The open items before the league’s approval of the labor deal

On Thursday, the NFL announced that it had approved a new labor deal, subject to acceptance of the deal by the players.  Some players complained that they hadn’t seen the final version of the deal that was approved by the owners, other players complained that the NFL had slipped new terms into the final version of the deal that was approved by the owners.

A day before, the NFLPA* Executive Committee and board of player representatives saw a summary of the proposed deal, which included the open items, as of Wednesday.  Howard Balzer of the Sports Xchange and has obtained a copy of the summary.

The open items are set forth below.

First, the minimum team expenditure would be only 89 percent of the salary cap.  The term would be coupled with a guaranteed league-wide cash spend of 95 percent of the salary cap.  If half of the teams spend 100 percent of the cap, half could spend 90 percent of the cap, preserving as a practical matter a 10-percent spread between the highest-spending and lowest-spending teams.  If, alternatively, all teams have a minimum cash spend of 95 percent, the total cash spend would be 97.5 percent or more, assuming at least half of the teams spend 100 percent of their allotment, with the other half spending 95 percent.

Second, those offseason workout bonuses (such as the $750,000 due to Jets tackle D’Brickashaw Ferguson) would be paid if the player reports to training camp and performs the services required of him.  Thus, under this term, players who report for work (and then work) would earn all offseason workout bonuses, despite the absence of an offseason workout program.

Third, for rookie pay, an escalator would be available to push the fourth-year salary to the lowest level restricted free agency tender, which is $1.2 million in 2011, but which will increase with the salary cap.

Fourth, players would be guaranteed up to $3 million for the second and third year after a catastrophic injury.  Balzer reports that, in the deal approved by the league on Thursday, the number had been cut to $1 million in the second year and $500,000 in the third year.

Fifth, the California loophole for workers’ compensation benefits would continue.

Sixth, the possibility of an opt out was included as an open item.  Balzer reports that the final version included no opt out, making it a firm 10-year deal.  (It has been reported that the players want a potential opt out after seven years.)

Seventh, payment of $320 million in lost benefits would be made for the 2010 season.  In the summary document, the lump sum expressly is linked to the “lockout insurance” case.  Basically, the players are proposing the restoration of those lost benefits as the payment of damages for the league’s failure to max out TV money when persuading the networks to pay rights fees during a lockout.

Eighth, a settlement of the Brady antitrust case would need to be made, separate and apart from the labor deal.

Ninth, a player would be subject to the franchise tag only once in his career.

Tenth, short-term injured reserve would be available, along with a possible game-day roster of 47.  The deal approved by the owners reportedly limits the game-day roster to 46.

I’ll be pulling out some of the settled items from the summary later tonight for discussion and analysis.  Thanks again to Howard Balzer of the Sports Xchange and for passing it along.

50 responses to “The open items before the league’s approval of the labor deal

  1. Just ran into Belichick on Nantucket. For what it is worth he did not appear to be imminently preparing for a training camp.

  2. I need to stop checking this site every 20 minutes of my day… everything is mixing… lawsuit…brady….labor deal….documents…brady…antitrust…cold water….

  3. All of the differences look to be ticky-tack items. The differences do back up the players’ claims that owners slipped some things in to the proposed deal.

    I just don’t see apocalyptic “oh my god the owners screwed us” a la Heath Evans style differences.

    At least the juvenile “my wang is bigger than your wang” discussion between the owners and players can continue for another week.

  4. Why did the owners even vote on this deal? It seems from the players’ side that it is far from a final document with all of the open issues that they are still pushing for.

    The players are pissing me off. They are getting 48% of the gross revenue and yet they still want to settle the lawsuit outside of the CBA for even more money. Unreal.

    Why did I even get my hopes up?

  5. Its 100% obvious that the player’s are now completely just stalling or trying to get more or something.

    Firstly, the players had the oppurtunity to vote before the owners, and then easily had the first copy of an authorized by their consitituency of the cba and any changes by the owners would essentially void it.

    Secondly, if the owners were supposedly unilaterally able to make “changes” to this document before their vote, the players could easily a) make changes of their own, or erase these changes on the document they vote on or b) vote on the original document and agree to that and see the owners play, option B would of course likely bring some good PR their way if they had done the original vote w/o all this random complaining, us fans would be more likely to understand if they came out and said “we voted and agreed to what we negoitated on, however the owners have a revised version so they need to agree to the one we worked out together”

    Basically the players entire position at this point does not pass the sniff test, something smells rotten…

  6. If I understand your article, the players want these items?

    If yes, then what has D. Smith been negotiating?

    It looks like the NFLPA/NFLPA* board wants to collect on their “no play 2011” insurance.

    They need to let the players vote, but since the players would probably vote in favor of the deal negotiated by D. Smith, they can’t have a vote.

