Analysis: the NFL proposal for the "enhanced season"

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Note: Tuesday we will have a projection of the NBA Draft

I have some good news and some bad news about a possible CBA. For the first time in 4 months, the NFL management council reps met with DeMaurice Smith and the NFLPA team yesterday. The proposal that the NFL put on the table is an 18 game regular season that would eliminate 2 preseason games.

On the league side, the preseason games are very profitable. The teams generally require season ticket buyers to also pay full price for the 2 preseason games in their stadium. That has been a bone of contention between the Union and the league for several negotiation cycles. The last agreement solved the problem when the union won a percentage of TOTAL REVENUE in the last CBA.

NFL players currently get a “daily stipend” for their work in the preseason. Under the NFL proposal they would get full salary shares for the 2 games that become part of the regular season. That would add 12.5% of their salary to their gross pay. With the addition to individual players pay, the league is hoping that the players will accept a lower total percentage of revenues. That sounds good. However, as is usually the case with big money deals, things are not that simple.

The addition of 2 regular season games would change the nature of the late season. In the preseason, the starters play a maximum of 3/4ths of a game. Most play only 1/2 of the 3rd game of the preseason. The new “enhanced” season would require them to play 8 extra quarters because they would still play the same amount of preseason snaps to get down their timing.

The league has estimated that the 2 extra regular-season games would require the expansion of rosters to 55 from 53. I have done some analysis that indicates a roster of 60 would be required but no one can say for sure.

What we do know for sure is that the elimination of 2 preseason games would reduce the chance for rookies and young players to improve and to prove their value to the team. The NFL needs to find out which rookie or young players will stick and which need to be cut. The result will be a lot more physical practices and a couple of “controlled scrimmages” to replace the preseason games that are eliminated by the proposal. While the league will not comment on this fact, the NFLPA is very much aware of the extra risk to players.

It is not a coincidence that the union has become more sensitive to the “intensity and tempo of drills.” As a result, several teams this year have lost OTA sessions because they violated the guidelines for those practices. The Union warned the players about the OTAs and reminded them to report any possible violations. That indicates that the Union doesn’t view the “enhanced” season as a positive step.

The Bottom Line:

The Union is not going to look on this proposal warmly. It does give the players a reason to vote for the plan but the NFL is going to have to add 7 not 2 players to each team to get the Union to recommend approval to the members. Without that “seal of approval” the membership would not likely support a new CBA.

Technorati Tags: NFL,DeMaurice Smith,NFLPA,Collective Barginning Agreement,CBA,union,enhanced season,18 game regular season,negotiations
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  • Published: Jan 31st, 2009
  • Category: NFL Football
  • Comments: Comments Off on The NFL and NFLPA must keep negotiations out of the press.

The NFL and NFLPA must keep negotiations out of the press.

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Fryingpan Sports

The NFL and NFLPA must keep negotiations out of the press.

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Roger Goodell

By Bill Smith

Technorati Tags: NFL, NFLPA, labor agreement, strike, negotiations, press, owners

The NFLPA issued a statement that it has built a 118 million dollar strike fund.

On Jan. 29th at the NFLPA annual press conference, it released to the media a report that NFL teams were making an average of 24.7 million a year and owners had no reason to opt out of the current agreement.

Then NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell went before the media at the Super Bowl and said the following:

“That report is not accurate. We are very clear. We understand our numbers. The ownership spent a tremendous amount of time evaluating the Collective Bargaining Agreement. I think they came to the conclusion that it was better to terminate that agreement and go into a negotiation where we could work to try to come up with something that would work for all clubs and our players rather than continue on with that system.”

I have no idea if that report commissioned by the players association is accurate or not. I do know one thing. IT DOESN’T MATTER! The fact is that the owners took advantage of a clause in the agreement that they wanted out. Who did what to whom doesn’t matter at all. The old deal is dead and buried. Forget it and move on.

What does matter is that even before the players vote to select the person that will lead their negotiating team, the public cat fight has started. The union and the league know better than that. The next deal between the two is far too important to far too many fans to let the sides begin a public spitting contest that can only end up reducing the chances of a reasonable agreement and increasing the odds of a strike.

My suggestion to both sides is shut the devil up, sit down as soon as possible and work out a deal. The current estimate for the 2010 season is that total revenues will be around 8 billion dollars. There has to be a way to cut up that big a pie so that everyone can afford groceries. Cut the preseason to 2 games and add 2 to the regular season. Season ticket holders are sick to death of paying full price to watch guys play that will be bagging groceries at the end of training camp. Put in a rookie salary cap and allocate more to the veterans. Find a way to give retired players the health care that they have earned. To steal a line from Nike—Just do it.

The fans deserve better from the league commissioner. They deserve better from the owners and the players association. SHUT UP AND FIND A FORMULA THAT WORKS FOR BOTH. Don’t allow an uncapped season that will screw up the balance of power for years. Don’t allow guaranteed contracts that will further degrade the performance of the players. Other than that, we don’t care. We want our football and have paid dearly for that privilege.

The powers that be screwed up the economy and have destroyed our 401Ks. Mine is now a 195K. Don’t screw up NFL football as well.

That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for NFLDraftDog.com and edits fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on and edits .

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