Albeit small, a window of opportunity opens to strike a new CBA

It widely has been presumed that, once the uncapped year started on March 5, there’s no way a new labor agreement would be negotiated before 2011.  Generally, we agree.

But there’s talk — limited, for now — that a window of opportunity currently exists for getting a new deal done.  Why?  Because a new deal would entail a rookie wage scale, which would limit dramatically the money that otherwise will be pocketed under rookie deals paid out to the likes of Sam Bradford and Ndamukong Suh.

The incoming rookies likely would regard the change as unfair.  But the incoming rookies don’t have a vote.

Of course, it could get even more interesting if the deal gets done — and if the rookie pay rules change — after the players have been drafted.  In that case, the outcome could seem even less fair.

Still, there are many issues to be resolved and the owners, in our view, simply aren’t likely to abandon the leverage they’ve carefully cultivated over the past couple of years.  The owners, we believe, intend to fully exert that leverage, culminating in the unilateral imposition of the last, best offer made before the current deal expires — and then possibility the negotiation of a new CBA on the eve of the 2011 regular season.

That said, we’d welcome the negotiation of a new deal before April 22.  Of course, before that can happen, the two sides would have to have, you know, a meeting.

Finally, if there were a new deal by the start of the draft, the financial rules (including, presumably, a salary cap) likely would apply next year.  The rookie wage scale would apply right now.

29 responses to “Albeit small, a window of opportunity opens to strike a new CBA

  1. I’m completely on the owners side in this. With a down economy, it’s even more important to reign in the ridiculous rookie contracts. Frankly, this should have been addressed about 15 years ago.

  2. Come on please!!!!!!! That and not being able to find a damn job are the only two things keeping me up nights talking on this dumb board.

  3. If the owners are smart they’ll look at the rookie contracts as something that either doesn’t bother them or they don’t want to change.
    Just more CBA negotiating leverage for them.

  4. @Poo Flinging Monkey
    The crazy rookie contracts are one of the only things that the owners and the union (and the fans, come to think of it) agree about, actually.

  5. Rookie Salaries go down naturally. People who think they are going up simply don’t understand that the NFL income is increasing faster.
    Peyton Manning’s rookie contract was 13% of the cap.
    Matthew Stafford’s rookie contract was 8.9%.
    The reduction is more drastic at the top, but that’s the only spots that really matter (because once you get out of the top 10, you stop paying out huge contracts for unproven players). Still, all spots in the draft are increasing slower relative to the income the NFL is bringing in.
    Basically, the people in favor of rookie wage caps (whether they realize it or not) are in favor of putting more money into already rich owners pockets.
    I do think something has to be done when a good for nothing player like Jamarcus Russell can get paid and sit on the bench doing nothing, but at the same time, it’s the Raiders fault for making that pick.

  6. “The incoming rookies likely would regard the change as unfair. But the incoming rookies don’t have a vote.”
    And that would be another example of why labor law in this country is complete bullshit. Unions shouldn’t be able to negotiate with management to screw future members.
    And before people start responding that they’re just spoiled jocks, realize that these idiotic laws apply to all of us.

  7. @ Kenzster……………I sensed the same thing. Even if the post was done at 10:53 PM ET.

  8. I still insist that the Rams can reign in the outrageous contracts that the top 10 draftees (note: not players, draftees; i.e. see JaWalrus Russell – nobody in his sane mind can call him a player…).
    Just use the leverage of telling the player that here’s his low ball, incentive laden contract; sign it, or go back to the draft next year when there’s a slotted rookie salary cap in place.
    As I have cried to all heaven and hell, RAMS JUST DO THIS!!! If they pull it off, they would have single handedly screwed all the top agents in the process and broken the iron fist that these contracts entail.
    I am a die hard Raider fan and I’m pissed to see how a lazy fat-arsed biological entity can get away with ripping off my franchise, and still tell everyone that he’s getting the hang of things, he’s playing better, etc, etc.
    Just do it, Rams! We’ll all praise you if you get this done, even though you suck and wear petticoats to practise…

  9. Will be funny to see how many rookies are smart enough to sign as fast as possible after the draft so they beat the pay scale.
    Will be funny if someone like Michael Crabtree holds out because he’s not getting however many million he wants… and then, WHAM, a new agreement is reached and he gets even less than originally offered!

  10. Please. As if the owners outside of the top ten draft spots give a crap enough about the owners in the top ten paying huge contracts to give up the chance to bargain millions out of the players overall.

  11. The current CBA did not cause the problem of out of control rookie deals and a new CBA is not needed to fix the problem. The CBA did not force owners to pay $ 60 million and more to the top draft choices and it does not force them to pay even more to each year’s new crop of top draft choices. If owners had any self control, they could merely refuse to pay the overall #1 draft pick more than $ 2 million per year and not over $ 10 million per year, and then every subsequent draft pick could be paid less. Owners could meet and agree to abide by new rookie compensation limits and that would take care of the problem, provided the owners honored their agreement. Of course this would be a blatant violation of the U.S. Antitrust laws, but establishing the same sort of rookie compensation limits in a new CBA would be no less of an antitrust violation. If the Justice Department will give the NFL a free pass to ignore the Antitrust laws with a new CBA (and for various other matters), then the owners should be able to accomplish the same rookie pay limits without a new CBA (if they had the guts and self control to do so).

