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Highlights of final deal

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PFT has obtained a summary of the labor deal that was approved today by the NFLPA* Executive Committee and board of player representatives.

We’d ordinarily think of some funny or poignant turn of phrase right here, but time’s-a-wastin’.

Regarding the issue of the minimum per-team cash spend (something for which Saints quarterback Drew Brees recently told teammates via e-mail he would be fighting), the two sides agreed that each franchise will spend at least 89 percent of the cap, on a four-year average from 2013 through 2016, and from 2017 through 2020.  (Across the entire league, the NFL has committed to spending 99 percent of the cap space in 2011 and 2012, and 95 percent for the rest of the deal.)

Teams will be allowed to have a whopping 90 players on the roster during training camp.

The timeline meshes exactly with the timeline we posted earlier today.  (It was never revised due to the slight delay in the voting process.)

The league year will begin August 4, unless the CBA is ratified sooner than that by the players.

Workout bonuses will be paid in full if a player is not waived before 4:01 p.m. ET on July 29.  If the player is waived before then, the full amount will be paid if the bonus was less than $50,000.  From $50,000 to $100,000, the player will get $50,000.  For bonuses over $100,000, the player will get half, up to $100,000.

Roster and option bonuses to be earned during the lockout will be earned if the player is on the roster at 4:00 p.m. ET on July 29.  (That could be called the Vince Young rule.)

As to injury protection, a player will get half of his salary, up to $1 million, in the season after a catastrophic injury. In the second year, he’ll get 30 percent, up to $500,000.

As to the workers’ compensation forum-shopping issue, the question of whether players will be permitted to file claims in California despite never playing for a team headquartered there will continue to be subject ongoing litigation on that point.  (There goes the league’s desire for a clean courtroom slate.)

There is no opt out, as previously reported by Albert Breer of NFL Network.  It’s a firm, 10-year contract.

Stay tuned for more details as we try to digest the paperwork that already is flooding the PFT e-mailbox.

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The CBA in a nutshell

Roger Goodell, DeMaurice Smith, AP

We have an agreement.  Finally.   So what’s in it?

We know a lot about the new collective bargaining agreement and how it will shape the NFL for the next decade.  We’ll learn even more in the coming hours as we get a chance to read the fine print.

In the meantime, PFT wanted to give folks just joining the party a broad outline of the agreement.

(And by broad outline, we mean that we’ll mostly link to all the other posts we’ve been cranking out.  What, you thought we were going re-write everything?)

Length of agreement: We’ve got ten years of labor peace on the way.  There is no opt out clause in the deal.

Revenue split: This is what it was all about.  The players were on defense the whole time, knowing that owners would get a larger share of the overall pie.

The two sides agreed on a new “all revenue” model.  It’s a little complicated, but overall the players must average at least 47 percent of all revenue for the 10-year term of the agreement.

The money was counted differently in the past, but the split was essentially closer to 50-50 before.

Drafted Rookies: A new rookie wage scale will dramatically curb spending on rookies. High first-round draft picks are taking a huge hit. No. 1 overall pick Cam Newton, for instance, is expected to see less than half the guaranteed money of 2010 No. 1 pick Sam Bradford. Those top-shelf contracts will be four years, with a pricey fifth year option.

Measures to prevent rookie holdouts were also put into the deal, in part by making the rookie contracts simpler.  Players taken rounds two-through-seven aren’t overly impacted.

Continue reading »

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It’s over: NFLPA* leadership unanimously ratifies CBA

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The NFLPA* wanted a unanimous recommendation of the new labor deal before sending it to the rank-and-file for a 50-percent-plus-one vote, and the NFLPA* got it.

“It’s unanimous,” NFLPA* spokesman George Atallah said on Twitter.

It’s still not over, but there’s virtually no way at least 50 percent of the players won’t agree.

Albert Breer of NFL Network reports that the 10 Brady class action plaintiffs also have approved of the settlement.

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Coaches brace for postseason intensity from day one

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The good news is that football is close to being back.

The better news is that the 32 coaches will be feeling a level of unprecedented urgency and intensity.

An NFL head coach recently told me that he expects every team to approach the season with a playoff intensity, from the moment camp opens.

That doesn’t mean it will last through early February.  But we could see teams trying harder than ever before to get those critical wins early in the season and set the tone for a successful campaign.

Either way, it’ll be fun to watch.

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The timeline given to Executive Committee and player representatives

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Everyone has a timeline, so we decided we should get one, too.

