawyers are working for a flat fee. Its human nature to want to do as little work as possible for a fixed amount of money. That means that they’ll try to expedite the process now.

  26. scoopandslam says: Jul 5, 2011 6:54 PM

    A strong hint that a deal could be coming

    The annual Brett Favre-is-returning rumors have begun to swirl.

  27. adsbad28 says: Jul 5, 2011 6:56 PM

    I’ll believe it when i see it

  28. yajas says: Jul 5, 2011 6:58 PM

    No law firm should ever be allowed to collect 4 billion in fees under any circumstances.

    (And no plantiff should ever be allowed to collect 12 billion either.)

  29. Patriot42 says: Jul 5, 2011 6:59 PM

    I hope it all blows up.

  30. iamgoodkid says: Jul 5, 2011 6:59 PM

    @footballfanatic or “retired players screw up negotiations” how about that

  31. eaglesnoles05 says: Jul 5, 2011 6:59 PM

    Please make that picture stop. Do the deal!

  32. realitypolice says: Jul 5, 2011 7:02 PM

    I love all of the thumbs up for the chicken littles fretting about the imaginary coming headlines about the deal falling apart.

    It’s not going to happen. The season was never in jeopardy. As I have been posting pretty consistently since March, this has all been a well choreographed dance with both sides angling for leverage but knowing full well when the deal had to be done by.

    The lawyers are writing up the fine print today and tomorrow, and Smith and Goodell will sit down starting Thursday and finish it up.

    Trust me.

  33. tmaczoozoo says: Jul 5, 2011 7:04 PM

    Dude in that picture looks like his name should be Boner McReady…

  34. bobbyd12 says: Jul 5, 2011 7:05 PM

    I do not see anything in this article that is a “strong hint” on anything. Nothing has changed, August will be the earliest this thing will be done.

  35. murraysons says: Jul 5, 2011 7:06 PM

    I hate all this crap, just play some damn football already! Aaaaaaaaaa i hate lawyer talk

  36. bearskoolaid1985 says: Jul 5, 2011 7:08 PM

    Don’t forget the Kessler (THE NFL/NBA HATING LAWYER) has his own agend. His ego wants nother better then to kill the NFL and to make it known that he did it.

  37. gimmeabruschi says: Jul 5, 2011 7:11 PM

    This has been classic.

    The owners asked high and now that real money could actually be lost, the players will concede some cash to the billionaires. It’s the same tactic every employer uses in a labor negotiation.

    The players tried the court card and it didn’t work. Now it’s just a matter of exactly where they slice the owner’s larger piece of the pie.

    If the players had the upper hand in this from the start they would have gone on strike, not be locked out.

  38. stairwayto7 says: Jul 5, 2011 7:16 PM

    No deal is close! A deal won’t be signed until Sept 27 at the earliest!

  39. CKL says: Jul 5, 2011 7:18 PM

    Yeah it’s been a rollercoaster all right. I usually love all rollercoasters but NOT this one!
    This is the lame one you wait in line all day for then the park closes before you get to ride it.

  40. 808raiderinparadise says: Jul 5, 2011 7:20 PM

    really? really now? after reading this I am suppossed to think a deal is close? This article meant nothing to me regrading any end to the lockout. I think the HOF game talks are more settling than this lawyer “flat fee” oooooooooooooohhhhh wooooooowwwwwwwww

  41. ravensfan4life52 says: Jul 5, 2011 7:26 PM

    i say “get it done!” and get 2 thumbs down. it’s nice to know that Jeffrey Kessler and Jim Quinn use PFT.

  42. revischrist24 says: Jul 5, 2011 7:37 PM

    As the great Antonio Cromartie would say, they gotta get this sh!t done.

  43. icewalker946 says: Jul 5, 2011 7:48 PM

    I still have my own deadline and I’m getting nervous now……

    August 1st…..if no deal is done by August 2nd 12:01am I’m doing something else on my Sundays.

    No one needs to join me, no one has to go to my website (since I don’t have one) but I want this to hurt me if they don’t get their act together.

    My family is hoping it gets done….on August 3rd!

  44. tommyf15 says: Jul 5, 2011 7:49 PM

    Here’s what happens next, either tonight or tomorrow:

    1. DeMaurice Smith will communicate to someone that a deal is not done yet, and no one should be overly oprimistic.

    2. PFT will report this.

    3. The usual suspects will post anti-Smith rhetoric.

    Truth is, Smith would be prudent not to appear optimistic until a deal is *signed*. Supposedly Smith has done a tremendous job getting the players prepared for the lockout by convincing the vast majority of the players to have enough money saved up to miss an entire season if need be. But you know these guys are going to buy themselves some expensive gifts as soon as this is all over.

    The last thing the NFLPA needs is for some player to go out and buy a Porsche based on a rumor that the end of the lockout is near. As soon as the owners get wind of that, it weakens the collective players’ position.

