Kessler’s vision for the NFL moves one step closer

Plenty of players, agents, and media members have scoffed at NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell’s brand-new op-ed item appearing in the Wall Street Journal, which explains the end result of the legal strategy that the players hatched on March 11 with the filing of the Tom Brady antitrust lawsuit.

Goodell sets forth some of the same things we’ve been saying of late — that ultimate player victory in the Brady antitrust lawsuit will result in an NFL with no labor deal, no limits on free agency, no rules that apply across the 32 teams, and no draft.  As to the “no draft” concept, Goodell even quotes agent Brian Ayrault’s recent tweets directed to PFT regarding Ayrault’s belief that there should be no draft.

In addition to no draft, Goodell explains that, under the players’ vision of the NFL as crafted by lawyer Jeffrey Kessler, the league would be lacking various devices that have protected players for years.  There would be no minimum team payroll (i.e., salary floor).  There would be no minimum player salary.  There would be no standard compensation for players who suffer serious injuries while practicing or playing.  The would be no league-wide benefit plans.  There would be no limits on free agency, with franchise “perpetually out of the playoffs” serving “essentially as farm teams for the elites.”  (It reminds me of my once-beloved Pirates.  If they had anyone in the past decade or so that an elite team actually wanted.)

Also, each team would be permitted to determine its rules for training camp and offseason workouts, with no limits on duration or intensity of practices.  And without a league-wide program of drug testing, teams would be left to their own devices.  Some teams may choose not to test for marijuana.  Others may choose not to test for steroids.  (The end result likely would be a decision by Congress to impose Olympic-style testing on the sport, something neither the league nor the players want.)

Those who disagree with Goodell (Mike Freeman of has characterized the op-ed as “scare tactics”) believe that Kessler’s legal positions are aimed merely at securing more leverage.  The players will have plenty of leverage if the lockout ultimately is lifted on appeal, and then Kessler can position the players for even more by arguing that any rules imposed by the teams for 2011 constitute a violation of the antitrust laws.

There’s no reason to believe that Kessler and the players won’t make that argument, especially since the players realize that more leverage can eventually be parlayed into a Collective Bargaining Agreement with better terms for the players.  Though we’ve heard privately from NFLPA* sources that the Brady antitrust litigation won’t be attacking the draft, no one has come out and said publicly that the draft won’t be attacked.  (We gave NFLPA* executive director DeMaurice Smith a chance to do just that last month, and he didn’t.)

Besides, the attack can come from college players entering the league.  If there isn’t a labor agreement in place between the owners and the reconstituted union to make the NFL immune from employee-launched antitrust attacks, Andrew Luck or anyone else can argue that they should (as Ayrault believes) to “be able to choose who they work for.”

Thus, unless and until one of the 10 named plaintiffs or one of their lawyers says “we’re not and we never will attack the draft” and unless and until a new CBA is in place, preventing the clients of Ayrault and other like-minded agents from doing essentially what Maurice Clarett did in 2004 (one of the few big cases in the past decade that the NFL actually won), the draft is in jeopardy.

We hope that, in the end, cooler heads prevail.  But cooler heads have yet to make an appearance in two-plus years of negotiation and legal wrangling.  There’s no reason, even after the ruling to lift the lockout, to believe that the league will buckle or that Kessler and company will stop pushing for the ultimate leverage for a labor deal that would make even Marvin Miller say, “Wow, that’s a damn good labor deal.”  And then, if Kessler and company obtain an order from the highest court in the land that any rules implemented by the NFL violate the draft and if Kessler and company make pie-in-the-sky demands including, for example, partial ownership of the teams by the players, the NFL may decide that it’s better to roll the dice in a rules-free NFL.

If it ultimately happens both sides will share the blame.  But as long as Kessler is pushing for no draft — and as long as no CBA is in place to stop future rookies from doing the same — everyone who follows football needs to recognize the possibility that, in the future, there will be no draft.

