Tag:NFL Lockout
Posted on: May 9, 2011 12:27 pm
Edited on: May 9, 2011 4:33 pm

Report: NFL working on new free agency rules

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

UPDATED 4:32 p.m. ET: From the Twitter account of NFL spokesman Greg Aiello:

"Re: reports that if forced by courts to operate w/o consent of players, rules for 2011 could be different than 2010 rules: here is our reax: Our goal has at all times been the same – to operate under a negotiated set of procedures that are agreed to by the clubs and NFLPA. The current litigation has created a significant amount of uncertainty and we are therefore considering a wide range of alternatives depending on developments."


Daniel Kaplan of the Sports Business Journal reports that the NFL is working on free agency rules for the 2011 season that “would be very different from 2010.”

As Kaplan writes on Twitter, though, no decision has been made to go forward with those potential new rules. And if the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals does not overturn Judge Susan Nelson’s lockout injunction, the NFL still could choose to revert to the 2010 rules if and when it has to begin the 2011 calendar season.

The biggest difference in the 2010 free agency rules was that a player had to wait until after his sixth year before he became an unrestricted free agent (as opposed to after four years in the previous salary-capped seasons). For players who had four accrued seasons after 2009 and would normally have become unrestricted free agents, a reversion to the 2010 rules for 2011 would be the second-straight season they would be restricted in their free agency.

As the NY Times reports, the ending of the lockout also could allow the NFL to create more stringent drug testing rules, because there would be no union to stop it.

Roger Goodell already is on record as saying he wanted blood testing for human growth hormone, and this might be a good opportunity for him to do it (even though many players would vehemently disagree with that decision - unfortunately for them, they have no union to negotiate on their behalf).

“Our thought has been we have always been looking to make our program as effective as it can be,” an unnamed N.F.L. executive told the Times. “There have been some things, H.G.H. is one of them, that the union has resisted. When we get to the point where there is not a party involved, maybe we should consider what we consider important to keep pace with science and trends.”

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Category: NFL
Posted on: May 8, 2011 4:10 pm

Would the owners really shut down the NFL?

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk came up with an interesting – and let’s face it, a scary-as-hell – scenario today.

Citing “initial rumblings”, Florio writes that if the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals doesn’t overturn Judge Susan Nelson’s ruling that the lockout be lifted, it’s possible the owners will shut down the league altogether until the players accept a new labor deal.

Writes Florio, “The thinking is that, if the owners cease all operations, the NFL would not be violating the court order because there would be no lockout at that point.  Instead, the league essentially would be going out of business – something for which the NFL repeatedly chided the union in the weeks and months preceding decertification of the NFLPA.”

In two words, “Holy crap!” In four more words, “That would be bad.”

So, would the owners cut off their noses (shut down the league) in order to spite their faces (the players)? Are they even allowed to do that? And how would the fans respond to something that drastic?

In my opinion, talking to fans and sifting through blog comments, it seems clear that about half of football fans side with the owners in this labor dispute. I always wonder if that’s because some of those people think the players are the ones who are striking (as opposed to the owners locking them out). And now, I wonder if the fans who support the owners during this lockout would continue to do so if those owners completely blow up the NFL.

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Category: NFL
Posted on: April 30, 2011 12:26 am

Top five intriguing storylines from Friday

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

NEW YORK – Three rounds are done. We have four to go. Here are the most intriguing storylines for the second day of the NFL draft extravaganza.

1. Ryan Mallett fell how far … and who picked him?:
I wonder how fast Mallett’s mood changed when the Patriots took him midway through the third round. He must have gone from hurt and humiliated to not caring about what anybody else thinks. He knows he’s going to a winning program where he’ll have no pressure on him to produce immediately and where he can learn from one of the best QBs of all time. All of a sudden, life is good again for Mallett.

2. Da’Quan Bowers: third-best pro prospect out of Clemson: Before the NFL combine, what kind of odds could you have gotten if you wagered that former Clemson DE Jarvis Jenkins and former Tigers DB Marcus Gilchrist would be drafted BEFORE Bowers? You could have made millions, I tell you. Millions. Except Jenkins and Gilchrist don’t have a bad knee that might need microfracture surgery. Bowers does.

