Report: “Breakthrough” in talks


And so when it appeared that no progress would be or could be made in mediation with both sides aiming for leverage in lieu of compromise — indeed, Steelers Art Rooney, II, said so on his way into Monday’s talks — it’s fitting in this crazy up-and-down, back-and-forth process that on a day when no one expected progress to be made, progress apparently has been made.

Sal Paolantonio of ESPN reports, citing Hall of Fame defensive end Carl Eller, that a breakthrough has occurred in the negotiations.  Eller, who is one of the named plaintiffs in a lawsuit brought by former players and consolidated with the Tom Brady antitrust case, said that U.S. Magistrate Judge Arthur Boylan asked the owners at the outset of the day to make a new proposal, and the owners have agreed to do so.

Currently, the proposal is being formulated.  Per Paolantonio, the players are very encouraged by the developments, and we think they should be.  Given that the players never responded to the league’s March 11 offer, the NFL easily could have balked at the request to make a new offer as an invitation to bid against itself.  By agreeing to make a new offer, the NFL has shown good faith, which possibly has helped to thaw the relationship between the two sides, at least a little.

The mediation will continue on Monday night until 9:00 p.m. CT, and Paolantonio said the overall mood is improving.  The session is scheduled to continue tomorrow only.  If real progress is being made, here’s hoping that gets extended.

Whether at this unlikeliest of junctures in the labor dispute a deal can be reached hinges largely on the quality of the offer that the owners make.  In many non-economic respects, the offer extended on March 11 was well within the appropriate ballpark, including player-friendly terms like a tabling of the 18-game season for at least two years and the use of third-party arbitration in drug and steroids cases.  The key will be, and has been, the money; if the NFL is willing to make firm guarantees on a per-team salary cap with a tight floor and a fair split on the so-called “true up” (i.e., any money earned over and above the league’s revenue projection), a deal could be struck.

There’s still a long way to go, especially since both sides as of this morning seemed to be intent on letting it ride through the Eighth Circuit’s ruling on the lifting of the lockout.  Also, the progress came before the ruling on the motion to stay the ruling lifting the lockout; at this point, the impact of that ruling isn’t known.  Still, the only way to get a deal that both sides truly deem to be satisfactory comes from leveraging the uncertainty into a compromise, and abandoning the quest for the kind of leverage that necessarily will require the side without it to do a bad deal, which would put us right back in this same mess before too long.

60 responses to “Report: “Breakthrough” in talks

  1. in the words of the security guard from “Who’s Harry Crumb” come on, come on, come to papa, come on, come onnnnnnn……JACKPOT!!!

  2. As much as I want to be optimistic, I think I’ll end up waking up tomorrow and reading that the players were offended because the owners delivered the offer at 9:01 instead of 9:00 and negotiations have broken down.

  3. Compromise means neither side gets what they want so everyone can be happy. I really hope this gets ironed out because no football means nobody is happy. This fan will stop and I’m sure others are with me. The Billionaires and the Millionaires need to get together on this for the enjoyment of us all.
    I used to be a baseball fan.

  4. We’ve heard these flirty lil rumors before, Mike. Don’t get our hopes up until things get serious.

  5. So the players get smacked down in court today and suddenly there is a breakthrough in the talks. Hmmmm. Could it be that the playesr realize they overplayed their hand and it’s looking like their legal strategy is failing and the only path is to negotiate a new CBA?

  6. Now THIS is news.

    The players are feeling it. The owners are likely going to submit a deal that comes close to mirroring the last offer with an extra concession or two with extra financial incentive.

    Ie – The bigger slice of pie will cost 1 year of letting the 18 game season ride, dropping the offer to 1 year of tabling, and hgh testing.

    You heard it here first.

  7. So, in other words nothing significant has happened. I have a hard time believing that what ever the league offers this time around will differ a whole lot from what they offered last time. Hell, I wouldnt be surprised if it was the same offer with different wording and a cookie thrown in to make the players feel better. The sooner we get in and out of court the better. No concrete deal is going to get done while this court battle is going on. And if it does it will be another lopsided deal like the one back in 06, which will have us right back here in 3 or 4 years.