Maybe by then the Pirates will be competitive, and I can go work for Calcaterra.

53 responses to “Kessler’s vision for the NFL moves one step closer

  1. Actually there is a reason that the league may buckle and that is this is an antitrust case with potentially millions of dollars in damages which are trebled. Kessler is using this as a bargaining chip because they know from the Clarett case that they can win on this. The antitrust suit would never have been filed if the owners hadn’t tried to break the union. The law is the law.

  2. If the players can run to a court during each CBA negotiation, they will continue to dominate the talks and the owners will get in a worse position each time. I know this stuff by Kessler is a bluff, but at some point the owners will feel that accepting his view is better than negotiating CBA’s. I think the owners’ best course now is to call the players’ bluff and implement a few rules for competitive purposes. Eventually the players will split, with the majority wanting a union back. Then the owners can drive for the long-term bargain they feel they need. Until then there is no reason for the union to really negotiate (where there is actual give-and-take).

  3. And for those yesterday who gave me a hard time about my comment saying that this ruling could ruin the NFL here is proof. Football is great because of the draft, salary caps/floors, drug testing etc etc and the NFLPA (let’s be real there is no asterisk) are trying to ruin it.

  4. Finally the NFL goes on the record with the truth. I have been posting since the lockout began the end goal for Mr. Smith and Mr. Kessler is to break the NFL. I have posted many times its in their personal best interest to be the Marvin Miller of football.

    To those that support the players–stop ranting and calling posters like me Republican or other names. Do something constructive, write, email, call the NFLPA offices, tell them you are a fan and like the current rules. Tell them to get back to the table.

    I am pro-owners because I love the game. And I realize Smith and Kessler only care about WINNING so they can move forward.

    Read what the Commissioner is writing. Understand the issues. Then react.

    Just for the record–I am not an owners stooge. I am not a Republican. I am a fan.

  5. Lesson learned, Rog. Maybe next time around, you and the owners you represent won’t sit around for 2 years and will maybe submit a reasonable offer to the players a little sooner than just a few hours before the deadline.

    You lost, period.

  6. Kessler is why so many hate lawyers. he is going to ruin this great game and league. He probably was cut from the football team in high school. You suck Kessler

  7. Like I have been saying all along, a longer term view of what this could mean to the NFL and sports in general was needed – and this is why the owners needed to win. I would rather lose a year or part of a year to keep the format I love.

    Shame on every single one of you who whined to have your football now, no matter the consequences to the sport. I hope your short sighted view doesn’t ruin the game we love.

  8. The players would be foolish NOT to attack the draft.

    Without a union, they are vulnerable to owner imposed rules that could easily give them a substantially rawer deal than a negotiated CBA.

    ONLY an attack on the draft (and by extension the restrictions on free agency for players just entering the league) would give them sufficient leverage to counter this.

  9. I have read a thousand stories and a thousand post of the labor dispute… I still do not grasp some main points.

    How is there violation of Anti Trust rules, specifically?

    If there is no Union and no CBA… Why can’t the NFL make new rules? Oh, because Anti Trust… This I just do not understand.

    Does this ruling help the Brady Anti Trust case? Is it now more likely the Brady case will win?

    Enough of the questions.. One thing I do know is… The literature inside the Brady Case is very dangerous to football. I understand some of you hate the big bad owners and many hate the players. (I will not state my stance, due to it being irrelevant to my point) But, the players winning court cases might be good for the short term but very bad for the long term. Please do not be typical Americans and only think short term. Please do not be typical Americans and study the Brady Case literature. I will sacrifice, because that’s what us Americans use to do, this season for the overall strength and longevity of the sport.

  10. Its hard to imagine the players would ever be happy with the league dropping the bottom out of player salaries. There would be uproar from all the fringe and lower to mid tier players as well as vets coming to the end of careers (I.e. the only affected players with much influence) against something caused entirely by the union reps. Just doesn’t seem like something that could ever make sense.