3. 49ers have a bridge to sell you … if you’ll get them a quarterback: Word on the street was that San Francisco was looking to draft Andy Dalton or Colin Kaepernick, and when the Bengals took Dalton at No. 35, the 49ers – who were picking 10 spots later – had to see which teams in front of them might also need a QB. Arizona for one, and Washington for another. So, they traded up to Denver’s No. 36 spot and gave up a third-, fourth- and fifth-rounder in exchange. It was actually a pretty deft maneuver to get the guy they wanted.

4. Washington has a TON of draft picks Saturday:
At one point, it seemed that the Redskins would never make a pick, because they kept trading down in the draft. They managed to select a player in the first, second and third rounds, and Saturday, they’ll select one fourth-rounder, four fifth-rounders, one sixth-rounder and four seventh-rounders. Unless, of course, the Redskins start trading for 2012 picks.

5. Lockout returns: There was no mention made of this during the draft – and really, why would there be? – but the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals granted the NFL a temporary reprieve and reestablished the lockout midway through the second round tonight. Which means that the new draft picks won’t get to start learning their new teams’ schemes, and they join the ranks of the rest of the NFL players who are locked out and not getting paid. Welcome to the league, boys!

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Posted on: April 27, 2011 9:45 pm
Edited on: April 28, 2011 11:47 am

Judge Nelson denies NFL's motion for stay

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

Now, the lockout is over for real. For now, anyway.

Liz Mullen of Sports Business Journal reports that Judge Susan Nelson, who lifted the lockout Monday when she ruled for the players in their request to end the work stoppage, has denied the NFL’s motion for a stay pending appeal.

That means, until we hear a ruling from the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals - the appeal likely will be expedited, meaning we could hear a decision in just a few days - the NFL is open for business.

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Nelson explained her decision by writing that the NFL "has not met its burden for a stay pending appeal, expedited or otherwise." That means the owners will try to get the Eighth Circuit to grant a stay until its decision on the appeal is made. Until then, Nelson writes that the 2011 season should begom.

Interestingly, Nelson’s decision was released about 23 hours before the NFL draft, opening up a huge can of questions. Can teams now trade draft picks for players? Can undrafted free agents sign with teams? What about rookie camps across the NFL?

Now, the ruling doesn’t mean free agency begins right this very second (and Nelson said the teams were under no obligation to start signing). We still don’t know the rules of free agency – the NFL could revert back to the 2010 rules, but that isn’t known for sure. Until there are rules, there can’t be free agency.

But now, there should be little question that players are allowed to work out in team facilities.

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Category: NFL
Posted on: April 26, 2011 8:42 pm
Edited on: April 28, 2011 11:59 am

NFLPA tells agents to negotiate with teams

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

The last 36 hours have been pretty crazy in the NFL world, and we still have a ton of confusion whether teams can negotiate with free agents and whether teams can allow players to work out in their facilities.

The only team that actually allowed players to work out was the Giants – most clubs allowed players in the building but that was about it. But it’s still unclear (and the opinions vary wildly depending mostly on whether you’re a plaintiff or a defendant in the Brady v NFL case) if the NFL is truly open for business.

The NFLPA is trying end the speculation, and according to NFL.com has told agents to begin negotiating with teams for their free agents, even though the NFL hasn’t started the clock on the 2011 season.

From the article:
The letter states that "unless or until" U.S. District Judge Susan Richard Nelson issues a stay of her ruling to end the NFL-imposed lockout, as the league has asked, the NFLPA believes business should begin now. If a player's contract has expired, the letter states "class counsel believes that you and your agent can start negotiating."

The letter, which provides a primer and a question-and-answer segment about the latest developments in the courts, goes on to state that if a team "refuses" to cooperate in negotiations with a free agent, "you should contact class counsel immediately." The letter also provides appropriate contact information.
During a conference call Tuesday, NFL attorney Jeff Pash was asked what kind of rules would be in place if the court decides not to issue a stay.