  8. I think this proves what the owners have been saying all along. THEY WANT TO NEGOTIATE!

  9. I still think until a announcement of some sort of ” press conference” signifying a deal is in play the paint will continue to dry slowly until then we continue to wait like people at the DMV for our numbers to be called.

  10. After all the trouble Carl’s wife went to to dress him properly, wouldn’t you know it once he stepped out the door he put his hat on backwards.

  11. Now that the 8th Circ. has successfully made it anyone’s guess how they will rule on the appeal, MF hits the nail on the head. Neither side will risk an all-or-nothing on the outcome of the appeal. Expect a deal before June 1

  12. Doesn’t surprise me, the men who were there were fully authorized to make a proposal/accept a proposal. I always held out hope if Mara and Kraft were involved things could happen in a positve way. Let’s hope this development keeps the process going at the table and not in the courts. We shall see…..

  13. When the owners provide another offer and that is summarily rejected again, will the player supporters view that as a noble act of standing their ground or will they finally come to realize that the court system is the preferred method of negotiating by the players? I hope they can find some sort of compromise but I’m not holding my breath. The litigation mess impacts much more than the NFL. I want a viable deal to be made, sooner rather than later. My team needs all the practice they can get 🙂

  14. Standby to see DeSmith take a dump on the new proposal by calling it the second worse deal in the history of the NFL. And then don’t expect a counter proposal.

  15. smacklayer says:
    May 16, 2011 7:00 PM
    So the players get smacked down in court today and suddenly there is a breakthrough in the talks. Hmmmm. Could it be that the playesr realize they overplayed their hand and it’s looking like their legal strategy is failing and the only path is to negotiate a new CBA?

    Did you actually read the article? It specifically says that the “breakthrough” is the OWNERS agreed to Boylan’s request to submit a new proposal.

  16. The court keeping the lockout on was the best thing to foster a new CBA.

    The players will feel the pressure to negotiate…the owners will throw a bone or two to allow them to save face…and we’ll get a deal done that allows both sides to smile in front of the camera and feel like they are partners in the greatest sport in the world.

    And if and when they re-constitute the NFLPA, the players would be smart to get rid of the self-serving Smith as its leader. Go with a former player who cares about the sport and the players…no grandstanding for his own ego!

  17. The owners and players, uniting in their shared dislike of Cris Collinsworth, who predicted no football until at least November, decide to get a deal done today just to make Cris look like a fool.
    Hey, whatever gets a deal done…

  18. i would say ‘fingers crossed’ and ‘heres hoping’ but lets be realistic. these are the two greediest groups of people in the country fighting over a 10 billion dollar cookie.

    just….no. or at most, unlikely.

  19. In other words, at a moment’s notice, all the mass panic induced by sports journalists with little else to do with themselves could just end with the net result of a one month delay in offseason programs.

  20. I hope the deal is in the owners favor. The players haven’t earned anything.

    In fact the owners must insist that the players reveal their drug use to the owners so that the owners can adequately evaluate the risk that are involved in signing a contract with a player who has been, is, or plans to do illegal drugs or PEDs. Perhaps the owners should also be allowed to see pysch evals for players before the draft so that they won’t have to suffer another Demetrius Williams type situation.

    Go owners!

  21. On Thursday this will be over. a deal will be hammered out and were back to football. On the other hand……..

  22. While I would love this to be positive, with no counter offer from the players to find a middle ground from this seems doomed to fail. Someone remind me why the owners are the only ones actually negotiating and the players just say “no”….”no”….then fling insults at their employers..

  23. “breakthrough”

    translated-courts agree with owners and NFLPA gets scared

  24. “Sal Paolantonio of ESPN reports, citing Hall of Fame defensive end Carl Eller, that a breakthrough has occurred in the negotiations. ”

    Doesn’t this define he said/he said journalism?