  11. Those who disagree with Goodell (Mike Freeman of has characterized the op-ed as “scare tactics”) believe that Kessler’s legal positions are aimed merely at securing more leverage.


    Thats EXACTLY what they are. No one with an IQ over 85 would take his positions as anything else. Its beyond humorous to see so many folks get their knickers in a twist over some vision of the NFL that is a cross between baseball, Hollywood, and a Soviet era gulag.

    Folks here bash Kessler and De Smith regularly as in over their heads and clueless. Yet yesterday’s slam dunk court victory (as well as their TV lockout insurance win) shows these guys were better prepared and had a better strategic plan than the NFL. How many more legal butt kickings do they have to administer to the owners before the folks that post here wise up?

    The players are on record as saying they were very happy to extend the CBA (with all of its work rules, draft rules, etc) before the owners pulled the plug on the deal. That doesn’t sound like a group of wild eyed labor radicals that Goodell is now labeling them does it?

  12. Your once-beloved Pirates. For some reason, knowing you and I have something in common bugs me.

    Not that baseball’s financial situation hasn’t limited my Bucs from being competative, but it also has a lot to do with Robert Nutting and his inability to run a franchise.

    The lack of success for some football teams has nothing to do with a salary cap, minimum payroll or anything else. It has to do with ownership. So unless Goodell plans on sitting some owners down and having a serious conversation with them about how they run their team and draft players, we’ll still have some teams in the NFL playing like the Pirates.

  13. I understand why u are pro NFL. That’s where the money is. If the “Kessler” plan ever came to pass it would be Roger Goodell’s fault. Why did Goodell opt out if he thought this were a real possibility? Because they wanted to screw the players.

    The players agreed to give on the rookie salary cap. Gave the owners an option of 50% of all revenues.

    What have the owners given? Nothing. They tried to screw the players on the TV deal and the lockout.

    Goodell writing that garbage piece of lies can’t help things at all.

  14. Your editorial of Kessler and the NFLPA is playing the other side of the coin. Your position has been it is the best for the fans for the lockout to be lifted yet are now warning that anarchy will rule….

    Despite the pain in the short-term with the lockout / decertification it was in the fans best interest for the lockout to continue and forcing both parties to mediate for a collectively bargained agreement.

    Without the lockout the players have no interest in negotiating and in fact their strategy has shifted to dictating terms.

    At this point I believe we are in greater risk of losing games this season and more importantly greatly devaluing the quality of the product on the field. Despite opinions to the contrary the quality on the field comes from ownership, front offices, coaching staffs, scouting staffs, training staffs, and the players.

  15. Also being from the UK I have very little knowledge of Marvin Miller. From a quick read of wiki he seemed to do a lot to benefit players (getting rid of the reserve clause, introducing 6 years to free agency to drive up salaries etc), nothing De Smith is doing is going to benefit the players if it comes to fruition.

  16. The owners are getting exactly what they deserve. Just re-read how Jerry Jones and Jerry Richardson acted at the collective bargaining session they attended. They weren’t out to save the NFL. They wanted to prove what big swinging whatever’s they were, and they wanted to show the players who was boss.

    I don’t think the players have behaved perfectly, at all, but if we’re doing comparatives here, the owners’ behavior has been far worse.

  17. Baseball has a draft, just like the NFL, with the worst teams getting the earliest picks the following year.

    What sets the NFL apart from MLB competitiveness-wise is the revenue sharing. The NFL has a national tv contract that is its main source of revenue. The discrepancy in baseball team salaries is because each team gets most of its revenue through independently negotiated local tv market contracts. Thus, the Yankees get significantly more than the smaller media market teams.

    The reality is that the NFLPA’s potential attack on the draft is a bargaining position. The league and the players (already in the league) like the draft. It is the college players who shouldn’t like it and challenge it. Ironically, when a CBA is finally reached, the college players legal challenge will have to be against the union, not the league.