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Said Pash: “I think again that depends on what the scope of the injunction is and whether there is a stay. If the players got the injunction they requested last night, that would suggest a different set of rules. If that request is denied or the underlying injunction is stayed pending appeal, then that would dictate a different response. There’s a considerable degree of uncertainty about what exactly the scope of the relief is in light of the filing by the players last night. I think we don’t agree on all that many things, but I think Jim Quinn said it well last night when he said, ‘What we need to do is let the dust settle for a day or two,’ I think those were his words, and see if a stay is put in place.  Then we’ll all know more and be able to go from there.”

That didn’t stop agent agent David Canter from making phone calls. He told CBSSports.com that he contacted seven organizations, and the general consensus was they couldn’t negotiate because "we don't know what rules we are functioning under.”

The league right now is in absolute chaos, and if Nelson doesn’t grant a stay to the owners, things will get very interesting very quickly.

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Posted on: April 22, 2011 3:28 pm

All NFL employees take 12 percent pay cut

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

It’s not the just the owners, the players, and DirecTV who will lose money as the lockout continues. As Newsday’s Bob Glauber reports, it’s the NFL staff who also will feel the pinch.

According to Glauber, all NFL employees have taken a 12 percent pay cut, and if the lockout goes into August, that reduction will increase.

But GOOD NEWS!* NFL VP Eric Grubman remains optimistic.

*This is my capital letter screaming sarcasm font.

“We are planning to have a full season,” Grubman said, via Glauber. “We don’t have a date by which the season is lost. We will pull every lever that we can to make [a full season] happen."

Good thing, because Roger Goodell’s yearly salary of $1 is going to make finances awfully tight around his household** if the lockout continues.

**This is just my regular non capital letter sarcasm font.

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Category: NFL
Posted on: April 21, 2011 4:28 pm

Is it 3 1/2 years or is it six?

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

It’s been a given that, when talking about the average length of an NFL player’s career, about 3 ½ years is considered the correct number. Since the lockout began – and in the leadup to the lockout – the NFLPA has made sure to get those figures out there to convince the public that the owners’ desire for a new CBA is unfair (that’s an oversimplification, but you get my drift).

In a recent conference call with Chargers season ticket holders, commissioner Roger Goodell said those numbers weren’t accurate and, instead, claimed that the average was closer to six years for a player who “makes an opening day roster (as a rookie)” and closer to nine years for a first-round draft choice.

That’s quite a disparity, eh?

Steph Stradley, who writes a fan blog for the Houston Chronicle, did some exploring to figure out how there could be such a difference, and she got the NFLPA to provide her with the handy chart you can see below.

"The NFLPA ran a report on the average number of accrued seasons (6 games on a roster in a season) for NFL players as of the first game of the 2010 regular season, and the average is 3.54 accrued seasons. Here is the report:

Obviously, the two sides aren’t measuring the average using the same parameters. So, it’s still hard to tell exactly what the average is. Much like everything else in the NFL, the two sides aren’t exactly meshing and their disagreements continue to leave us a little bit confused.

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Category: NFL
Posted on: April 20, 2011 12:10 am

NFL, NFLPA make progress in talks

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

It sounds like today’s mediation talks were long and arduous, but in the end, writes NFL.com’s Albert Breer, some progress was made. Which, I guess, is a good thing, right?

The two sides met for about seven hours today, and for much of it, the NFL and the NFLPA spent time separately.

But it wasn’t only about what occurred today. It was how the two sides spent their time last weekend. To show proof of how hard his team had worked, attorney Michael Hausfeld, who heads up the Eller group, produced a 100-page response to questions asked by mediator Arthur Boylan.

"Over the weekend, we consulted with numerous individuals to prepare a response," Hausfeld said. "It has been given to the court to assist the court in making that evaluation and in having the parties understand the differences in position so that they could engage in a meaningful dialogue to reach these serious issues.

"This is no charade, this is no illusion. This is going to come to a resolution, either by the parties compromising and agreeing or by a judgment. And even with a judgment many times, there is then a discussion on how to compromise the judgment so there's not a winner-take-all situation. This takes time, and the court is doing everything within its power to get the parties to realize that."

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Category: NFL
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