With the new CBA barely eight months old, questions have arisen regarding whether the NFLPA did a bad financial deal. Already, the whispers comparing the final package to the so-called “worst deal in the history of sports” (i.e., the offer that the players rejected on March 11) have grown to a murmur. And if enough players take the time to figure out the numbers, the murmurs could become loud shouting.
For now, the union isn’t saying anything about the value of the final deal, especially as it relates to the offer the NFL made before the lockout started. New NFLPA president Domonique Foxworth says he plans to take a closer look at it soon.
“Honestly, next week is when I’m going to go crunch all the numbers with our lawyers and figure out the true cap projections, so it’s hard for me [to comment],” Foxworth tells Greg Bedard of the Boston Globe. “I really wish I could give you some definitive answer but one thing I know is the NFL isn’t getting less popular, so I don’t think that anyone is in danger, from owners or the players’ side, going bankrupt any time soon.’’
As Bedard explains it, the final deal resulted in a salary cap that was $6.4 million per team higher than the NFL proposed in March 2011. For 2012 through 2014, however, the players are projected to lose (according to Bedard) $652.8 million in comparison to the March 2011 offer. The net loss through 2014, including the gains in 2011, will be $448 million.
Things could get better in 2015 and beyond. “One thing that we did do that I’m proud of is for the first time we linked our revenue to actual revenue,’’ Foxworth said. “It’s hard to project what’s going to happen out in the future but no one is going to be upset because the only way the cap could be flat is if revenue is flat. So it’s hard to be [ticked] that you’re not getting more money if more money is not coming in. That was one of the smarter decisions that was made during that.’’
It’s important to keep in mind that the numbers proposed in March 2011 were based on a “pegged cap,” with no extra money going to the players if actual revenues exceeded the projections on which the numbers were based. But by ultimately getting a piece of the upside, the players sacrificed their protection against the downside.
And, at least through 2014, it looks like there will be more downside than upside. The question is when, and if, the upside will come in 2015, or beyond.