  18. So, the players are really arguing that the 32 teams are acting as one entity and they aren’t allowed to do that.

    Blow it up. The NFL can put a stop to this quickly. Admit that the franchises are one entity, akin to Mcdonalds or Nike. The owners are simply franchise managers. Set pay rates at the league office based on position and years of service. Bonuses can be had for pro bowl appearances and performance to encourage superior play and no loafing ( Albert Haynesworth). No NFL draft. Assign the players to the resepctive franchises based on ned determined by the league. In other words, Seatttle needs a QB–they are assigned one by the league from the eligible college players.

    I can’t get hired by Nike then tell them I refuse to locate. This shuts the players up, protects the game, and encourages performance. You could still have a ” player assignment show” similar to the draft. Players can put in for transfers to be considered by the league.
    The NFL can protect its investors and assure football. It can protect and actually market the game by considering marketing when they asign players. ( Think AJ Green to the Falcons, or Quinn to the Browns)

    Screw the NFLPA, and the greedy players. They want more and more while the average rock breaking blue collar guy can’t take his kid to the game and buy a hat.

  19. Baseball just reported yesterday that attendance is shrinking for the 4th straight year and yet the greatest sport in the land is trying to move to that compensation model. I don’t love either side and yes the league is a walking antitrust violation in the purest sense of the word, but does the NFLPA really want to be DEAD RIGHT! A consistent labor agreement leveled so all markets can play is what makes the NFL great and what makes Vegas SOOOOO much money which in turn fuels the TV contracts.

    I for one will cancel my season tickets if the league moves to this model so in the end eff both sides! I would then be happy to pay money for the UFL who should just replicate the labor model that NFL had previously.

  20. These doomsday scenarios have zero credibility. The NFL lost (as I said it would) because they locked out the players when they had no right to do so. They were looking for this confrontation and now they’ve reaped a whirlwind.

    A league is not a league without rules and a system to maintain competitive balance, combined with a system to allow the better players at some point to have their opportunity to sell their services to the highest bidder.

    Those of you who think MLB is not competitive have only to look at last year’s World Series to see how wrong you are.

    The NFL could easily come up with a set of rules for player contracts and the draft, to be used during the pendency of this dispute, that allow for competitive balance yet do not run afoul of the antitrust laws.

  21. Almost sounds like the death of the NFL as we know it to me. It may take a few years, but this is just sad that a majority of players are still on board with this. First we heard that current NFLPA didn’t really care about retired players, now it sounds like the current NFLPA players don’t care about future players. I really hope this bleak outlook doesn’t come to fruition.

  22. if troy vincent was the head of the nflpa this wouldn’t of happened. but the players wanted to litigate so they went with a lawyer. well you reap what you sow.

  23. “And for those yesterday who gave me a hard time about my comment saying that this ruling could ruin the NFL here is proof.”

    Reality won’t change Deb’s hollow mind. She’ll still support the players even though they are pushing to essentially destroy everything about the NFL that makes it competitive and exciting, regardless of your team/town affiliation. Some people are just stubborn idiots…there’s no use trying to reason with them.

  24. All you fans can lament that football could go the way of baseball. But from the owners and players perspective, going that route is just fine. Baseball owners are rolling in money and the players have the best and highest guaranteed contracts. KC Royals journeyman pitcher Gil Meche made more than Tom Brady just prior to Brady’s last contract extension. sure competitive balance will be tilted, but everyone involved in the business of football (owners and players) will profit from a shift toward baseball-style operations.

  25. As a football fan, we can all say lifting the lockout was a good thing. it isn’t though because I want the two sides to negotiate in good faith. This empowers the players to demand more of the negotiations than they should. Lifting the lockout may be the end of football as we know it. I prefer a lockout if it leads to a more competitive league in the future.