  12. DeMaurice Smith is way too incompetent to get a deal done before 2011. He’s a rhetoric-spewing lawyer. They need a football guy. He’s just costing the players more money every day that he doesn’t get a deal done.
    @ GoBrowns19,
    It would be easier for you to find a job if you didn’t live in Cleveland. : ) Or, is your real name Kokonis?!

  13. The owners need to crush the union. The costs to the average fan have skyrocketed since the players unionized. Nobody runs a business to lose money. The greater the owner’s costs, the greater the fan’s costs.
    The owners have guaranteed TV money whether they play games or not. That means many teams will make a greater profit if they don’t have to pay players $130 million a year in salary.
    The players would be idiots to not take just about whatever the owners are offering. The years a player can make big money are few. After the rookie contract they have 3-5 years and then they are old.
    It will be interesting, but the only question here is; are football players even dumber than hockey players?

  14. ItalianArmyGuy says:
    April 1, 2010 10:57 PM
    Why would anyone pay more than $5 and a case of beer for Sam Bradford?
    And the stupid comment train keeps on rollin from this window licker.

  15. There won’t be a CBA that would effect this year’s rookie wage scale. The NFL wouldn’t do that after players have already applied for the draft under the assumption there would be none. Talk about bait and switch.

  16. Oh it’s not fair? Fine rookie, decline the team that drafts you and go use that degree you earned. Good luck.

  17. Something should be done about rookie pay scales, Vernon Gholston was such a bust and my Jets are still paying him just cause they invested so much to begin with. Between the players being unproven in the NFL and the risk involved in drafting due to giving unproven players high salaries, the draft really is a crap shoot right now.

  18. The owners and players ought to strike a deal. Both sides are trying flirting with killing the golden goose.
    We, the fans, love our NFL…but don’t piss us off. Remember MLB back in the 1990s. Just to win back fans after the strike, they had to manufacture a steroid-laced homerun chase between McGwire & Sosa. What would the NFL have to do?

  19. Currently, draft someone and they hold out, they re-enter next year’s draft. Now knowing that next year will have a cap or lockout, what leverage do they have to hold out possibly 1 or 2 years as a scale will be in place?

  20. If I were an owner, just offer what you think is fair. Next year if they re-enter the draft there will be a scale, or strike. But either way, when football resumes after this year there will be a scale in place for the draft.

  21. In what part of American society have unions ever been good. With Fair Labor Laws and OSHA there has been no need for them since the 60’s. They only cause problems, inferior products and criminal activity. Unions are for the lazy and entitled. Look how it ruined the American auto industry. It ruined baseball and now it’s ruining football.

  22. Everyone on these threads forget that the average player lasts what…2 or 3 years in the NFL?
    These guys don’t get guaranteed contracts, have to fight for their job each year to some kid out of college and if you get seriously hurt, BAM…probably never get the chance to earn big money because you’ll never be the same! Don’t get me wrong, I’m not crying a river for NFL football players but their chances of making really good money are slim to none when you compare them to all the other major sports that are played in the US.
    That being said, I think the rookie scale needs to be addressed, if not monetarily but also in how they’re counted against the team. Since they’re not guaranteed contracts, why not count what IS guaranteed to them against the cap for their team? That way if the guy is a bust, the cap ramifications aren’t as debilitating long term. Honestly, this may be how its done now and I’m unsure as to how the current rookie contracts are counted against the cap…

  23. I’d venture a guess that paying guaranteed rookie contracts are peanuts compared to the total-football-revenue split.
    Besides, why not just not-pick if it was such a concern. Or make the safest pick, not the pick with the greatest “upside.”
    DeSmith is a politically-connected arse who spews propaganda whenever possible. I don’t know what bill-of-goods he sold the Union for his presentation, but something tells me he will stick to his guns.
    He is not about football, he is about politics.
    If these players had any brains whatsoever, they’d realize the current model is not sustainable from a business-owners perspective. You cannot have 1 side pay 100% of costs & get less than half of gross. While the other side gets a 0% costs, salary & a greater % of the gross.
    If I were them, I’d back off % of the TFR split & look for more contract-guarantees, much less RFA rules, spike in great medical coverage for life & a % of split going towards retired players, a pool of people to which they will be a part of for a greater % of their life than as a player.
    They could be negotiating massive benefits that may help them from a long-term tax advantage & agent fees.
    If some of these dumbasses would stop thinking about Bentley’s now & start thinking about their bills when they are 50+, this whole thing would go a lot better.

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