Skip to content

CBA not as bad as advertised for NFLPA and players

DeMaurice Smith AP

It’s become fashionable to assume that the NFL clobbered the NFLPA during the 2011 labor negotiations.  And it’s easy to make that case persuasively.  Teams are doing well (as evidenced by the only publicly-available financial records, from the Packers), less money is being spent on rookies, less money is being spent on veterans who aren’t franchise quarterbacks or among the increasingly small slice who are overpaid early in free agency, and the salary cap is creeping up only via the periodic robbing of Peter to pay Paul.

On Sunday, Ben Volin of the Boston Globe became the most recent writer to raise the issue, complete with anonymous quotes from at least two of the more-than-a-few agents who don’t like NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith and thus will seize on any opportunity to complain about him — especially if those complaints can be registered without attaching names to them.

But, as always, there are two sides.  We’ll shed light on the other side for now, with some information (not opinion) supplied by a source with direct knowledge of the agreement, from the NFLPA’s perspective.

First, any deal that was done by the NFLPA needs to be considered in light of the alternatives.  The owners were determined to crush the union in 2011, in order to offset a deal the NFL deemed to be a bad one in 2006.  The players weren’t going to win; the only question was the magnitude of the loss.

What’s that, you say?  The players could have held firm and pushed its legal challenge to the lockout while foregoing game checks during Sundays in September through December of 2011?  Sorry, but the players weren’t wired to lose any of their money two years ago in order to help future players earn more of it.  And the owners knew it.

Second, agents who complain about the CBA focus only on the salary portion of the salary cap.  Including benefits, the cap per team is roughly $150 million in 2013, with $27 million going to benefits.  Agents don’t care about benefits because they get no commission on them, “but for the players it is a lot more than a few extra thousand a month on a pension,” the source explained.

Third, the cash portion of the salary cap, while expected to “smooth” in coming years, will still increase.  By 2016, the source said it’s expected to be in the range of $140 million.  (That sentiment contradicts multiple reports regarding the expected slow growth of the cap.)

Fourth, while the rookie wage scale holds down compensation for players taken in round one, the players selected in rounds two through seven actually are doing better under the new system, according to the source.

Fifth, the players in the second half of round one will end up not very far behind what they earned under the old system, if teams exercise the year-five option for first-round deals.

Sixth, while draft picks now much wait at least three years to be eligible for second contracts, the deals undoubtedly will be better when done with only one year left until free agency as opposed to two.

Seventh, the minimum cash expenditure requirement (which for now compels teams to spend 89 percent of the unadjusted cap on a four-year rolling basis) will become more relevant as 2016 approaches, and the first four-year window becomes cemented in to place.

Eighth, after the 2013 season, high first-round picks who will become eligible for new contracts will begin to get significant new contracts.  Guys like Cam Newton, A.J. Green, Julio Jones, J.J. Watt, Aldon Smith, and Colin Kaepernick (a high second-round pick in 2011) will demand — and receive — the money they didn’t get in 2011, due to the new rookie wage scale.  That will continue year after year, with the first-rounders who become star players demanding, and getting, new deals after three seasons.

Ninth, the Packers’ most recent profits are skewed by a variety of reasons, including minimal stadium investment.  “Green Bay is definitely one of the most  profitable teams, does anyone think teams such as the Raiders, Vikings, Bills, Bucs, Jaguars, Rams, Chargers, and a host of others you can think of are anywhere close?” the source said.

Besides, the Packers’ profits were skewed via the absence of the Aaron Rodgers and Clay Matthews extensions.  The source pointed out that Rodgers and Matthews will earn roughly $65 million in 2013, none of which shows up on the current balance sheet.  In 2012, they earned less than $11 million combined.

Tenth, and finally, the players very much wanted to obtain reductions in practice time and intensity, and they did.  While it was mentioned in Volin’s story, not enough emphasis was placed upon a term that prompted many football people to complain about the concessions made, with one front-office employee griping privately that the players all but secured the ability to have someone else play the games on their behalf.  Like the benefits portion of the salary cap, however, agents don’t give much credence to reduced practice time and intensity because the agents don’t get paid for that.

