Get ready for a road bump or two

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Last night, I smoked a victory cigar and drank a victory beer (and eventually took a celebration piss) after the NFL and the NFLPA* worked out the thorny problem of the rookie wage scale.  With the most difficult issues now in the bag, it should be easy to work out all remaining disputes.

Key words:  Should be.

The cork remains in the bottle of Dom Perignon because there’s no deal until there’s a deal.  And every time the owners think a deal is inevitable, they tend to harden their position on the remaining issues, under the mistaken impression that the players will cave.

That’s precisely what could happen today.  Albert Breer of NFL Network lists some of the remaining issues:  the so-called “Legacy Fund” for retired players, the right-of-first-refusal tags for free agents in 2011, the issue player safety, and issues relating to litigation, both now and in the future.

If the owners — and now nine of the 10 members of the labor committee are present — cross their arms and wait for the players to blink, the process will bog down until the owners realize the players won’t blink.  And then a couple more days will go by until the owners accept that the players won’t blink, and then they’ll finally work out the remaining issues.

Either way, the broader time line seems to be set in something close to stone.  They’ll meet with the mediator, U.S. Magistrate Judge Arthur Boylan, in Minneapolis on Tuesday, and the 32 owners will meet in Atlanta on Thursday, hopefully (as first reported by ESPN on Monday) to vote on the agreement in principle.

Whether and to what extent football fans will be celebrating that agreement in principle at any point over the coming weekend remains to be seen.  But don’t be surprised if talks slow down again on Friday, as the owners hope that the players will agree to anything in the hopes of striking an agreement on everything.

41 responses to “Get ready for a road bump or two

  1. Why is it OK for the players not to budge but if the owners do it they are the reason for a deal not getting done? Maybe the players should budge a little. It is after all a negotiation right?

  2. Everytime you predict a slowdown things seem to work out just the opposite… Hoping for the same here.

  3. This is based on speculation. I’ll wait to be upset until there’s actual news that warrants it. IMO free agency starts 7/25/2011.

  4. The only thing I’ll be celebrating when the lockout is over is not having to sift through garbage posts like this, and every other media source making up news for the last 3 months.

  5. Why does PFT censor responses that do not contain any profane words? I’ve had two responses lifted because they’ve criticized the site. Yet I’ve seen other reponses do the same and not be lifted. Hmmm. I’m sure this will be censored.

  6. Actually, in the “worst offer in sports history” the owners made several concessions on player safety and could be expected to make those same types of concessions again.

    I’m curious as to the chances of compromise on the other issues, as I’m sure many others are as well. Instead of simply trying to paint the owners in a bad light…. perhaps explaining those issues and how far apart they may be would have been more informative?

  7. Right back to your normal Players deserve everything, Owners better cave or their the cause of our dismay post.

    If I were one of the owners I guarantee you the players would blink or their eyes would shrivel and fall from there dry sockets before I budged again. Sign the agreements or I’m headed on vacation for an extended period! Why? Because I can and you will blow through your money, with no paycheck forthcoming, and come begging me to let you sign it!!

    It’s MY business, I am the owner, and I will run my business in the manner I feel benefits ME the most! Go play in the UFL for pennies! SEE YA!

  8. Of course there’s going to be a final road bump or two. De Smith knows he’s quickly about to fade into complete irrelevance.

    Big difference between 14:52 and 15:00.

  9. Please start reporting on this with a clear perspective. Please stop with the over-zealous gun-jumping breathless hyperbole one minute (with posts about stunning momentum and fast-tracking) to only realize hours later it is unfounded exhuberance. I’ve seen both sides be accused of using the media as puppets throughout this mess so it is a shame you are front and center in that string pulling show. Lastly – when it does end trying to gleefully frame it as some triumph is also insulting. Neither party is deserving of the figurative high-fives you seem so ready to call for from the fans and media.

  10. I really dont give a rats bottom about any this any longer. The longer this goes, the more of the stop and starts they have, the less interested I become in the NFL. I am almost resolved to the fact that I can find some nice fall activities to enjoy with my family on sundays this year.

  11. An agreement in prinicple means nothing. Haven’t you been paying attention. You’ve been writing about it. If they vote on it on the 21st. This thing still has to go through the legal settlement process which will be another couple weeks. Your getting everyones hopes up daily with these things but some of us remember what you’ve wrote before. Tuesday they meet with the Maj. That comes BEFORE the owners vote on the deal. So we are still looking at a couple weeks before this things is set in stone. Legally.

  12. maybe we should have Obama, Boehner & Dirty Harry et al, work out the NFL labor deal and have D Smith/NFLPA and Goodell/owners workout the national debt ceiling deal???


    If the NFL waits long enough, we may have no financial system to work with in this country anymore

  13. “players won’t blink…”

    And this is EXACTLY why there’s no deal yet! In a negotiation, both parties should concede on points and “blink” a little.

    To me, the players will be the one’s I hold animosity against, but in 5-10 years it won’t matter because these players will be retired so I can let go of my player hate then.

    Also, I hope they turn down helping retired players in this CBA so that in 20-30 years when they’re crying about their health issues and lack of help we can point out 2 things to them:

    1) you chose not to help retired players and
    2) you chose to not want the safety rules implemented by Goodell

  14. I’m actually not worried. The last 2 to 3 weeks have made it obvious that neither side is willing to miss out on that preseason revenue. They’ll get this done in time for a full preseason.