We got ours from a pretty good source.  It’s the actual hard copy that was presented this morning to the NFLPA* Executive Committee and board of player representatives for consideration.

Titled “Article 11, Transition Rules for the 2011 League Year,” here’s what the document provides.

Today, the NFL will publish a Free Agency List.

On Tuesday, team facilities will open for voluntary training, conditioning, and classroom instruction.

On Tuesday, trades can begin.

At 10:00 a.m. ET on Tuesday, teams may sign drafted rookies, undrafted rookies, and negotiate with (but not sign) their own unrestricted free agents, restricted free agents, exclusive-rights players, and franchise players.

Also, beginning at 10:00 a.m. ET on Tuesday, teams may negotiate with, but not sign or give offer sheets to, other team’s unrestricted free agents, restricted free agents, and franchise players.

At 4:01 p.m. ET on Thursday, teams may waive or terminate player contracts.

At 6:00 p.m. ET on Friday, teams may renegotiate existing player contracts.

Also at 6:00 p.m. ET on Friday, teams sign their own unrestricted free agents, restricted free agents, exclusive-rights free agents, and franchise players.

Also at 6:00 p.m. ET on Friday, teams may sign unrestricted free agents from other teams, restricted free agents from other teams, and franchise players from other teams.

No payment of any kind can be made to any player until the CBA has been ratified by the players.

The 2011 league year will begin no later than August 4.  When the 2011 league year begins, teams must be under the salary cap.  (Specifically, their highest 51 cap numbers must fit under the cap.)

Thus, look for some teams to possibly go over the projected cap this week, and then to find a way to get under the cap before the official start of the league year.

UPDATE: Here’s the training camp reporting dates for each team.

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Final answer: No opt out clause in CBA


After quite a bit of last minute back-and-forth on the topic, NFL Network’s Albert Breer reports there will be no opt-out clause in the upcoming CBA.

That means we’ll have labor peace for a decade, running through the 2021 NFL Draft at the very least.

Ultimately, both sides were reportedly wary of the other opting out. A two-way opt out was discussed, but finally discarded.

And that’s great news for football fans, not to mention media members who have talked enough labor for a lifetime.

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Jets immediately refund employees for lockout losses

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In addition to the fiery speech given by coach Rex Ryan to the Jets organization on Monday, owner Woody Johnson had something to say that made the employees feel even better.

As previously reported, Johnson said that employees would receive their lost lockout wages immediately.

How immediate is immediate?  Per a source who was in the room, Johnson said, “When you leave this meeting, the money will be in your accounts.”

That’s pretty damn immediate.

Here’s hoping the other teams that cut employee pay move almost as immediately.

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Source: Carl Eller plaintiffs are standing down

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On Sunday, we were told by a source very close to the NFL labor negotiations that the class of retired players, led by Hall of Fame defensive end Carl Eller, could throw a wrench into the settlement by refusing to stand down.

Specifically, lawyer Michael Hausfeld had claimed that the NFLPA* and the NFL were engaged in illegal collective bargaining, and he requested that the NFLPA* stop attempting to obtain benefits for retired players.

The source now tells us that the retired players will indeed stand down.  It’s not currently known how they came to this conclusion, and whether the pot for the former players was in any way sweetened.

Of course, Eller himself said last week that the retired players won’t get in the way of a settlement.  So while on the trustworthiness meter the retired players currently are somewhere between Brett Favre and Tommy Flanagan, they’re presumably smart enough to realize that they would be on the receiving end of an unprecedented media and fan backlash if the retired players try to blow this thing up now by asserting flimsy-at-best legal rights.

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Report: Two-way opt-out was in play Sunday night


It’s still not known whether the new CBA, to which the two sides reportedly have agreed in principle, will allow the players to pull the plug early after seven of the 10 full years.

Peter King of reports that, as of Sunday night, a two-way opt-out provision was in play, with specific triggers giving either party the ability to pull the plug after only five years.

Again, it’s not known whether this provision made its way into the final deal.  But it appears that the ability to walk away will be tied to something that objectively would indicate that the deal isn’t as good as advertised.

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Glazer chimes in with a timeline, too

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No matter how much every other media outlet tries to ignore it and/or claim it for their own, Jay Glazer of FOX was the first to report that a deal in principle has been reached between the NFL and the NFLPA*.

And so Glazer gets extra special consideration when he reports on the events for the coming week.

