Posted on: March 3, 2011 5:32 pm
Edited on: March 3, 2011 6:04 pm

CBA negotiations extended 24 hours

Posted by Will Brinson

The CBA was set to expire at 11:59 EST Thursday but the NFL and NFLPA reached a 24-hour extension to keep their negotiating window open.

That's according to Jeff Saturday, Colts center and one of the members of the NFLPA present at the negotiating session. Kara Henderson of the NFL Network first reported the news.

This is good news, and as our own Mike Freeman wrote, reason for hope. But it's not salvation for football fans, and right now, it's only a very small step towards some sort of resolution.

"For all those that dig our game, we appreciate your patience as we work through this," DeMaurice Smith, Executive Director of the NFLPA, said. "We're going to keep working we want to play football."

That doesn't necessarily mean anyone should take an optimistic approach towards the labor situation, because things are still very much in a tenuous stage. There's 30-some odd hours for the two sides to decide between a number of choices: 1) hammering out their issues and getting a new deal done; 2) going to war in the courtroom because no deal can be reached; or 3) negotiating a new deadline for the expiration of the CBA.

The third option is the biggest reason for optimism right now -- if the NFL and NFLPA can continue to extend the expiration date, they'll continue to be pressed up against a deadline and therefor be more likely to concede certain bargaining positions. Indeed, similar thing happened in 2006 -- in terms of a short extension -- and the result of that was a new Collective Bargaining Agreement.

That doesn't guarantee such an occurrence in 2011, but the simple fact that the talks are continuing means that the two sides are at least trying to make something happen. And that's better news than we had earlier Thursday.

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Category: NFL
Posted on: March 3, 2011 3:55 pm
Edited on: March 3, 2011 4:51 pm

Top QBs to be plaintiffs in any antitrust suit?

Posted by Will Brinson

So here's a fun twist to the crazy reports that are swinging the NFL labor mood on the final -- barring an extension -- day of the current CBA: if the union decertifies and files an antitrust lawsuit against the NFL owners (a very real possibility), then Peyton Manning, Drew Brees and Tom Brady are willing to play the role of lead plaintiffs.

This report is currently percolating around NFL circles -- Jim Trotter of Sports Illustrated and Albert Breer of the NFL Network first reported it -- and it's pretty huge news.

Why? Well, think about any time you've ever seen a high-profile court case. You identify, whether you know it or not, with one of the sides. And the way you perceive the sides a lot of times depends on not just what you know about that side, but who is representing the respective interests.

Put a better way, when the words "players versus the owners" get thrown around, everyone immediately thinks "millionaires fighting with billionaires."

But if Manning, Brees and Brady -- three immensely popular and likable guys -- are suddenly against the owners, it changes the public perception completely.

The obvious counterargument to that point is that no one makes more money than that trio of quarterbacks. My response: except the owners.

Look, find someone who knows nothing about sports, and that person can probably still identify all three quarterbacks we're talking about.

They're not poor peasants toiling against "the man," but they are tremendously popular and likable celebrities with the benefit of having never engaged in any sort of behavior that gives the public any reason to hate them.

Outside of winning a bunch of Super Bowls anyway.

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Posted on: March 3, 2011 3:04 pm

Source: Players to discuss scenario in call

Posted by Pete Prisco

The NFL players will conduct a conference call Thursday afternoon to discuss the labor situation, according to a player source.

That call could be to discuss the possibility of extending the talks past Thursday.

According to the source, the owners have done little negotiating in the meetings so far, and optimism isn't abound from the players' side, but this call could be to extend the talks -- which would be the first real good sign for both sides.

The union is considering decertifying, but they would have to do that by 4 p.m. today. That would seem like a last resort.

An extension of the talks would help generate some dialogue between the two sides and help prevent a lockout, which would occur at 12 a.m. Friday morning.

This entry was cross-posted from the Prisco's Points blog. For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed .

Category: NFL
Posted on: March 3, 2011 2:32 pm
Edited on: March 3, 2011 3:27 pm

Obama won't intervene in NFL lockout

Posted by Will Brinson

At this point, fans of the NFL are probably willing to accept help from anywhere to prevent a lockout. That includes the government, who seems to slow things down and/or mess things up every time it gets it's tape-covered hands in the sports world.

Unfortunately, even as midnight approaches and our concussion-filled carriage gets ready to morph into a rotten pumpkin, we're not going to see the White House swoop in and save the NFL. That's according to the President himself, who addressed the topic Thursday.

"You have owners worth close to a billion, players making millions," President Obama said. "The parties should be able to work it out. I'm a big football fan. For an industry making $9 billion I'd hope they can figure out how to divide it up in a sensible way.

"I hope they can come to an agreement without me having to intervene."

The reaction to this should actually be pretty hysterical, although it's a lose/lose proposition for the Big Guy. If he steps in and makes the NFL continue, he's an "anti-capitalism socialist who wants the government to own the NFL." And if he does nothing, he "probably hates America and fun."

But the Prez is right to wash his hands of this mess. It'd be nice to see someone with enough authority guarantee that we'll get football next year, but in the big picture of things that are happening in this world, the business of the NFL is still pretty small stuff.

Besides, he's got his hands full trying to fix the fact that college football is too corrupt stupid to employ a playoff.