  26. Players better be careful for what they wished for. No salary floor and no minimum salary is a huge blow to their earning potential. If they thought that the owners were greedy and were in collusion before the 2010 season, wait until there are no rules in place to make the owners have to stay competitive in terms of player compensation.

    The NFL’s model was working because of parody and a set of rules that gave every team a chance to build a winning team. That won’t be the case now, the NFL got a death sentence in this ruling and the players are going to soon realize just how good they had it. Good luck getting so called greedy owners to pay you what you think you are worth when they all think that you make too much as it is and there is nothing that can stop them like a player minimum to stop them. The players can’t have it both ways…

  27. Yankee fans are scratching their heads over Goodell’s comment…..Some teams LOSE players to other teams…they never heard of such a thing???

  28. “I have read a thousand stories and a thousand post of the labor dispute… I still do not grasp some main points.

    How is there violation of Anti Trust rules, specifically?”

    Anti-trust law prohibits collusion on prices. If 95% of the computers in the US were made by just a few companies, and those companies made a secret agreement to limit the price that they will pay for memory, that agreement would be illegal. It would have the effect of depriving the sellers of memory of profits that they would earn in the absence of an anti-trust violation, and they would be entitled to three times the amount of money that they could demonstrate that they lost.

    In the case of professional football, the 32 members of the NFL control well over 95% of the industry. If they collude in an attempt to lower the amount of money that they pay their players, it is an obvious anti-trust violation.

  29. I already refuse to re-up on my season tickets because of all this crap. The owners never should’ve accepted that joke of a CBA in the first place. Now they’re in a world of hurt.

    As a Red Sox fan I consider myself fortunate to root for a team willing to spend money in a large market. It’s just not fair to teams in smaller markets. If the NFL changes structurally, at all, to mimic MLB, I’m done.

  30. No drat, no salary cap and restricted free agency is what this has always been about. Players never intended to negotiate in good faith.

  31. Let me get this straight…. The owners were horrible because Jerry Jones stuck his fists together and got up from a table, and that is obviously worse than the Players suing to do away with the NFL as we know it??

    Does this mean that perceiving that someone may have “disrespected” you, (even unintentionally) is worse than tearing down an American institution?

    All I can say is don’t go to work at a real job, because you’ll never survive.

  32. This particular issue has been my big worry the entire time, especially with the anti-trust suits. We all watched (well, those of us old enough did) as major league baseball imploded and lost much of its popularity and profitability over a labor dispute.

    After becoming a cash cow and basking in unprecedented popularity, stripping the NFL of things like the draft, free agency, drug testing rules, the salary cap, et al… would threaten to send it down the same road.

    I’ve got plenty of reasons to NOT feel sympathy with the owners, but the fact has been if they win, the game remains the same great product it has been. If the players win, it doesn’t.

    IF they’d compromise with each other on a new CBA, we could all win. But that’s what Baseball couldn’t do.

  33. To all of the smug and shortsighted player-supporters, reveling in the verdict and blindly trusting that the ruling against the unjust lockout by the evil and greedy owners means you’ll have the only thing you care about (games), you really need some perspective. But go ahead and live it up for now…until you see the damage this causes long-term.

    The owners opted out of the last CBA because they felt they could no longer continue under what was widely regarded as a player-tilted deal. So, now that the NFLPA* seems to have the upper hand, they’ll refuse to negotiate in any sort of meaningful way, and will try to force through an even more player-centric deal. Even if you believe that they’re only posturing for leverage (which I don’t), you have to see that the owners aren’t going to take this lying down. They’re not going to just accept a deal that’s worse than what they had before. This will now get a lot uglier.

    The long-term health of the league depends on the owners winning the dispute. But if the players win, only the bank accounts of the top few dozen players (and the lawyers) will benefit. The fans only win, if the league does.