Glazer reports that, starting Tuesday, teams can make trades and start signing rookies (presumably, both draft picks and undrafted).

Though free agents from other teams can’t be signed until 6:00 p.m. ET Friday, teams will be permitted to talk with them (and, presumably, line up deals in principle) beginning Tuesday.

When on Tuesday?  We reached Glazer by phone.  He said that there’s no specific time on which the doors will open.

It’s safe to say that, when the clock strikes 12:01 a.m. ET on Tuesday, the process will begin.

Glazer’s timeline meshes with the schedule posted by Albert Breer of NFL Network, who has been working this story like no one else, on site for all meetings and always playing it right down the middle, despite technically working for the league.

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More reports emerge that deal was reached at 3:00 a.m.

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Jay Glazer was the first to report it.  And now the rest of the reports are following.

Both the Associated Press and Albert Breer of NFL Network report that a deal finally was reached between the legal teams for the owners and the players.

Again, it’s not done until the NFLPA* leadership (Executive Committee and board of player reps) vote to recommend the deal, and until the players vote via a simple majority to accept the deal.  And we remain wary of the lawsuit brought by Hall of Fame defensive end Carl Eller.

But I’m starting to feel like Costanza after eating a handful of mango.

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Latest timeline confirms that free agency could start Tuesday

-2 Reuters

At a time when it appeared that Saints quarterback Drew Brees was on track to being even more clueless than the media when it comes to pegging the start of free agency, Brees could be right on the money.

Adam Schefter of ESPN has the “latest timeline” for the return of the NFL, which he says is subject to the approval of the NFLPA*.  (It they truly have a done deal, shouldn’t they also have an agreed-to timeline?)

Per Schefter, the new league year would start at 4:00 p.m. ET on August 2, eight days from now.

Before then, however, the NFL would be back in business.  Teams would be able to sign their own free agents this afternoon.  Teams also would be permitted to begin negotiating trades, which would become official on Saturday.

Also, teams would be permitted to start signing free agents at 12:00 p.m. ET on Tuesday.  Those contracts would not become official until August 2.

Also, 10 teams would report Wednesday, 10 would report Thursday, and 10 would report Friday.  The final two teams, the Jets and Texans, would report on Sunday.

The reporting dates apparently will land 15 days before the teams’ first preseason games.  (If hadn’t taken down the preseason schedule, we could figure out who will report when.)

Training camp officially would open on August 2, even though every team will have reported by then.

So, after six months on the roller coaster, it’s time to fasten your seat belts.

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Still conflicting reports about timeline for upcoming week

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Here’s the latest on how we think Monday’s events will go, in light of all the reports the players will vote to recommend ratification of the CBA.

Peter King of reports NFLPA* reps will have a conference call at 11 a.m. ET to approve the deal.  That would come after the Executive Committee has met.  Albert Breer of says it will happen “by noon.”

There remains debate about when free agency could possibly start.  Drew Brees said in an e-mail to his teammates Sunday night that full free agency could start Tuesday.  Mark Maske of the Washington Post and Breer both say 6 p.m. ET on Friday is more likely.   Jay Glazer believed it would be Friday or Saturday.

Then again, Brees also said “don’t believe anything you read or hear in the media,” who has “no clue” and “only prints what sells.”  (Don’t give away our strategy!)

The good news is that all labor-related speculation could officially be over by this afternoon and we’ll find out the truth then.

UPDATE: Judy Battista of the New York Times hears the same Friday timeline.  ESPN’s Adam Schefter hears that Brees’ timeline, with unrestricted free agency starting Tuesday, will be voted on.  We give up.

One thing everyone agrees on: 10 teams will report Wednesday, 10 teams Thursday, 10 on Friday, and two teams on Saturday.  The timing depends on each team’s first preseason game.

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Glazer says deal is done, barring an “unforeseen obstacle”

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Jay Glazer, a/k/a The Groundhog, is back.

With only one prior report regarding the status of CBA talks (Glazer broke the news of a De Smith conference call in which the NFLPA* executive director told a group of elite players that a deal isn’t close, which amounted to Glazer seeing his shadow and predicting six more weeks of labor unrest), FOX’s Jay Glazer says that, in the wee hours of Monday morning, the league and the players agreed to terms on a new labor deal.

But Glazer also acknowledges that the players still must approve the deal, which would come after the NFLPA* Executive Committee and the board of player representatives recommend its acceptance.