None of this means the players won the last round of CBA talks.  All things considered, they didn’t.  The owners got the better of the negotiations, five years after believing that they lost.  Unless people on both sides of the table realize that it wasn’t a blowout, it’ll be hard to avoid another work stoppage in 2021, which will be here faster than anyone realizes.

Then again, for the players to take a stand in eight years, they’ll need to have the same willingness to forego game checks that they didn’t have two years ago.  Unless they do, the owners will at least emerge with the same deal they have now, if not something better.

Permalink 5 Comments Feed for comments Latest Stories in: Home, Rumor Mill
yo

Report: Vikings plan to re-sign Brad Sorensen

SAN DIEGO, CA - AUGUST 28: Quarterback Brad Sorensen #4 of the San Diego Chargers throws a pass against the Arizona Cardinals at Qualcomm Stadium on August 28, 2014 in San Diego, California.  The Chargers won 12-9.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images) Getty Images

In the wake of Teddy Bridgewater’s devastating knee injury suffered in practice on Tuesday, the Minnesota Vikings are in need of help at quarterback.

According to Ian Rapoport of NFL Media, the Vikings first step is to re-sign Brad Sorensen.

Minnesota had released Sorensen on Tuesday as part of their roster cuts down to 75 players. Bridgewater’s season-ending injury changed the course of events and necessitated Sorensen’s return to the Vikings.

Shaun Hill and Joel Stave remain the only two other quarterbacks on Minnesota’s roster. More additions may be needed to attempt to fill the massive hole created by the loss of a starting quarterback in practice. But for now, Sorensen gives them the extra arm they need to get through the remainder of the preseason.

Sorensen did not appear in any of the team’s first three preseason games. He was initially signed earlier this month when Bridgewater and Hill were missing practices with minor injuries.

In his last action during the 2015 preseason with San Diego, Sorensen completed 38 of 69 passes for 336 yards with a touchdown and three interceptions in four games.

Permalink 0 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

“Mixed reviews” for Tebow’s baseball workout

Former NFL quarterback, Tim Tebow hits during batting practice for baseball scouts and the media during a showcase on the campus of the University of Southern California, Tuesday, Aug. 30, 2016 in Los Angeles. The Heisman Trophy winner works out for a big gathering of scouts on USC's campus in an attempt to start a career in a sport he hasn't played regularly since high school. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson) AP

The headline at ESPN.com says Tim Tebow “shows off power” at his baseball workout (i.e., one-man fantasy camp). The article paints a more sobering view of his prospects.

Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com writes that Tebow drew “mixed reviews” at the workout, which scouts from 28 teams attended.

He showed significant hitting ability, but he was “repeatedly fooled him with off-speed pitches,” according to Crasnick.

“There is 100 percent nerves, no question about it,” Tebow said. “When you’re at the [Scouting] Combine or a Pro Day [workout], you have your body of work for four years, everything that you did, so it’s not just that one day. Here, you might have seen me when I was 17, but you haven’t seen me since. A lot goes into it, so you’d better show something. A lot of nerves, a lot of pressure, for sure.”

So why is he doing it, more than a decade after last playing baseball?

“This isn’t about publicity,” Tebow said. “It’s definitely not about money. I took a pay cut to do this. For me, you pursue what you love regardless of what else happens. If you fail or fall flat on your face, and that’s the worst thing that can happen, it’s OK. When did pursuing what you love become such a bad thing? I’ll make all the sacrifices to be the best I can.”

It’s one thing to say it, it’s another to do it. Will he accept anything other than a Major League lifestyle? Tebow wasn’t willing to try the CFL when it was clear that the NFL wasn’t interested and when guys like former Eagles coach Chip Kelly said Tebow needs game reps.

At 29, Tebow has limited time to make the climb to the top of the baseball ladder. Will he do all the things he would have been doing if he’d picked baseball over football as a high school senior? Time will tell.