  34. These are the same type of comments any management group makes when facing a union. A few years ago, I was a manager for a major retailer, and we were told to tell employees that not just wages would be on the table. There would be no guarantee that any benefits, time off, or work preferences would be included in the final contract. All true, but all equally unlikely. Just an attempt to influence the vote. This is a script that management plays in every contract negotiation. If the league is so concerned about these issues, the simple solution is to end the lockout, and return to the bargaining table. Only a CBA can stop the lawsuits in their tracks.

  35. How can any true football fan possibly support the players now?

    At this point, the owners are positioned as the stewards of the NFL we have come to know and love, and the players have chosen to use the specter of destruction as “leverage.”

    Also, those of you who claim “it’s only leverage” need to wise the hell up. If I hold a gun to your head in the middle of negotiation and say “it’s only leverage” would you condone it?

    I didn’t think so. Get a clue: the union is playing roulette with our national pastime.

    Mutually assured destruction is NOT “leverage.” It’s a reckless threat. And it is – at best – the union’s ace in the hole. That’s why fans are aligned with ownership, and that’s why the union must be defeated.

  36. tednancy says: Apr 26, 2011 11:06 AM

    How can any true football fan possibly support the players now?


    How can any true football fan NOT support the players?

  37. In 15 years, there will still be the New England Patriots. But there won’t be a Tom Brady playing QB. In 15 years, there will still be a Indianapolis Colts. But there won’t be a Peyton Manning playing QB. When did the players become bigger than the game in the NFL? This is absolutely ridiculous, and I hope that the NFL owners simply allow what the players want, which is an NFL with no union and no rules. Then maybe, in a few years when 2% of the players are making 98% of the money, the other 98% of the players will wise up and crawl back to the bargaining table.

  38. @tednancy …

    The owners opted out of a perfectly good CBA. The owners rejected a player offer that cut their percentage of revenues back to 2002 levels. The owners tried to illegally funnel money from joint revenues into their lockout fund, lost, but barrelled forward anyway. The owners can STOP this today by calling the players and signing a new CBA. The majority of players do not want to restructure NFL rules, monkey with free agency, or end the draft. They simply want to return to work. The owners are the ones who have prevented them from doing so.

  39. If the players have thier way, completely, in 10 years the league may look like this….

    Two 16 team Leagues (The Haves and have Nots)

    Each year two teams will switch places from have to have not (Bottom 2 haves go to the have nots and the top 2 have nots go to the haves), otherwise it wil be the same teams in the same positions every year. Haves can only play against haves and have not’s can only play against have nots.

    The haves, led by the Patriots, Cowboys, Redskins, Jets and Giants will be the elite elague with teams that can and will spend whatever it takes to win because they are in large markets with great stadium deals, this is where the Super Bowl partcipants will come from.

    The Have not’s led by the Bengals, Vkings, Jags, Titans & Chargers will struggle to compete due to being in small markest and having poor stadium deals. The only thing that these teams will have to play for is the chance to jump in to the “haves” pool, staying there on a year to year basis is another story.

    The Haves will have a higher paying national TV contract as well, the have not’s will get second billing.

    Now is this REALLY what we want? MLB has basically become this in a more informal manner.

    Both sides have shown to be arrogant and unwilling to negotiate in good faith, what’s done is done. Moving forward I would like to see FORCED negotiantions. Starting May 1 lock both parties in a room with armed gauards at the door, if nothing is solved by June 1 then a Bi-Partisan panel will design a new CBA for a 5-7 year period and both parties will live by it hell or high water.

    In the end everyone will make lots of money and the public good will be preserved.

  40. Deb says: Apr 26, 2011 12:25 PM

    @tednancy …

    The owners opted out of a perfectly good CBA. The owners rejected a player offer that cut their percentage of revenues back to 2002 levels. The owners tried to illegally funnel money from joint revenues into their lockout fund, lost, but barrelled forward anyway. The owners can STOP this today by calling the players and signing a new CBA. The majority of players do not want to restructure NFL rules, monkey with free agency, or end the draft. They simply want to return to work. The owners are the ones who have prevented them from doing so.