Given the ups and downs and highs and lows of the past several weeks, we’re not going to regard the deal as done until it’s done.  On Sunday, we were told that the class action filed by Hall of Fame defensive end Carl Eller and other retired players on behalf of all retired players could still screw this thing up, given the plaintiffs’ new position that they no longer want the NFLPA* negotiating the benefits to be made available to retired players.

Indeed, Glazer acknowledges that “[t]here is still a chance that some unforeseen obstacle can somehow stall the agreement again, although that now seems unlikely.”  That “unforeseen obstacle” could be the foreseen interference of Eller and company.

Thus, the cork is staying in the champagne on this one until it’s all official.

Glazer also reports that facilities will open as early as Tuesday, that training camp will open for 10 teams Wednesday, another 10 teams Thursday, and the last two on Sunday.  Free agency, per Glazer, could start as early as Friday or Saturday.

We’ve got our fingers crossed for Friday, since we don’t want PFT Planet to have to follow the free-agency frenzy on their non-work time.

Glazer’s report fills in none of the gaps regarding the terms that were open as of Sunday, most notably the presence of an opt-out provision that could shorten the agreement from 10 to seven years.

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Earlier Brees e-mail listed open issues as of Saturday


In the wake of Thursday’s unprecedented confusion, with the NFL approving a labor deal that the NFLPA* either hadn’t seen or wouldn’t accept, plenty of you have asked for a full list of the open issues that existed.

Via an e-mail sent to teammates on Saturday, Saints quarterback Drew Brees — a member of the NFLPA* Executive Committee and one of the 10 named plaintiffs in the Brady antitrust class action — listed the remaining areas of dispute.

Here’s a summary of the e-mail, a copy of which we obtained earlier tonight.

For starters, Brees said that a few of the open issues are “deal breakers.”  Though it may simply be rhetoric, it’s a troubling sign at a time when things are supposedly close to being done.

Brees identified three primary outstanding issues:  (1) workers’ compensation; (2) minimum cash spend; and (3) injury guarantees.

As to workers’ compensation, Brees writes that “the NFL is trying to impose a system where they can restrict which states we can file for workers comp.”  He calls it a “major benefit when it comes to long term health care,” and he vows that “[w]e will never let them restrict our health and safety long term.”

As to the minimum cash spend, Brees writes that “we want to force owners to spend a minimum percentage of the cap every year in cash.”  Brees adds, “We cannot have teams like KC spend only 67% of the cap like they did in 2009.  It doesn’t matter how high the cap is if they are only going to spend that much. So with a minimum in place, it requires all teams to be at or above that minimum.  More money in players pockets.”

As to injury guarantees, Brees explains that “you will have at least a portion of the your contract guaranteed for injury for the first 3 years of your deal.”

Brees also addresses the recertification of the union as a pending issue to be resolved.  “As you know, when we were locked out on March 11, we were forced to decertify as a Union so we could sue the NFL under the anti-trust laws and file for an injunction saying the lockout was illegal,” Brees writes.  “That lawsuit is the Brady vs. NFL case.  As part of the settlement for that case (in other words, as part of this deal getting done), the NFL would require us as players to reconstitute as a Union.  Why?  Because it protects them from the anti-trust laws and keeps them from getting sued by everyone for acting as a monopoly.”

Brees fails to mention that this also will protect the draft from legal attack by the likes of Andrew Luck, which in turn will preserve the rookie wage scale.  As he should have said, “More money in [current] players pockets.”

Brees then lists six areas  in which he wants to see “significant improvements” after recertification:  (1) disability benefits for retired players as well as a revamped disability system; (2) all other benefits; (3) regulations for team doctors, physicians, trainers, etc.; (4) drug policy; (5) personal conduct policy; and (6) regulation of agents, financial advisors, etc.

As to the last point, the players don’t need concessions from the league.  The NFLPA* can do whatever it wants by way of regulating agents and financial advisors.

Brees also explains that the league’s proposal could force the players to continue to operate under the non-economic terms of the 2006 CBA, if a new agreement isn’t reached on those terms within three days after recertification.  You know, the same noneconomic terms of the 2006 CBA under which the players were more than willing to continue before the lockout.

Brees closes the e-mail with the following rallying cry:

“This has been a long and tough process, fellas.  We can see the finish line, but there are still some hurdles to get through before we can present this deal to you.  And we must make sure that we do things the right way, both legally and morally.  If we decide to reconstitute as a Union, that is something every player in the NFL will have to sign off on.  We will only recommend that to you if we feel it is in the best interest of the players.  And we will only recommend a deal to you if it is a fair deal.  We are not there yet.

