How close is “close”? Making sense of where things stand

Reuters

Plenty of reports suggest that, once the NFL and the players hammer out the terms of a new rookie wage scale, which as Ross Tucker astutely observes via Twitter already is a win for the owners based on the current players’ proposal, the CBA will be, for all intents and purposes, a done deal.  But then there are those scattered quotes and reports suggesting that things aren’t quite as simple as bridging a fairly narrow gap between the league’s plan and the players’ proposal for paying first-rounders in year five.

“All that is hype coming from the owners side to try and put pressure on us to do a deal,” an unnamed player told Pete Prisco of CBSSports.com, as Rosenthal pointed out Monday.  “They want to make us look bad.  It’s simply not true.  There is a lot of work to be done.  They are not close.  Consider where that information is coming from, it’s the owners.  Their reason is to try and create all this false hope to put more pressure on us.”

The unnamed player added that he’ll be “shocked” if a deal is completed within the next 10 days.

So where do things really stand?  Are the owners leaking selectively information to the media in order to create a false tidal wave of inevitability that will sweep the NFLPA* toward a new CBA?  Or is the NFLPA* privately painting the gaps as significant in order to avoid a genuine tidal wave of inevitability long enough to negotiate favorable terms on the final points?

We’ve been beating the bushes to get more information, and for now it appears that, indeed, it’s all coming down to the rookie wage scale.  And each passing day is making it less likely that big money will be spent on free agents.

Sure, the teams will have to spend money in 2011, as the salary floor moves higher than ever under the new CBA.  But to the extent that a compressed time frame prevents a curve-blowing feeding frenzy, teams will be able to spend more carefully and deliberately, holding back some money for the purposes of extending the contracts of young players during the regular season.

But if the league’s goal is to have a long-term win-win deal, there’s every reason to compromise on the issue of compensation for first-round picks in year five of their first contracts.  The solution already sweeps more broadly than the problem.  It’s time to find a way to close this thing, before the excruciatingly slow process of resolving the lockout does real damage to the shield by impacting the quality of play early in the 2011 campaign.

37 responses to “How close is “close”? Making sense of where things stand

  1. You’re 100% correct about the quality of early season play. Already the preseason games look like they’ll be worse than usual. We might only see starters in game 3 this year. Yet full price will be forced upon all season ticket holders. Then you can expect weeks of sloppy play to start the season again all at full ticket price. Basically the ‘we care about the fans’ line coming from both sides is looking very empty.

  2. I think this report coming from an “unnamed player” is total BS… Time for negotiating is over… It’s time to settle. If the players don’t like it, they’re just gonna have to wait 10 years for the next CBA like the owners did.

    The players need to take what’s offered…. or they should be the ones to drop their nuts, end negotiations and announce they’re sitting out the season.

  3. DeSean Jackson must LOVE the idea of the Eagles holding back free agent money for the purpose of using it to extend player contracts during the season.
    But if he doesn’t learn to keep his mouth shut, he may not be the beneficiary of it.

  4. I really don’t believe there will be a full season. Sucks, but I can be happy just thinking of all the money they’re all losing by being so greedy.

  5. Are the owners leaking selectively information to the media in order to create a false tidal wave of inevitability that will sweep the NFLPA* toward a new CBA? Or is the NFLPA* privately painting the gaps as significant in order to avoid a genuine tidal wave of inevitability long enough to negotiate favorable terms on the final points?
    ==============================

    Both.

  6. PFT has no clue when it will get done, they just want you to keep coming back. It will get done when it gets done.

  7. So………are we still at the 5-yard line?

    Or are the “talks” more like the Vikings in the NFC championship game vs the Saints driving the ball down the field to win the game, only to put 12 men in the huddle to choke, again?

    I bet the latter.

  8. I bet if I don’t come back to this website till next tuesday, the headlines wont be too much different.

    It’s July 12th, one day closer to Pre-Season… You would think this should be crunch time, but the players and owners are on their 4th day off in a row.

    Well I better get back to work so I can save up some money to go home in the fall to catch a few Bills games.

  9. “Are the owners leaking selectively information to the media in order to create a false tidal wave of inevitability that will sweep the NFLPA* toward a new CBA? Or is the NFLPA* privately painting the gaps as significant in order to avoid a genuine tidal wave of inevitability long enough to negotiate favorable terms on the final points?”

    ———————————-

    Or are desparate reporters and bloggers eager for any kind of “scoop” willing to use unnamed “sources” no matter how far from what’s actually going on in the negotiating room just to have something to write about?

  10. We should know soon which interpretation is correct. If the only holdup is this rookie wage scale, the deal should be done in an hour. If we’re still talking about a deal is close 10 days from now, we’ll know it was never close.