  7. So the NFL did pull a couple fast ones, huh. Wasn’t sure that was going to turn out true.

    Not a big fan of that. Kind of cheap move.

    I don’t think the players are going to react well to that.

    I’m bummed.

  8. One of the most stupidest comments I see on this site is “cancel the season and let the players suffer.”

    Now, a good position by the owner lovers (and owners) would be that the players will eventually cave. I’m not debating that.

    But a complete loss of the season would mean the anti-trust lawsuit would go forward. The owners defintely do not want this.

    So, owner lovers, keep saying the players will eventually cave, which is probably true. You do not want to see what happens to your precious owners if the entire season is canceled and that lawsuit goes foreward.

  9. The catastrophic injury money and the game day roster limits are both pretty significant issues. I can see why the players balked.

    The catastrophic injury money particularly is relatively small change in the grand scheme of things but a very big deal to the individual injured.

  10. I knew the Owners were going to play hardball. These guys didn’t get rich by being stupid. This is business, and the players are employees. Mark Murphy said it best….the pens are down, done negotiating. It seems to me the Owners have made many consessions. It’s all about pride now….a pride game the players cannot win. They lack the business sense of the Owners, and are out of their league. Time to just take all of those concessions, sign up, and play ball. It’s over.

  11. Soooo, the players want to win the negotiations more than they want to get back to work. As an owner, I would let them sit through September and then see where they stand. I’m guessing the owners have a little more wealth to draw from than most of these clowns do, the leverage shifts squarely to the owners once the first game checks are missed.

  12. I know if pre season games are lost and then regular season games are lost it would hurt the owners but there are 32 owners, how many players would be hurt? The big boys might have saved their money but what about the rest and then the grief they would get from the fans would add more problems but the money would hurt plus, how long would stay on the team once this was signed? Go for it players and make sure you thank Mr. Smith.

  13. Take a poll of the current players and ask who wants to play now. Those that say no…can go to Canada….those that say yes…Welcome back! After all…there’s no union so why let D. Smith and his nimrods stand in the way of what…I’m guessing…the majority of the players really want.

  14. Nine hundred seventy eighth… the players are allowed to institute an opt in clause after they opt out of whatever it was they didn’t understand nor cared to read in the first place.

  15. Ten open items?

    Somebody please get the NFL and NFLPA* reps a dictionary so they can look up the word “close”; as in “we appear to be close to a deal being completed”.

    Also, with ten items still open, somebody please remind me exactly what had been agreed to after these last 3+ months of negotiations. Doesn’t seem like any.

  16. Wait a minute… The Brady anti-trust case continues and is to be separately settled?! The owners agreed to THAT! Isn’t that the one with potential triple damages that could be up to $4B? How could the owners possibly agree to that?

  17. Mike – good report and what a super collection of comments. However – I think the owners would be nuts to not require the Anti-trust 10 drop their lawsuit.

    Just saying – if I was the owners counsel and I have been around the block a couple of times.

    And une plus – the Exec Committee/Player reps are afraid to let the players vote as the rank and file would jump at this deal.

  18. @mathismillion
    You said “The players are pissing me off. They are getting 48% of the gross revenue and yet they still want to settle the lawsuit outside of the CBA for even more money. Unreal.”

    That 48% was the original offer from the owners. The players caved after the 8th circuit court rulling. Basically, this was about money. The players are accepting a 10% reduction (from 58% to 48%) of total revenue. This was the owners original offer that the players were so disgusted with.

    The rest is trinkets. D Smith and the Union are just trying to save face by asking for everything else they can get (which is basically nothing compared to the 10% loss of total revenue).

    So the owners won. D Smith will go down as an embarrasemnet to the NFLPA. They can’t ask for trinkets? What more do you want?

  19. If I’m an owner, here’s how I vote on all 10 of the requested items from the players:

    1. No!
    2. No!
    3. No!
    4. No!
    5. No!
    6. No!
    7. No!
    8. No!
    9. No!
    10. No!

    Wow, these players want it set up so they don’t have to work out anymore so they won’t have to EARN their millions of dollars. The owners have given in on almost EVERY holdup to this point, it’s time for the players to give in on some of their issues… If the players really want to “Just play football”, then sign the deal!

  20. Bhindenemylines:

    Ten issues out of a 2,000 pg agreement is pretty minimal. They agreed to the major issues, like revenue split, salary cap, floor, free agency rules, health insurance, rookie wage scale, etc etc.

    Other pft geniuses:

    Ok let’s have the players vote on a non-unionized basis on a collectively bargained agreement. Collective bargaining, taken quite literally, means terms collectively agreed to by a union. You can’t have a collective bargaining agreement with individuals, only a union. Agreeing to a deal with anything other than the entire body of employees (the union) means that every player not subject to the CBA by unionization can individually sue the league for anti-trust laws (32 separate employers cannot come together on across the industry rules for every employee. Imagine every restaurant collectively saying were paying all cooks minimum wage. That’s illegal) so bottom line it’s all or nothing. Unless the union represents every player and agree to a deal as a whole we will have a free market system, same as baseball.