“Our legal team will be working tirelessly through the weekend with the NFL attorneys.  De Smith will also be in constant communication with Goodell as they continue to hammer through these make or break issues.

“Stay tuned for daily emails that will keep you informed and feel free to contact me or [Jon Stinchcomb] with any questions or concerns.  And please don’t believe anything you read or hear in the media.  It is all speculation.  They have no clue as to what is going on.  They print what sells.  If you don’t hear it from us, take it with a grain of salt.”

Well, we’ve got a clue as to at least one thing.  Make that two:  the contents of the two e-mails Brees has sent to his teammates.

Besides, Drew is grossly underestimating the media when claiming that the media has “no clue” as to what is going on.  Surely, plenty of people with knowledge of the various facts and issues are talking to the media.

The more likely reality is that Brees and the rest of the NFLPA* leadership don’t want the players to be influenced by anyone but the NFLPA* leadership.  The easiest way to do that is to issue a blanket statement that the media is full of crap.

Even if, you know, we aren’t.

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Brees e-mail presents different timeline for week ahead

Drew Brees AP

The NFLPA* Executive Committee is on their way to Washington D.C. Sunday night in anticipation of Monday’s expected vote to recommed ratification of the next CBA.

Perhaps the most well known player on that committee, Drew Brees, sent his Saints teammates an e-mail Sunday, a copy of which was obtained by PFT’s Mike Florio. (’s Jason La Canfora first reported the contents of the e-mail.)

In the e-mail, Brees makes Monday’s decision sound like a formality.

“Here is the latest,” Brees writes.  “The Deal is almost done.  I am flying out to DC tonight to meet with our Executive Committee and De Smith tomorrow.  It is expected that we will approve the deal as well as our Board of Reps and Lead Plaintiffs and then have a press conference to announce that sometime during the day on Monday.”

While he cautions that no one knows the exact schedule for the next week, his timeline differs from ESPN’s expectations for free agency.

Brees believes teams will be able to re-sign their own players starting this Tuesday.  He believes unrestricted free agency would possibly start Friday afternoon.  (ESPN said Saturday.)  Brees tells his teammates the Saints can get physicals and report to the team’s hotel on Saturday, July 30.  They will have to report to the team’s facility on Sunday, July 31 at 2 p.m. CT for a team meeting.

“I can’t speak for other teams, but this is what we are doing,” Brees says in the e-mail.

At a time when the NFLPA* is reportedly still working late into the night, we’re hesitant to say any timeline is certain until we see DeMaurice Smith at a podium.  (Perhaps Roger Goodell will be there, too.)

It still sounds like our remaining questions will be answered soon enough.

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Vikings player rep predicts “good news” tomorrow

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Vikings guard Steve Hutchinson, who serves as the team’s representative to the NFLPA*, shared an intriguing — and encouraging — observation with Judd Zulgad of the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

Said Hutchinson:  “I think there will be some good news coming out tomorrow.”

Hutchinson’s remarks come amid rampant reports that the NFLPA* Executive Committee and then the board of player representatives (including Hutchinson) will vote Monday to recommend acceptance of the labor deal passed by the owners last week, presumably with some tweaking.

It’s widely believed that, if the Executive Committee and the board of player representatives vote to recommend the deal, the players overwhelming will vote to accept it.

Notwithstanding the optimism, Bengals receiver Chad Ochocinco earlier characterized the reports of a looming deal as the figment of the media’s imagination.

Can we not seeing [sic] what the media is doing?” Ochocinco said on Twitter.  “Hype up a deal will be done n when it’s not it further angers the public perception of players!!!!”

Apparently, this is one situation in which Ochocinco’s media company, OCNN, has missed the boat.  Or, perhaps more accurately, the plane to Washington on which the members of the Executive Committee reportedly are flying.

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Opt out clause still lingers


Not long after word broke on Saturday afternoon of the NFLPA* Executive Committee’s decision to vote on the proposed labor agreement on Monday, we heard that the open issue regarding the duration of the deal had been resolved, and that the contract would cover a full 10 years, with no opt out.

Multiple sources now tell PFT that the issue remains open.