Meanwhile, the guy who says it’s not about money can continue to finance his frolic and detour into baseball by selling signed baseballs and bats at $125 and $175 a pop, respectively.

Permalink 4 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Wednesday’s PFT Live has Justin Forsett, Demaryius Thomas, more

PFTLive

Another day, another need for a bigger show.

But we’ll somehow find a way to cram three hours of news, analysis, discussion, and debate into Wednesday’s edition of PFT Live on NBC Sports Radio (from 6:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. ET) and on NBCSN (from 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. ET).

Topics include the injury to Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, including a discussion regarding the predicted finish of the teams in the NFC North. You can pick your projected winner of the division below and discuss it in the comments.

Guests include Ravens running back Justin Forsett and Broncos receiver Demaryius Thomas. Paul Allen of the Vikings Radio Network also will join us to talk about Bridgewater’s injury and the team’s prospects without him.

So tune in for any, some, or all of the show. If you miss any of it, all three hours become a podcast, available at iTunes, audioboom.com, and Google Play.

Permalink 0 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Bills season-ticket sales still strong

tickets Getty Images

In 2015, the Bills set a single-season record for season-ticket sales, amid a high degree of optimism about the team. In 2016, with a more measured and realistic view of a team that failed to come close to meeting expectations a year ago, the ticket sales remain strong.

According to James Fink of Buffalo Business First, via SportsBusiness Daily, the team has sold 58,500 season tickets.

Yes, it’s a 2.6-percent reduction from last year. But it’s still the most season tickets the franchise has sold in any season but 2015.

In 2014, the team sold only 47,182 season tickets.

So that’s good news for the Bills in an offseason and preseason that has entailed plenty of not-so-good news.

Permalink 5 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Source: Peyton Manning staying retired

KNOXVILLE, TN - JULY 14: Former NFL and University of Tennessee quarterback Peyton Manning speaks during a ceremony to celebrate the life of former Tennessee women's basketball coach Pat Summitt, on July 14, 2016 at the Thompson-Boling Arena in Knoxville, Tennessee.. Summitt died June 28 at the age of 64, five years after being diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. (Photo by Mark Humphrey - Pool/Getty Images) Getty Images

Peyton Manning is going to stay on the speaking circuit.

A source with knowledge of Manning’s plans told PFT that Manning will not consider returning to the NFL and therefore is not an option for the Vikings as they go about addressing their quarterback situation following the injury suffered Tuesday by Teddy Bridgewater.

Bridgewater suffered a dislocated knee and complete tear of his ACL during Tuesday’s practice.

Veteran Shaun Hill takes over as the team’s starting quarterback. For now, undrafted rookie Joel Stave is the only other healthy quarterback on the Vikings’ roster, though that could change as soon as Wednesday and will almost certainly change by the weekend when teams across the league finalize their initial regular season rosters.

Permalink 13 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Bridgewater has torn ACL and dislocated knee, but no nerve damage

151216 bridgewater Getty Images

As expected, Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater has suffered a significant knee injury that will end his 2016 season before it began. But there’s some reason for optimism.

The Vikings released a statement this evening saying that Bridgewater does not appear to have any damage to nerves or arteries and should be able to make a full recovery.

“Teddy Bridgewater suffered a non-contact injury today at practice,” Vikings head trainer Eric Sugarman said in a statement. “The injury was quickly identified as a dislocated knee. The injury was stabilized, and he was transported to a nearby hospital for treatment and evaluation. After undergoing an MRI, it was determined that Teddy suffered a complete tear to his ACL and other structural damage. Fortunately, there appears to be no nerve or arterial damage. Surgical repair will be scheduled within the next few days. Although the recovery time will be significant, we expect Teddy to make a full recovery. I would like to thank all of the medical professionals and our athletic training staff for all of their help today. Teddy has already displayed the attitude needed to overcome this injury and attack his rehab.”

Although the statement didn’t specifically call Bridgewater’s season over, it’s impossible to imagine that he could play this year with a complete tear to his ACL, a dislocated knee and other structural damage. The lack of nerve damage, however, indicates that Bridgewater will play in 2017.