  11. None of us fans really know anything about the parties positions.

    We all simply assume that they don’t want to cancel a week of preseason games and the $200 million in claimed revenue. Which if split 48/52 or 47/53 amounts to roughly $96 million in player compensation or a reduction of the 2011 salary cap of $3 million per team.

    I assume that both sides want to preserve ALL the 2011 revenue and more to the point that both sides want to leverage a long-term labor agreement into some MEGA television rights deals when they are up for renewal next year which will make them all richer than they already are.

  12. I have honestly come to the point to where I am just getting more and more discusted. The unemployment rate in our country is at a huge high, and these children cannot settle on how to do a damn CBA over NINE BILLION dollars A YEAR. This is beyond stupid. Settle on something, and get this crapola done, and get your fans happy. We are the NFL. If it wasn’t for us fans, where would the NFL be? If the players are so worried about Goodell “dropping his nuts”, then maybe they need to consider what they are preaching.
    This season is going to be miserable to watch if they can even be smart enough to get a damn deal done before the last preseason game. The teams with a new HC/OC/DC are in a lot of trouble, and that should not be the fans of those teams’ fault. The ticket prices will not change, yet we have to deal with watching an essentially new team find it’s own during the regular season. This is the stuff that should be worked out in mini camps, OTA’s, and training camp….I am just fed up right now. Sign the papers, and lets get to work.

  13. @paul82461

    Of course PFT wants you coming back and they don’t know when a deal will get done. And this is a problem because…

    We keep coming back cause we’re all junkies in need of a football fix and this site keeps posting every rumor, tidbit and propagnada statement that is out there.

    Of course we’re going to keep coming back. We’re flippin football fans that are following a lock out like it’s the AFC Championship game.

  14. I will bet anyone who wants to bet that the ‘unnamed player’ has never negoiated a 9.3 billion dollar contract before.

    How on earth is he qualified to say what is close and what is not close?

    Plus, if there is a train wreck (which this has been) and there are ten eyewitnesses there will be ten different stories of the wreck and everyone is right. It does not mean anyone is qualified or has the best view of things during said wreck, it just means they saw some aspect of it and ran their mouth.

  15. djrando7 says:
    I have honestly come to the point to where I am just getting more and more discusted. The unemployment rate in our country is at a huge high, and these children cannot settle on how to do a damn CBA over NINE BILLION dollars A YEAR. This is beyond stupid. Settle on something, and get this crapola done

    Every time I read a JUSS GIDDER DONE!! post it reminds me of my college days, where I had a part time job repairing computers.

    Nary a day would go by when someone brought in their machine, and would stupidly ask “can’t you just fix it?”, as if all I had to do was push the just fix it button and send them on their way.

    I couldn’t just fix it, as it was more complicated than that. Just as these negotiations are more complex than JUSS GIDDER DONE!!

    There’s no magic wand the players and owners can wave that juss gets it done. That’s reality, and I’m sorry if you don’t like it.

  16. Wouldn’t it be easier to give all players the same, base salary incentive laden contract and be done with it? If you play like a pro bowler, you will be compensated for it, if you suck, well, your pay will suck also. Let’s face it, teams don’t have the salary cap space to pay two 15 million dollar QBs on the roster, so you end up paying the dough to the players that perform. At the end of the day, there aren’t enough touches to go around and allow two RBs on any given team to rush for 2.000+ yards per season.

    This way, you can have a salary budget (as every single normal company has),without having to figure out how to finagle and circumvent (i.e. get creative) the cap rules. The players who are good will get paid; the busts will not. The ones with big mouths, well, if they perform, they’ll get their lolly, if it’s just hot air, well, they can still blow hot air, albeit a poor man’s version.

    Of course, there would be no need for sports leeches, err sorry, agents any more….

  17. andrewfbrowne says:
    I will bet anyone who wants to bet that the ‘unnamed player’ has never negoiated a 9.3 billion dollar contract before.

    That’s a safe bet, since I’m pretty sure that NO ONE in the negotiations has ever negotiated a $9.3 Billion dollar deal before.

  18. “Their reason is to try and create all this false hope to put more pressure on us.”

    Nah. The reason is when the deal is signed and the players see exactly how much of the pie they gave up, their guys can say how hard they fought to even get them that. Same old union stuff that has been repeated a thousand times.

  19. PFT needs to stop posting these stories. I dont wanna hear anything except the deal is signed and theres gonna be football.

    Until then, I’m still trying to figure out how I can get away from wife for 8 hours every Sunday this fall in the event that there is no 2011 season. Anyone have any ideas?

  20. How close is “close”?
    ——————————–

    Obviously not “close” enough. Is it me or has it seemed to be “close” for months….?