    The owners and players agreed that either side had the right to opt out of the 2006 CBA. Moreover, your contention that the owners rejected the players’ offer to reduce their revenue share to “2002 levels” is completely untrue. The players never once offered any proposals of their own during negotiations. They instead opted to put the pressure on the owners to make an offer, which they rejected out of hand because, as is clear now, the union never wanted to negotiate a new deal.

    As I have been saying for weeks – and now it’s finally out in the open – the players have been pursuing an apocalyptic strategy that either seeks to destroy the NFL or else uses the threat thereof as leverage.

    It’s also clear that the NFL and the fans were naive in thinking that Smith and the union were negotiating in good faith. In hindsight, the union’s strategy is crystal clear.

    What isn’t so clear, Deb, is why you still support the union now that their their endgame is out in the open . A month ago – even a week ago – I could understand it. But now?

    Look, we all got duped. We never thought the union would hold a gun to the fans’ heads and risk the destruction of the game – no matter what sort of leverage it might gain in these negotiations. We thought that some things were sacred, that the game itself actually meant something to the De Smiths of the world. We never thought either side would go nuclear.

    But Deb, all of our worst fears were legitimate. It turns out that some people will risk it all for personal glory and a pot of gold.

    So as it appears that you will still support the union’s doomsday doctrine in spite of your professed love of the game, I have only one question: do you feel lucky?

  41. angrycorgi says:
    Reality won’t change Deb’s hollow mind. She’ll still support the players even though they are pushing to essentially destroy everything about the NFL that makes it competitive and exciting, regardless of your team/town affiliation. Some people are just stubborn idiots…there’s no use trying to reason with them.

    If you had the IQ of a rabbit, you’d know my mind is anything but hollow, you sad little creature. And if you had the reading comprehension of a second-grader, you’d know I’ve acknowledged from the get-go that the antitrust suits could lead to an NFL I don’t want anymore than you do. I’m neither naive nor uninformed. Don’t assume that because you and your cronies are ignorant about the owners’ tactics and motives it means I was ignorant of what the players’ attorneys were doing or of the negative outcome if their litigious strategy was allowed to reach its conclusion.

    The players didn’t create this scenario, you fool, the owners did. And they can stop it by signing a new CBA. It’s their greed and intransigence that has brought the NFL to this point. And you throwing uninformed, pointless tantrums at me like those you’ve thrown at the players won’t change anything. You pro-owner types do not have a monopoly on loving the game anymore than conservatives have a monopoly on loving the country.

  42. Okay, so here’s an odd question… why doesn’t the league buy the 32 teams from the owners and make the owners the board of directors of the NFL? That would make one business with 32 franchise locations like McDonalds. You uniform the rules for every franchise so that everyone really does have the same starting point. By doing that, you no longer have to have a CBA. You can pay the players whatever you want. You can have a draft because all you’re doing there is allotting in new talent to your company, and free agents would have even less leeway to go to other teams seeing as the other teams could all then legally pay that free agent the exact same amount of money since corporate slotted them into whatever pay scale they were in. Don’t like it, try the UFL.

    Now, am I saying this is the answer? No. But it would make a very powerful counterpoint to the players Wild West version of the league with no draft and no limit for Dan Snyder to spend all his money. The players have the nuclear button right now and the owners don’t. The only way for us to get to a point where an actual deal will take place is for the owners to have their own nuclear button that they could also push.

    Although, honestly I’d love to watch just one game of Tom Brady making 50 million dollars a year being protected by an offensive line that makes a combined 200 thousand a year amongst the 5 guys. How many “Oops. I must have missed that guy. Maybe if I made more and didn’t have to work a second job I’d have my mind where it should be for this game.” do you think there would be?

  43. @tednancy …

    Do I feel lucky, Clint? You planning to shoot me if it doesn’t go your way? Good grief.