Permalink 58 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

First call described Bridgewater’s injury as a dislocated knee

Teddy Bridgewater

The initial call made Tuesday afternoon from the Vikings’ training facility requesting help from paramedics described Teddy Bridgewater’s injury as a dislocated knee, per multiple reports.

The Vikings still haven’t announced the extent of the injury. Vikings Coach Mike Zimmer told reporters later Tuesday afternoon that Bridgewater had been sedated and was at a local hospital undergoing an MRI, and that the team expected that Bridgewater would miss the entire 2016 season.

A further update on his status is expected later Tuesday night or Wednesday morning.

The Vikings ended practice when Bridgewater suffered what was described as a “gruesome” injury, and other players were visibly upset as the team’s medical staff tended to Bridgewater.

Permalink 23 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Teammates disturbed by “gruesome” Bridgewater injury

FILE - In this Aug. 28, 2016, file photo, Minnesota Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater throws a pass during the first half of an NFL preseason football game against the San Diego Chargers, in Minneapolis. Fittingly, the Green Bay Packers will be the opponent on Sept. 18 for their regular season opener at U.S. Bank Stadium in front of a crowd of 66,000 and a Sunday night national television audience.(AP Photo/Andy Clayton-King, File) AP

The Vikings’ medical staff hasn’t yet offered an official prognosis on the injury suffered by quarterback Teddy Bridgewater today, but from all accounts it was instantly obvious to everyone there that Bridgewater badly hurt his knee.

“Gruesome, according to some people there, is absolutely what it was. Players were disturbed, throwing up, not wanting to see, looking away as quickly as possible,” Ian Rapoport said on NFL Network, although Rapoport later said on Twitter that players were not actually throwing up.

After the practice, Vikings coach Mike Zimmer seemed to be fighting back tears as he talked about how Bridgewater had to be sedated after the injury. Zimmer also said he called Bridgewater’s mother, something coaches generally only do when there are serious concerns about a player’s health.

Although Zimmer said he doesn’t yet know the extent of Bridgewater’s injury, there’s little doubt that it’s very, very bad.

Permalink 96 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Panthers make some moves, reach settlement with Scifres

Scifres Getty Images

The Panthers made a handful of roster moves Tuesday as they trimmed their roster to 75.

Wide receiver LaRon Byrd and defensive end Rakim Cox were placed on the team’s injured-reserve list, and cornerback Leonard Johnson was placed on the non-football injury list.

The team also reached injury settlements with safety Trenton Robinson and punter Mike Scifres, who had signed with the Panthers in May as part of their search for a new punter. Scifres was hurt last weekend and placed on injured reserve.

On Monday, the Panthers traded for veteran punter Andy Lee.

Permalink 4 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Gary Kubiak declines to address Mark Sanchez’s status

Denver Broncos quarterback Mark Sanchez takes part in drills during the team's NFL football practice at the Broncos' headquarters on Monday, Aug. 29, 2016, in Englewood, Colo. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski) AP

With rosters cut to 75 and one preseason game left to be played, Broncos quarterback Mark Sanchez still has a job in Denver. Whether he will when the rosters move to 53 on Saturday remains to be seen.

“I’m not going to go into that,” coach Gary Kubiak said when asked about Sanchez’s status by reporters on Tuesday. “We have to put our team together by Friday, Saturday basically for us. You never know what’s going to happen. Like I’ve said, Mark has done a great job. We can count on him. He’s preparing. He’s been great as a person and a teammate. That’s all you can ask. We’ll see.”

Kubiak needs Sanchez to play in the preseason finale, since starter Trevor Siemian will be kept out of harm’s way. Kubiak said the goal is to give first-rounder Paxton Lynch 60 to 70 snaps before putting Sanchez in the game late.

The risk for the Broncos is obvious. If Sanchez suffers a serious injury, the Broncos will be on the hook for the full amount of his $4.5 million salary.

The Broncos have been shopping Sanchez. They reportedly spoke to the Cowboys, who balked at absorbing all of Sanchez’s salary. With Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater likely out for the season, the Broncos possibly will be able to trade Sanchez to Minnesota.