  21. The owners already conceded quite a bit. Now the players want all these demands as well? I like the quote I saw earlier, “the only thing the players didn’t get was someone to play the game for them.”

  22. Prior0knowledge:

    They mean the exact terms of the settlement aren’t known. Not the case goes on separately from the CBA. Unless and until all the suits are settled and the union recertifies the lockout will not be lifted. They may for the sake of time start some business, like negotiating deals, contact with coaches/players, but they will not finalize any deals, practice at all, or play any games until all of that is finalized.

  23. I love how morons think the players are selfish because they want injury innsurance for “catastrophic injury” That mean career ending or life altering. This makes guy who play maybe the most violent game in the world “selfish” ??

    Half the people on this site seem to be nothing more than gun toting tea party D*** sucking, Sarah Palin day dreaming, Reatards. Get a life folks. Oh and watch another news channel other than fox. you morons.

  24. prior0knowledge says:Jul 22, 2011 11:16 PM

    Wait a minute… The Brady anti-trust case continues and is to be separately settled?! The owners agreed to THAT! Isn’t that the one with potential triple damages that could be up to $4B? How could the owners possibly agree to that?


    That makes no sense to me either. I call bull because as soon as the union is reconstituted the case is done. There can be no antitrust case with a union.

  25. Seventh, payment of $320 million in lost benefits would be made for the 2010 season. In the summary document, the lump sum expressly is linked to the “lockout insurance” case. Basically, the players are proposing the restoration of those lost benefits as the payment of damages for the league’s failure to max out TV money when persuading the networks to pay rights fees during a lockout.

    I think that’s basically extortion. The TV Revenue case never should’ve been heard by Doty (who was an automatic for the union no matter what) becuase the union agreed to a special master who ruled against them. Only then did they go crying to Doty. What’s the purpose of the special master if the union goes crying to daddy every time a ruling goes against them?

    The union does not deserve a dime.

  26. Actually I am still confused a bit about the anti-trust case. My understanding (and I may be wrong) is that to this point there have been no violations as the players were a union at the end of last season. The case would be against the rules going forward starting with the upcoming league year. My point being, what would they be fined for at this time? What damages? The players winning that case would result in a whole new NFL but what damages at this time?

  27. Enough.

    Cancel the 2011 season, let the Brady anti-trust lawsuit proceed and end this crap once and for all.

    No more draft, no more revenue sharing among teams. Every team negotiates it’s own radio, television and beer sponsorship deals. Every player is a free agent and can play anywhere he wants to, just like the rest of working America.

    A wise man once said: Be careful what you wish for, you just might get it.

    PLAYERS:Please think about your new future if this should happen.

  28. For the quote it is a priviledge not a right to play in the NFL, the players have truly mocked this. Bonus to show up to work…WOW..don’t we all wish the door man would hand out checks to us as we go into work. I WILL NOT participate in buying one thing that is associated with any player in the NFL. I have been a fan of my team since 1966 and this crap has turned my stomach. I have gone to training camp and watch the players take their good old time getting to the field on second practice. While most of the players are sitting on helmets and laughing with one of the others. As they walk through each drill half hardly and gee they are so tired a golf cart takes them to the dorms. I feel so sorry for them. Thes guys need to get real.


    What’s your excuse now? We need more time? Over 36 hours later……we still need more time, my reading comprehension skills aren’t good……..Oh, those dirty owners made us look back. How can I create “A Kessler” and screw this thing up. The NFL Owners caught us with our pants down. Not prepared, we’ll show those owners….who’s boss. We’re going to be “The Problem”, not “the Problem Solver” -the solution makers. Yeah, yeah…..The Public is behind us, everybody makes over $300,000 per year like us “NFL Players”

    This a reminder. Wake up and smell the coffee. NFL Players, you got FREE AGENCY after 4 YEARS, WOW! Or at worse, after 5 YEARS if you’re a first round rookie pick. Once again, WOW! IMPROVED HEALTHCARE CARE and PENSION BENEFITS. Ask how many AMERICAN workers got those benefits this year in their employment. ONCE AGAIN, WOW.

    I’m public safety worker who been exposed to TB virus, and suffered multiple injuries while saving lives. You’re talk is not cuttin with me anymore……. the B.S. is enough now.

    NFLPA, JUST SAY IT AIN’T SO…………. You’re the part of the solution, not the problem……. But, right now, you are problem…….. the ball is in your court. “Be a Player, not a hater.”

  30. @andyriedsfat

    You & the other Obama lovers need to stick to the political websites you jerkoff!!

    Obama will be gone during next years NFL season & hopefully you & your lib posting pals as well!