  45. RussianBreadMaker says: Jul 5, 2011 8:24 PM

    Same report, different day

  46. buzzardpointlookout says: Jul 5, 2011 8:26 PM

    njdevil7 says:

    Jul 5, 2011 6:34 PM

    Those two lawyers have the most punchable faces….

    Most intelligent comment in PFT history.

  47. southmo says: Jul 5, 2011 8:31 PM

    To you guys who are assuring us all that you knew all along this would happen and that you predicted such and such months ago.

    Fine. Gloat all you want. If NFL football stays intact, I’m happy, too.

  48. lawyermalloy says: Jul 5, 2011 8:35 PM

    I don’t believe for a second that lawyers, in an anti-trust case would take on such a complicated case for a flat fee.

  49. tmoney420 says: Jul 5, 2011 8:40 PM

    Wouldn’t a flat fee mean a move from hourly billing to a flat fee? These are major law firms, not personal injury attorneys, and I doubt even the NFLPA* is dumb enough to risk giving an attorney $4 BILLION. Come on dude.

  50. tommyf15 says: Jul 5, 2011 9:16 PM

    tmoney420 says:
    Wouldn’t a flat fee mean a move from hourly billing to a flat fee? These are major law firms, not personal injury attorneys, and I doubt even the NFLPA* is dumb enough to risk giving an attorney $4 BILLION.

    1. Looking at it differently, the attorneys would be GETTING the players $12 Billion (or whatever the number is) and the players would be sharing a percentage with them.

    2. We don’t know what the agreement or percentage is / would be. It’s all speculation.

  51. My Lord is Loyal says: Jul 5, 2011 10:32 PM

    This reminds me of the Keisha song “blah, blah, blah”

  52. mjkelly77 says: Jul 5, 2011 10:32 PM

    Flat fee. I’m thinking that this means that the litigation will be rescinded due an agreement on a new CBA. The owners will insist as part of the agreement that the litigation and the attorneys go buh-bye. The attorneys who were smelling potential big bucks in compensation now realize they get zip from a court case that never happens. As a consequence, they’ll need to be compensated for their time and effort. Flat fee. I think a new CBA is in the works.

  53. nahcouldntbethat says: Jul 5, 2011 11:33 PM

    If true this is a smart move by the NFLPA*.

    Some of the players are not as damaged as others by the prospect of missing a season due to litigation, however the current players as a class are definitely hurt by a missed season.

    The NFLPA* can’t look after the interests of some of it’s members while ignoring others. If you’re a second or third year player barely hanging on to a job at this point you can’t afford to miss next season. There will be two rookie classes competing with you for a job in 2012 and the odds you’ll keep a roster slot are much lower.

    Flat fee is definitely the way to go, to give the lawyers every incentive to do what’s right for the players. All of the players, not just the top 40-50% who are pretty much guaranteed to be ok no matter what happens.

  54. tommyf15 says: Jul 5, 2011 11:48 PM

    yajas says:
    no plantiff should ever be allowed to collect 12 billion either.

    What if someone was legitimately screwed out of $12 Billion?

    If the owners want to stay away from $12 B in damages, it’s easy- just don’t violate anti-trust laws.

    Everyone here is screaming about the players filing an anti-trust suit, and the “don’t litigate, negotiate!” cliche has been endlessly tossed around. But think about what happened the last time a sports league locked out the players and the sides “just negotiated”. That was the NHL, and they lost an entire season.

    At worst, the anti-trust suit gives the owners incentive to actually get a deal done, and to not put the sport on ice for an indefinite timeframe.

  55. stevo8drum says: Jul 6, 2011 2:44 AM

    O…. Can the eagles build a D now?? s

  56. dmretrogames says: Jul 6, 2011 7:56 AM

    “I still have my own deadline and I’m getting nervous now……

    August 1st…..if no deal is done by August 2nd 12:01am I’m doing something else on my Sundays.”

    Bullcrap. If they get a deal done September 1st and have 10 days of practice, you’ll be watching on September 11, with the rest of us.

    You know it, I know it, and most importantly, the NFL knows it.

  57. oldbyrd says: Jul 6, 2011 7:57 AM

    Oh, I thought you were going to report that the lockout was over and they locked up D Moron Smith . Has anyone ever seen a real idiot behind bars? He is killing the players.

  58. ernestbynershands says: Jul 6, 2011 10:18 AM

    Why waste time and money on lawyers. They are ALL arrogant, greedy, self-serving wastes of organic matter.
    What we should be wasting on lawyers are bullets.
    The lawyers in the NFL cases have their hands in other pro sports CBAs they are spinning this so they make a chunk. The are playing one side against another and the only side to win? Lawyers.
    These lawyers should be tried on antitrust charges.
    Disbar them. Tar and feather them. Save the bullets.

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