For his part, Sanchez doesn’t want to leave.

“I want to be here,” Sanchez told reporters. “I love being here. I’ve gotten to know these guys and embrace this community. I’ve had a great time here. Who knows about anything on the outside? I’m focused on getting ready for Carolina. All of that stuff, whether it’s contract stuff — I’ve been hit up a lot with questions about contract or trades and there is a business side to this, but I’m just focused on playing. That’s why you hire an agent. They handle all of that stuff and they’ll let me know.”

Sanchez said he is using “Jedi mind tricks” to block out the noise about his status.

“I don’t need that affecting how I prepare and affecting any kind of decisions you make on the field and affect any way that you can help this team,” Sanchez said. “I don’t need to be thinking about, ‘Well man, should I be here? Should I work out hard? Should I try? I have to be here. I have to be in the moment and I have to be focused. I think that’s fair to the other players. If things don’t work out the way that you want, you can’t just act like a crybaby and cause a problem. That’s not right. I just don’t think that’s the professional way to do it, so I’ll help Trevor [Siemian] in any way that I can. It’s a good thing he’s a likable guy. It could be a lot worse, so it’s good.”

It’s not good overall for Sanchez, who carried the No. 1 job through the offseason and into training camp and the preseason. He may have to take less money to stay, and there’s a chance the Broncos will cut him in order to avoid owing the Eagles a seventh-round pick and re-sign him after Week One.

Permalink 26 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Bucs put Sweezy, Murphy on reserve/PUP

CHICAGO, IL - NOVEMBER 23:  Receiver Louis Murphy #18 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (L) grabs safety Chris Conte #47 of the Chicago Bears by the task mask as he runs after a catch during the NFL game on November 23, 2014 at Soldier Field in Chicago, Illinois. The Bears defeated the Buccaneers 21-13. (Photo by Brian Kersey/Getty Images) Getty Images

As expected, the Buccaneers placed wide receiver Louis Murphy and offensive lineman J.R. Sweezy on the reserve/physically unable to perform list Tuesday.

Sweezy, who signed a five-year deal with the Bucs last March, is recovering from back surgery. Murphy is still recovering from a torn ACL that ended his season last October.

The earliest Sweezy and Murphy can return to game action is Week Six.

The Bucs also brought back linebacker Jeremiah George and safety Kimario McFadden two days after waiving them.

Permalink 3 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Rodney Harrison apologizes for Colin Kaepernick comment

2717219 Getty Images

Plenty of people have been saying plenty of things about 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick in recent days. Some of those things have been smart, and some of them haven’t been smart.

NBC’s Rodney Harrison has become one of the few who said something not smart about Kaepernick to admit it.

Harrison appeared on SportsTalk 790 in Houston on Tuesday. In addressing the Kaepernick situation, Harrison suggested that Kaepernick isn’t black.

“I tell you this, I’m a black man,” Harrison said, via Deadspin. “And Colin Kaepernick, he’s not black. He cannot understand what I face and what other young black men and black people face, or people of color face, on a every single [day] basis. When you walk in a grocery store . . . and you might have $2,000 or $3,000 in your pocket and you go up into a Foot Locker and they’re looking at you like you about to steal something. . . . I’m not saying that he has to be black. I said his heart is in the right place, but even with what he’s doing, he still doesn’t understand the injustices that we face as a black man or people of color, that’s what I’m saying.”

Harrison later addressed the situation on Twitter, with an apology to Kaepernick.

“I should not have called Colin Kaepernick’s race into question during this morning’s radio interview,” Harrison said. “It was a mistake and I apologize. . . . I never even knew he was mixed [race]. . . . I never intended to offend anyone, I was trying to speak about my experiences as a African-American.”

Kudos to Rodney for admitting his mistake and apologizing for it. It’s a good example of how to handle the situations that inevitably arise for people who talk on a regular basis for a living, and who are committed to sharing their beliefs on any topic about which they are asked.