As we explained Saturday, it shouldn’t.  The players receive a guaranteed percentage of revenue over the life of the contract.  Long-term stability maximizes revenues not only from the TV networks but also from sponsors and anyone else who would prefer to see long-term labor peace before coughing up long-term megabucks.

Also, let’s not underestimate the value of a 10-year deal to the important process of mending fences with the fans.

We’ve yet to hear a compelling argument in favor of the ability to pull the plug, which reinforces our belief that the players want it simply because the owners don’t — and/or because the owners had it and used it in the last labor deal.

Then there’s the fact that the players loudly have complained whenever the league has allegedly (or actually) reneged on a term that was supposedly settled.  In this case, we’re told that this point was settled, and that at the 11th (or as the case may be 12th) hour the players raised the possibility of an early out clause.

Under the proposed deal, the players will 48 percent of the gross, with no limit.  And the bar will only go higher and higher, especially once true long-term labor peace has been restored.  If there’s any legitimate reason to have the ability to pull the plug after 10 years, we’d love to hear it.

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Seven things you may have missed in new CBA

Man Signing Contract

We’ve tackled a lot of the big implications of the new CBA, which is expected to be voted on by the NFLPA* Executive Committee on Monday.

Top rookie picks will make a lot less, and there have been rules put in place to discourage rookie holdouts. Revenue sharing has been adjusted. The salary cap will be flexible in 2011.  Padded practices will plummet.  Tampering won’t be a big issue this year.

Still, a lot of smaller items not worthy of a full post have slipped through the cracks.  Here are seven worth noting:

1. There won’t be hitting for the first three days of training camp this year.  (That includes arrival day and two days of practices.)

2. Teams have 17 days to sign restricted free agents from other teams to offer sheets after the league year starts. In practice, we don’t expect much RFA movement this year, if any.

3. Teams have until September 20 to sign their franchise players to long-term deals.  This timeline has obviously been pushed back quite a bit by the lockout.

4. While the CBA ends after the 2020 season, the 2021 draft is included in the deal.  That’s the same setup we had this year; the draft wasn’t affected by the lack of an agreement.

5. Minimum salaries are going up $50,000, and will continue to increase. This is a huge gain for a lot of players.  Almost half the league has a minimum salary.

6. The franchise tag will be calculated differently.  NFL legal counsel Jeff Pash indicated the tags will be calculated as a percentage of the salary cap, rather than the average of top ten players.  We’re looking to find out exactly how this works.

7. There will be no judicial oversight of the CBA. “Neutral arbitrators jointly appointed by the NFL and NFLPA will resolve disputes as appropriate.”

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Source: Eller case could still screw up settlement

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On July 4, a group of retired players led by Hall of Fame defensive end Carl Eller made the ultimate power play, filing an amended class-action lawsuit to include both the NFL, the 10 current players who sued the NFL, and NFLPA* executive director DeMaurice Smith.

The claims, which are in our estimation borderline frivolous given the retired players’ lack of legal standing to force the league and the current players to give the retired players any cut of the revenue pie, would still need to be properly resolved via appropriate due process, which necessarily could take some time even if the courts agree with our assessment.  Thus, if they want to, Eller and company could delay the settlement between the league and the players.

When lawyer Michael Hausfeld, who represents the class, joined PFT Live on July 8, it seemed fairly clear that, no matter how things shake out, Eller and company don’t want to get in the way of the possible return of football.  Five days ago, Eller himself said that the retired players won’t stand in the way of a settlement.

Against that background, a source with knowledge of the broader negotiations reports that the Eller plaintiffs are still in position to potentially torpedo the deal.

Per the source, Hausfeld argues that the NFL and the NFLPA* are engaged in illegal collective bargaining, that the pre-asterisked NFLPA previously represented the interests of retired players via collective bargaining, and that the retired players now want to represent their own interests and rights.

Fine, Hausfeld.  The retired players represent their interests and rights.  And they may be interested to know that they have no rights.

So maybe that’s what should happen.  The NFLPA* should stop all efforts to get anything for retired players, and the retired players can then try on their own to get health care and whatever else they currently have no right to get.

Making this effort at the 12th hour hurts the retired players on many levels.  If the NFL decides to play hardball, the retired players could get far less than the NFLPA* could ever get for them.  And the NFL could decide to play hardball, if/when public opinion turns sharply against the retired players.

As it will.

So, please, Mr. Eller and Mr. Hausfeld.  For the best interests of all retired players, get out of the way of football.  Like you already promised you would.

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