    Yes, the owners forced the players to include an opt-out clause in the CBA as the price of signing. And they exercised it. So I was correct in saying the owners opted out of a perfectly good agreement.

    If the information about the players’ proposal was inaccurate, take it up with Mike. That came directly from one of his PFT reports, and that proposal was made several weeks prior to the decertification.

    I don’t now and have never supported ending the draft and playing no-rules football. Nor do I believe the players want that. It’s a legal strategy being advanced by the NFLPA attorneys that the owners can stop whenever they’re ready to sign a new CBA … unless, of course, they persist in continuing on this dead-end litigation train to hell. As with most disputes, it takes two, tednancy.

    Like everyone else, I hate the idea of monkeying with the NFL and am heartsick that the greed and power-seeking of some owners and a corrupt commissioner have brought us to what I believe is the brink of disaster. However, I felt the same way about free agency … and the game not only survived … in many ways, it improved. Whatever happens, we’ll live. Get a grip.

  44. “Those who disagree with Goodell believe that Kessler’s legal positions are aimed merely at securing more leverage. ”

    exactly… the players aren’t trying to change the system; they just want a better deal… this is a savvy ploy by the players

    Goodell’s op-ed article is a futile attempt to use fear in order to manipulate the public’s opinion on the situation

    Goodell is a clown… he’s the biggest pawn in this chess match; a whiny puppet for the owners…

  45. @tednancy

    “We never thought the union would hold a gun to the fans’ heads and risk the destruction of the game – no matter what sort of leverage it might gain in these negotiations.”

    And I never thought the NFL would hold the fans’ heads under water for an entire offseason, and risk killing every scrap of love that we have for the game… Do you work for the owners?

    Relax, the players are simply posturing just like the owners did when they locked the doors…

    If you support the owners, then you are either shortchanged in cognitive functioning or extremely misinformed…

  46. It IS a management strategy to present to the public the end-result of some of the anti-trust lawsuits. Who can blame them for doing that? They are right. The objectives of the suit DO include removing the draft, all limits on free agency, NFL rules, etc…

    Simply posturing! They say to excuse it. Except they are assuming the players and lawyers and agents will… contrary to their statements… not want to go through with it.

    I do believe it IS posturing, but it’s playing with fire posturing. As long as the union is not a union, others can sue for the same reasons and go through with it. Plus, at what point does the union withdraw the suit? What demands have they put out there for the owners to accept?

    Until they start actually negotiating, and become willing to compromise on something, the NFL is headed toward Armagedden…. otherwise known as major league baseball.

  47. For the people saying the owners opted out of a perfectly good CBA, the very same problem would have occurred in 2013 if the owners had waited the extra two years. The only issue would then be that several teams would likely be near bankrupcy.

    Also, the owners may have put the early opt out into the last CBA, but the union agreed to it. So they are equally at fault.

  48. I love how Deb adds italics as though somehow, magically, the words will carry more meaning. The players got a sweetheart deal in ’06.

    The owners didn’t FORCE the players to do anything. But, of course, when it’s the owners, it’s FORCE. If it’s the players, it’s victimisation. Yawn.

  49. @voyager6 …

    You’re right about 2013. But the teams going bankrupt in two years despite already taking one billion dollars off the top to cover their expenses … after just signing the most lucrative television contracts in their history … despite the millions they rake in from their luxury stadiums that they don’t share with players or with one another … despite monies for pensions and benefits coming from the players'</em. portion of the pie? And you know this because … they said so.

    Did you get a glimpse of the Easter Bunny last weekend, too?

    @finfanjim …

    Very good. I add italics for emphasis … which is a publishing standard.

    The opt-out clause was a condition for signing the CBA–it was forced on the players. I haven't said the current players are being victimized. But historically, the treatment of NFL players has been one of the worst chapters in American labor history. Assuming you read something other than blogs, you might want to venture into the history of the game. Then again … you've indicated you're easily bored by anything requiring you to think.

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