Sometimes, those beliefs are based on an inaccurate understanding of the facts. When that happens, quickly acknowledging the error and owning it is the best way to go.

Permalink 61 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Texans announce several cuts, roster designations

HOUSTON - JULY 22:  Detail of the helmet of the Houston Texans on the practice field during training camp on July 22, 2002 at Reliant Park in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Texans announced a number of roster moves Tuesday afternoon as they trimmed their roster to the NFL-mandated size of 75.

Safety Lonnie Ballentine was placed on the reserve/physically unable to perform list, meaning he’ll miss at least the first six games of the season.

Three players were placed on the team’s injured-reserve list: Rookie center Nick Martin, safety Kurtis Drummond and rookie kicker Ka’imi Fairbairn. That leaves Nick Novak as the only kicker on the roster.

The Texans also waived defensive tackle Ra’Zahn Howard; wide receivers Tevin Jones and Josh Lenz; linebackers Ryan Langford and Carlos Thompson and offensive tackles Matt Pierson and Arturo Uzdavinis. Cornerback Duke Thomas and linebacker Gerald Rivers were waived-injured.

The Texans also waived defensive end Jeoffrey Pagan with an injury settlement.

Permalink 2 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Bowles says Jets may keep four quarterbacks

File - In this May 6, 2016, file photo, New York Jets second-round draft pick Christian Hackenberg throws a pass during NFL football rookie minicamp in Florham Park, N.J. Hackenberg currently sits fourth on the Jets' depth chart, behind Ryan Fitzpatrick, Geno Smith and Bryce Petty. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun, File) AP

Who will be the odd man out in the Jets’ quarterback competition? Maybe no one.

Jets coach Todd Bowles said today that there’s still a chance that Ryan Fitzpatrick, Christian Hackenberg, Bryce Petty and Geno Smith will all make the 53-man roster.

“All four are good football players. We can keep all four. It’s just a matter of battling with the other positions, so that’s still up for grabs and we’ll have to wait until after this game to see how that plays out,” Bowles said.

Fitzpatrick and Smith will both be inactive for Thursday night’s preseason finale. Bowles said Hackenberg and Petty will get approximately equal playing time.

With Fitzpatrick set as the starter and Hackenberg guaranteed a roster spot by virtue of being a second-round draft pick, the only question is whether Smith or Petty will be sent packing before the season starts. The Jets are open to a trade, but they’re also open to using four of their 53 roster spots on quarterbacks.

Permalink 22 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Dion Lewis, Sebastian Vollmer to start year on PUP list

FOXBORO, MA - NOVEMBER 8: Dion Lewis #33 of the New England Patriots leaves the field after an injury during a game with the Washington Redskins in the second half at Gillette Stadium on November 8, 2015 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images) Getty Images

A report earlier this month raised the possibility that Patriots right tackle Sebastian Vollmer would be placed on injured reserve because of hip and shoulder issues, which would rule him out for the season if the move came before the cut to 53 players.

Vollmer didn’t make it to the 53-man roster, but he’s not on injured reserve either. The Patriots have placed Vollmer on the reserve/physically unable to perform list, which means he’s ineligible to play or practice for the first six weeks of the year. He may not return at that point or at any other juncture in the season, but Tuesday’s move leaves the door open for a return should Vollmer’s prognosis improve.

He’ll be joined on the PUP list by running back Dion Lewis. Lewis recently had a second knee surgery after tearing his ACL last November, so the move is not a surprising one. He’ll also be eligible to return in Week Seven and the Patriots have a bye in Week Nine that could work as a moment to work Lewis back into the backfield mix.

Guard Tre Jackson was also placed on reserve/PUP this week, leaving wide receiver Danny Amendola as the only player on the preseason version of the list. If he’s going to be in the lineup in the first six weeks, the Pats will have to activate him before Saturday’s deadline to reach 53 players.

Linebacker Ramon Humber, tackle Keavon Milton and tight end Steven Scheu were all cut in other moves that brought the roster to 75 players.

Permalink 4 Comments Feed for comments Back to top