Saturday labor meeting gives reason for optimism


As the PFT rental bus began the trek from Dallas back to PFT headquarters, we saw John Clayton on ESPN discussing the labor situation.  And he seemed to be trying to create the impression that he’s the only guy who is optimistic that a deal will be done by the end of March.

He’s not.

On Monday, Tom Curran joined PFT Live, and he and the host of the show, an Internet hack with whom you may be familiar, agreed that a new agreement could be coming in March.

The joint statement issued by the league and the union on Saturday strongly hints that the two sides agree on the most important threshold issue:  the moment at which the clock strikes 12.

“We plan to increase the number, length and intensity of bargaining sessions so that we can reach agreement before the March 4 expiration of the current CBA,” the NFL and the NFLPA said.

We’ve been saying it for two years, dating back to a certain appearance on a certain league-owned broadcasting operation in a certain Florida city that was certainly more pleasant from a weather standpoint than the place we all left on Monday morning.  No deal can be done until the two sides agree on the deadline, since neither side will begin to move toward a bottom-line position if the other side thinks that the time to do the deal hasn’t arrived.

It appears that the league finally has persuaded the union to treat March 4 as the deadline, and that NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith has decided that he doesn’t need to provoke a fight in order to have credibility with the rank and file.

That said, there’s one issue that could create some consternation.  If March 4 arrives without an extension of the current CBA, which was and still is the settlement agreement of the antitrust case filed by Reggie White and others many years ago, Judge David Doty’s jurisdiction over the relationship between the two parties ends.  Given that the league has tried to have Judge Doty bounced based on the perception that he has a union bias, the NFL surely would like to find a way to do a Doty-free deal.  The union, on the other hand, surely would like to keep Doty involved.

In the end, it’s another bargaining chip between the two sides, and one of the only sources of true leverage for the players, especially in the wake of last week’s unfavorable rulings in the “lockout insurance” case and the health insurance grievance.  With the two sides committed to getting something done by March 4, it’s reasonable to think that they’ll try to work through these issues, possibly with the same type of extension that was used five years ago to get a deal done during the month of March.

18 responses to “Saturday labor meeting gives reason for optimism

  1. Get it done. Both sides are a bunch of babies and need to stop letting their egos get in the way.

  2. So if nothing comes to fruition by March 4th, then this alleged Union-friendly judge is out-of-the-loop. Yet, the league needs to persuade the NFLPA to get something done before March 4th? Am I missing something here?

  3. Nice article, Mike. Keep letting us know about the situation. I would love to get a deal done by March 4th, although I’m not optimistic.

  4. My main issues:

    1. Go to a 17 game schedule, which will include two bye weeks. Start the season as you normally do, thus it will end on President’s Day weekend…giving most of the country off from work on Monday!!

    2. Benefits for retired players. It’s sad to see these iconic figures of football’s past struggling to pay for care. If the game caused their condition, then the league should cover it!

    3. Rookie wage scale – stop paying unproven players so much guarenteed cash! Bradford played great this year, but is he worth 50+ Million in bonuses? NO WAY!!! The only QB’s worth that kind of bonus is Payton Manning, Tom Brady, Aaron Rogers and Drew Brees. Wouldn’t this logically create more $$ for the vets?

  5. Until Demaurice Smith removes himself from his position, I have a terrible feeling about this.

  6. tell the owners to shove it! they own the teams not the league! tell goodell (a.k.a.) pinnochio to shove it also, the league has had it’s best years under the current agreement! where’s the problem?

  7. The only thing I would add to that list is opening up the owners’ books to the players. It only seems right, with two sides going into business with each other, don’t you think.

  8. adding opening up the owners’ books to the list should insure a lockout! not saying it’s a bad idea, or even unfair . . . just don’t think that is gonna happen . . . but boy o boy, wouldn’t some forensic auditor just love to get a crack at those!

  9. The owners are making a huge mistake. They are not budging but the players with their endorsements and marketing in today’s world don’t necessarily need an NFL platform, they could go to the USFL just like back then. It actually almost worked back then.

  10. Totally rediculous, Let em strike. Lockem out. They are making so much money on both sides it’s a joke. The only people to get screwed are the fans. But what the hell does Goodell give a damn. He’s making his millions . Pretending to give a rat’s ass about player saftey but wants them to play 18 games. The only reason he wants to increase the regular season is to make more money. People don’t want to pay for pre-season games, at least not full price.

  11. I can’t wait for my scab fantasy football draft. I’m gonna steal “he hate me” in the 3rd round.

  12. The deal would be done if the League didn’t have to deal with D. Smith and K. Mawae. Two idiots who are pushing their own agenda. Lock them out Goodell!!!!!

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