  21. What that ‘unnamed player’ says makes a lot of sense. The press is obviously desperate for a story – ANY story, and from the majority of the posts on the story – ANY – story the gum-chewing public is getting real antsy for some FOOTBALL – they don’t really care any more whose fault it is. They long since lost concern or interest in the issues and just want the damn strike to be OVER.
    When it gets over there will be much wailing about being ripped off and ridiculous prices, etc. but come opening day the stands will be filled with suckers.

    And the owners will be happy.

  22. “Until then, I’m still trying to figure out how I can get away from wife for 8 hours every Sunday this fall in the event that there is no 2011 season. Anyone have any ideas?”

    Meet some women online and arrange some “business trips” 🙂

  23. I get that it’s not that easy but I too wish both sides would do what’s best and work this out already. They have had PLENTY of time to prepare for this and they dropped the ball. They could have worked this out ahead of time, but nooooo. And fans are frustrated and discouraged. I agree the “un-named player” sounds really bogus. Can’t trust that statement. The NFL is the biggest brand in all of sports and they need to get this deal done and get back to work already.

  24. “If the players don’t like it, they’re just gonna have to wait 10 years for the next CBA like the owners did.”

    Idiot. The owners didn’t wait — they opted out after only a few years.

  25. Quoting Yogi “It ain’t over until its over”. Mike when are you going to start working for a living instead of reading tea leaves? Of course, this comment will get deleted like all my others. My point is that why not give us some hard facts (heck even soft facts) instead of this made up stuff that a little birdie tweeted to you.

    Hard fact:
    If the owners unlock the doors tomorrow there will be football. If the owners don’t unlock the doors until March 1, 2012 then there won’t be any football this year.

  26. Pancho…:
    No,if the owners unlocked the doors tomorrow,D. Smith would sue them for using defective locks or for wearing the wrong color ties or …That’s all he knows,and that is why HE walked out of talks Months ago and went “on strike” against talks,until he lost in Court and the 8th Circuit let him know his strategy was a failure,so he had better get back to talks before the owners got really mad and crushed the union .

    A deal WILL get done soon,because the owners have allowed D. Smith and his followers to come back without any recriminations and are treating them very fairly,after what was the stupidity of the walk out and the so called decertification and the suing the owners to ruin the League,which was all for nothing !
    It cost the fans Months but Smith is still getting paid and his fellow lawyers representing the union got rich indeed !

  27. Tim:

    Repeat after me. There is no union. The non-union is not on strike.

    Again the simple fact is this, the owners can unlock the doors anytime they like. If they did, the players would have to report to work or admit that decertification was fraud.

    So, Timmy believe whatever you like, but you (unlike Mike) are not entitled to make up your own facts. About the court case, again I’ll quote Yogi, “It ain’t over until it is over”

  28. TIM:

    Your last post is one of the most intelligent ones here. You’ve said everything I’ve been saying for months.

    What PanchoHerreraFanClub said about the owners being able to unlock the doors is not true. They would be in violation of anti-trust laws. The players have to recertify as a union first.

    If the NFL were to lose its anti-trust protection, the whole organization would unravel. Because without the structure of the union and CBA, there would be no salary cap or draft, and the large market teams would end up with the best players. The small market teams would at some point fold because they’d never be able to compete. The fan base would erode. At some point, the few oligopolistic large-market teams that remain would start to lower their salary structure and due to a smaller league, less players would be needed. The majority of the players would suffer eventually.

    The players are just lucky that the owners are not being vindictive. The owners are prudent and judicious businessmen and are just pressing the leverage that they have. A deal will get done. And it will be a deal that the players will be able to live with. There’s just a lot of unrest within the fan base because all junkies need their fix at some point.

  29. Tim,

    mjkelly77 is right – the owners had to lock out the players in order to protect themselves from having their respective dérriéres sued for anti-trust violations. If they unlocked the doors, they would have to implement different rules for each market, team, etc. not share any revenue between teams, etc. Anything that could be even loosely, vaguely similar from one team to another would be met with a cry of “anti-trust violation” from the union and subject to their 14.3 trillion dollar lawsuit.

    Up to now, the ex-union’s* lawsuit is moot because the NFL hasn’t done a single thing up to now to violate any anti-trust laws. Everything business wise since the dissolution of the union has been frozen due to the lockout. This is why the owners HAVE to lock them out – to protect themselves from themselves, and the whole NFL as a sustainable business.

    Well explained mjkelly77!!

  30. mjkelly77

    The owners can unlock the doors anytime they wish. It is true that they would have to obey the anti-trust laws like every other business in the country. Oh, what a terrible burden! Oh, the humanity, oh the humanity!

    New Flash! The owners are being sued for anti-trust violations now for the lockout! The lawsuit is not moot as the lockout was a violation of the anti-trust laws. Perhaps the 5 guys of the Supreme Court with Redskin tickets will sign with the owners and get a seat upgrade.

    Now repeat after me, there is no union, the owner broke it.

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