    Especially with all of the major issues put to bed, it would be beyond insane to miss out on that cash over some of the lesser issues.

  15. I have a couple questions:

    1) Why does that Smith guy wear a stupid hat everywhere? It looks 2 sizes too small. Was that one of the concessions? The owners said, “look, if we do this, you’ve got to wear a stupid hat for every photo or no deal?”

    2) Why the hell are they flying to Atlanta to conduct the vote? Couldn’t they either stay in Minneapolis or vote via an online conference?!?

    Seems to me, you’ve got 2 sides “negotiating” all the while spending bunches of money to travel, lodge, eat, entertainment, not to mention lawyer fees and they are still spending money right up to the end?!? Almost as bad as the gov’t wastefully spending our money!

  16. KingJoe. you read the post AND the comments and posted on the issue yourself.
    You give a ratzbottom and will be in front of your TV as many Sunday’s as you were last year.
    If you really dont care, you wouldn’t be here.

    These “I dont care people make me laugh.” Who you trying to fool?

    My celebration will come first when I hear it is at least a ten year deal with no out clause. It will be controlled celebration until I get to analyse the opinions on how the deal will effect player movement and competitive balance.
    Baseball as well run teams that cannont compete because of lack of money, and poorly run teams that can compete because they have money.
    Football has managed to, for the most part, have money be far down the list of why a team is successful or not. I’ll celebrate when I see this deal keeps it that way.

    The absense of the out clause will mean both sides agree its a deal that can work, and neither side is wanting to say “fine we will try it your way, b ut if it doesn’t work….”

  17. I bet the players union throws a curve ball or two so they can disrupt things. The owners should say take or leave it and if you don’t accept then help wanted ads will go out in 32 newspapers tomorrow morning.

  18. As someone who generally is more sympathetic to the owners in these types of situations, I think the right of first refusal issue is the best evidence of the owners trying to leverage the players. I can’t imagine the players agreeing to re-implement the salary cap and also agreeing to larger restrictions on free agency. We won’t see any NFL games of any kind until the owners give up on that one. The players aren’t going to budge on that and I don’t blame them one bit.

  19. So your idea of “negotiating” is one side keeps giving and the other side keeps taking?
    You’ve been a shill for the players since the beginning, but really?
    If the owners made big concessions regarding the rookie pay shouldn’t it be the players turn to make some in other areas?

  20. Chris Mortenson: deal COULD BE reached within 24-48 hours…
    key words: COULD BE

  21. gruss222 says:
    Jul 15, 2011 10:01 AM
    “Right back to your normal Players deserve everything, Owners better cave or their the cause of our dismay post.

    If I were one of the owners I guarantee you the players would blink or their eyes would shrivel and fall from there dry sockets before I budged again. Sign the agreements or I’m headed on vacation for an extended period! Why? Because I can and you will blow through your money, with no paycheck forthcoming, and come begging me to let you sign it!!

    It’s MY business, I am the owner, and I will run my business in the manner I feel benefits ME the most! Go play in the UFL for pennies! SEE YA!”

    I could not agree more with your post. In fact, I’ve been saying the exact same thing for months now. You have the highest paid professional employees in the United States of America claiming they’re being unfairly treated because they’re not making ENOUGH of the bosses’ money. They’re demanding to see the books, demanding to have a larger slice of the pie, demanding to have better retirement benefits, demanding to have less (not more) work, blah, blah, blah.

    I’ll tell you something – if anyone on this board right now who is an employee in any other occupation in the world (other than professional sports) would walk into their boss’s office and demand to see his earnings for the last 10 years, and demand an equal share percentage of that company’s income, they’d be thrown out on their ass faster than they could finish their sentence. Difference is most of us work for companies who are making thousands of times what we’re earning weekly/monthly/yearly.

    So why the hell should they (the NFL players) be allowed to hold their employers hostage for all this money when they have only earned a small piece of it? They haven’t been there since 1960. They don’t have to worry about the bills, the payroll, the accounting, the taxes, the merch sales, the promotions, the stadium and it’s upkeep, the league fees & politics, the advertising, etc. etc.

    This is a perfect example of why unions have gotten such a bad name over the last several decades. They used to be in place to protect employees from being taken advantage of by corporations. They’ve since become a legal way for employees to extort companies for more money.

  22. glac1: And if they did that, the players would own the league. The players have a pretty darn good chance of winning in court on an antitrust basis (if they wanted to spend multiple years fighting it out).. and the public has already shown multiple times in the past it won’t accept scabs.

    Interesting story out of SI dot com today, that the spur in negotiating from the owners corresponded with the players saying “Oh yeah, we have a lockout insurance fund that guarantees every player 200K if there’s no football in 2011”. Combined with the Sword of Damocles that is

    Judge Doty’s TV Damages (where the owners took less revenue to guarantee payments even during lockouts, when the CBA mandated they do the most to maximize revenue), the “starve the players” tactic lost its juice behind it. Not surprising, the NFL owners had hoped the NFLPA would collapse once money started to be lost.. with the NFLPA/TV ruling mitigating most of the impact there, it became a paper tiger.

  23. Unions are today what the KKK was in the 40’s. Power hungry,money hungry and only care about the financial well being of the organizations leadership…

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