  25. While I hope I’m wrong I believe its more grandstanding by the owners they may want to negotiate but who knows. If judge boylan asked them to propose an offer and they refuse he tells nelson they wont bargain in good faith and it bites them in the antitrust case. Hope I’m wrong so my bengals can get their young guys ready for hopefully a full and rebounding season

  26. I’ve been duped too many times over the past two months to invest any emotions into this….

    …then again, I clicked on the link pretty quickly. lol

  27. Of all of Carl Eller’s courtroom appearances, this is by far the most positive one yet.

  28. Can someone help me understand how the “players” can negotiate anything right now. There is no union. If they are just negotiated an end to the law suit wouldn’t that just be with the named players on the suit? Wouldn’t all the players need to vote the union back in and then negotiate? Someone with more expertize pelase explain.

  29. Players can accept a deal now—or wait until June 3rd when a real verdict is reached. Honestly, if they wait till then and the verdict is in the owner’s favor, the deal placed on the table will not be as good as the one that they will see tomorrow.

    However, if the players see the verdict in their favor, any deal placed on the table will be better (for the players) than the one they see tomorrow.

    So, which is it? If they had a crystal ball, they could make the right decision. I would venture a guess that the deal tomorrow may be the best deal they’ll see, period.

  30. Nothing is going to happen until they kick DeMo out of the meetings. He will never agree to anything the owners put on the table.

  31. smacklayer says:May 16, 2011 7:31 PM

    Can someone help me understand how the “players” can negotiate anything right now. There is no union. If they are just negotiated an end to the law suit wouldn’t that just be with the named players on the suit? Wouldn’t all the players need to vote the union back in and then negotiate? Someone with more expertize pelase explain
    That is the plan by the NFLPA* Force a court mandated settlement to the lawsuits, then re-certify to approve the settlement.

    That was the players intent all along. They had to “win”, not negotiate because they are so incompetent at negotiating. As Desmith said…”we been planning this for two years”

    Thinking of players and life in general, does incompetent apply, or is there another term???

  32. The ruling that came today from the 8th circuit not only gave the owners the victory in the battle to keep the stay in place but they also stated in today’s statement that the owners are likely to win the verdict to overturn the liberal woman judge in Minnesota.
    The players should quickly vote to fire the ambulance chaser Smith,who only knows how to file law suits and doesn’t know the first thing about negotiating ,and then hire an NFL veteran who knows his stuff (like Gene Upshaw),and get the union re-certified and get a reasonable CBA agreement,before the players start losing paychecks and worse.

    As I have said all along,the owners can’t lose ,the only question there ever was is how much bigger a piece of the pie the owners will come away with.
    Whatever deal the players finally sign,they could have had that or maybe even a better deal 2 Months ago !!!

  33. To me, this sounds more like people at the networks, especially NBC may be behind this. Although NBC did announce potential shows for the Sunday night slot if there is no football, given they have more to lose than anyone if the lockout stretches into the season, I would think people at Comcast/NBC would be putting pressure on both sides as well as the other networks (including Disney for ESPN/ABC) since the networks use NFL games to promote their fall programming. If so, it would be because ad buyers likely told the networks they would have to do everything to make sure an agreement is done because they realize without promos during NFL programming, many shows in prime time won’t get the same ratings and the networks likely are looking at lower ad rates for prime time shows if a deal isn’t done. So yes, this is a case where a third party might wind up being what causes a settlement.

  34. Initially, it seemed odd that the owners were asked to submit another proposal rather than the players submit a counter to the previous proposal. Does this have anything to do with the fact that the latest offer happened under CBA negotiations and did not address the “settlement” aspect of this mediation? What, exactly were they asked to do…offer another CBA proposal or offer an initial settlement offer that could lead to a new CBA under the court’s oversight? I think it’s clear that the league does not want court oversight for the next CBA. Is there a way that a CBA can actually happen without the court’s involvement? (even if the players wanted a deal)

  35. These talks would go a lot more smoothly if these players weren’t a bunch of retards accidentally blessed by good genes.

  36. Sal Paolantonio’s reports should never ever make PFT again!!!!!

    I have never seen a bigger pot stirrer of inaccuracy since … Skip Bayless!!!

    He was incorrect about the Eagles possibly firing Sean McDermott by their bye week and a potential benching of Mike Vick!!!

    Sal Pal is a weasel and his network (ESPN) should stand for Everything Sensationalized Per Nanosecond!!!!

  37. Is it just me or does everyone here sound like a plant for the owners?

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