    This is pro football talk web page… not I’m a loser lib who drank the koolaide web page!!!

    Thanks for supporting Fox TV by tuning in for NFL games, we appreciate it.

  31. I know it’s probably been said many times already but I feel I have to say it again. The CBA that the owners voted on was the one that both the owner’s lawyers and the player’s lawyers composed TOGETHER. What do you think Demaurice Smith, Kessler, Pash, Goddell, player reps, etc. were meeting for the last several weeks? D. Smith represents the 1900 players in the league. If what he agreed to is not what the players want then he needs to be fired. He met with all the players of the 32 teams in the league long before the CBA expired to find out what they want and how to proceed. For a bunch of players to suggest that the owners somehow slipped something in the CBA after the fact is ludicrous. The player’s lawyers help compose the documents and agreed to the documents before the owners vote. The owners would not have voted and had a press conference unless they already knew that D.Smith approved the deal. What the players are saying and doing is ABSOLUTE NONSENSE.

  32. prior0knowledge says:
    Wait a minute… The Brady anti-trust case continues and is to be separately settled?! The owners agreed to THAT! Isn’t that the one with potential triple damages that could be up to $4B? How could the owners possibly agree to that?

    It wouldn’t be $4B if the season was played.

    If the season was cancelled the players could claim actual losses of $4 Billion (trebled to $12B) since they would have actually lost $4B in wages thanks to the lockout.

    If only Vince Jackson continues the suit his damages would be far less than that, but still sizable- possibly $70 Million or so.

  33. The dummy players should have signed their version on Wed, somebody should shoot Kessler (who wants it all to blow up into a multi-Billion dollar Anti-trust suit where he collects a gargantuan fee) and what the real agreement is all about: (from an email I sent out)


    And pray tell – what are the Players really crying about?

    Hacksaw Lee Hamilton (AM 1090,, ) gave a good summary yesterday of what the Players will receive under the new – 10 year CBA – and here is what they are gaining (as best as I can remember).

    (1) While the number of 48% of the Revenue is used for the players rake (v. their current 50+%) – it’s 48% of all the Revenue – without taking a Billion off the top – and it includes the largess from sky boxes, etc. Moreover – the $9.5 Billion annual revenue is expected to grow significantly – thanks to the good management of the Owners.

    (2) Players now will wear skirts to all but one practice during the week – as they will only have to hit once a week – other than in games. (Coaches have to just love that one eh?) And then no hitting in practice the last month of the season, or some such.

    (3) No hitting during the second practice of two a days either (Oh – where oh where has the tough camp mentality gone – as Vince Lombardi surely must be spinning in his grave) – and the players get a new vacation – from Feb to May – as there will be no voluntary (read – semi-mandatory) workouts.

    (4) Health Insurance/benefits have increased for not only active players – but also for the retired players. And if they have a serious injury – they can collect a cool Million the next year and also something thereafter.

    (5) Players can also reasonably buy into insurance plans after they retire.

    (6) Rookies – whom the current NFLPA greatly envy wrt their huge contracts – will sign for about half as much – and the savings will be applied to the retired players health/benefits coverage.

    (7) $120 million salary cap per team – and teams have to spend 99% of cap, unlike the current what – 80% or some such?.

    OK – there were some other benefits for players too – but you hopefully get the idea.

  34. The franchise tag thing would really bother me because many times… teams will just try and trade the guy instead of trying to sign him to a long term deal.

  35. The only problems I see in these requests are the these:

    1) Franchise Tag only once in a players career.
    Solution: Allow them a franchise tag only once in their career PER TEAM.

    2) $300 Million in benefits.
    Don’t give it to them. They had years to prepare. Both sides did. Now the players want to penalize the owners for doing it better?

    Besides, it was recently revealed the players had insurance as well…it just doesn’t kick in until they miss games. And that’s the problem they’re having. They want money. It’s all about the money.


    Now here’s the biggest issue I have….all the players talk about taking care of past players…where in the deal do those retired players get increased coverage? Where is the lifetime medical?

    The players keep telling us it’s not about the money…but take a good look…it’s all about the cash.

    These players are out of control.

  36. Anyone think this commentor has a bit of a general pro-union bias?

    “Half the people on this site seem to be nothing more than gun toting tea party D*** sucking, Sarah Palin day dreaming, Reatards. Get a life folks. Oh and watch another news channel other than fox. you morons.”

  37. Do people agree that the NFL and sports leagues are a different type of business and that normal laws should not apply?

    I understand when people say things like “resturants can’t get together and decide to all pay cooks minimum wage.” I also understand that under current law this applies to sports leagues too.

    But I believe the application of the law is stupid because Chilli’s does not need Applebee’s to do well to have max profits, where the Colts are better off when the Texans do well too.

    Is it a law that should be changed?

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