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Category: NFL
Posted on: March 3, 2011 1:45 pm
Edited on: March 3, 2011 2:08 pm

Report: union, owners discussing CBA extension

The scene outside the labor negotiations (CBSSports.com)
Photo by Clark Judge, CBSSports.com

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

The biggest news to come out of this morning’s NFL-NFLPA mediation session is that, as of 1:30 p.m. ET, the two sides are still inside the building, presumably negotiating, and they're talking about extending the CBA.

Word has begun to filter out that the two sides are talking about an extension that would allow the owners and the union to continue to negotiate (according to Sports Illustrated’s Jim Trotter, the owners were the ones to request it, and the union would have to sign off on the deal). Naturally, that means the union's plan to decertify and the owners' plan to lock out the players could be on hold. If the union doesn't get the assurances it wants, though, it still could file those decertification papers by 4 p.m. ET.
But the fact that both sides didn’t immediately, “Screw it, we’re outta here,” is (relatively) decent news. 

Meanwhile, a huge glut of reporters, including CBSSports.com’s own Clark Judge, is twiddling their thumbs on the streets of Washington and waiting for some kind of news that’s actually confirmed (the news in the above paragraph doesn’t necessarily qualify).

Some have been huddling at the Starbucks up the block, and others have moved across the street in an attempt to stay warm, because the sun, blocked by the big buildings, is beginning to disappear on the sidewalk.

Hopefully, they’ll have to wait the rest of the day. Not because I don’t feel pity for the reporters – lord knows I’ve waited longer for stories on topics that were much less important than this – but because that means the sides are continuing to talk.

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Category: NFL
Posted on: March 3, 2011 11:45 am

Report: owners will show a little more data

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

While the NFL owners and the NFLPA are negotiating in Washington (AS WE SPEAK!), here’s a bit of news that might (temporarily) brighten your day.

According to NFL.com’s Jason La Canfora, the owners were prepared to reveal more financial data during today’s mediation.

This might or might not be a big deal, but it does show that the owners are perhaps bending a little. Before, they insisted the players had all the data they needed, though the union countered that by saying that if the owners were going to claim they were losing money, they needed to open all their books to the NFLPA.

We don’t know if they’re doing that right now – that much give still seems unlikely – but compromising a little more isn’t a bad thing at this point.

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Category: NFL
Posted on: March 2, 2011 8:31 pm
Edited on: March 2, 2011 8:31 pm

NFL headed back to mediation building

Posted by Clark Judge

CHANTILLY, Va. -- Stay tuned.

Roger Goodell and executive vice president and general counsel Jeff Pash reportedly were seen going into the federal mediation and conciliation services building Wednesday evening [Ed. note: this happened after the owner's labor committee meeting broke up] , so what happens next is anyone's guess. While spokesman Greg Aiello said that no decision regarding a possible lockout was taken by league owners, he also acknowledged that a vote of owners isn't required. That authority, he said, belongs to the NFL's 10-man labor committee, and while it may know where it's going, it's not saying.

And why should it? The league and Players Association are supposed to be involved in "good faith" negotiating, and the NFL isn't interested in saying or doing anything that could be construed a compromise of that action. Nor should it. But tell me the exit of owners who comprise the labor committee 24 hours prior to a deadline for a new CBA is a good thing ... because it's not.

"We can get back together in a short period of time," said Dallas owner Jerry Jones as he left here, "so don't read anything into it."

It's hard not to. There's no doubt that a settlement is unlikely by midnight Thursday, but there could be an extension to the deadline. There was in 2006 after owners and the union broke off talks on a new CBA, and the extension resulted in a settlement. I don't know that that happens here. What I do know is that nothing much was accomplished here, other than owners getting the lowdown on what happens next.

This entry was cross-posted from the Punt, pass and Judge blog. For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed .

Posted on: March 2, 2011 7:14 pm

Nothing resolved; no votes taken at meeting

Goodell and D. Smith Posted by Clark Judge

CHANTILLY, Va. – NFL owners left their one-day meeting Wednesday afternoon with nothing resolved and no votes taken, which is not what I'd call good news. Though spokesman Greg Aiello acknowledged that no decision regarding a possible lockout was taken by league owners, he also acknowledged that a vote of owners is not required.

That authority, he said, belongs to the Management Council's executive committee, and it hasn't made a decision what it does if the current agreement expires.

"We didn't vote on anything," Indianapolis owner Jim Irsay said after the three-hour meeting. "It was more a thorough update and a chance to ask questions and that sort of thing. We didn't break the room with a lockout vote or anything like that that was initiated. It was really a complete update for us to ask questions.

"Going through these things in the 70s and 80s I never have expectations because it changes. It's a chessboard that moves around and things change, and things happen at unusual hours. So I don't want to put any certainty on what the evening will bring and tomorrow. You just never know."

Commissioner Roger Goodell and general counsel Jeff Pash stayed behind to meet with the 10 members of the league's labor committee, but there was no indication if they would stay through the evening or into Thursday. There is a mediation session scheduled Thursday morning between the league and the NFL Players Association. But there doesn't appear to be enough progress to make anyone optimistic.

"I'm sure you guys will hear the 'Vegas rule,' " said Irsay. "What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. So i guess it's been the 'Vegas rule' on that. It's important to have some sanctity in the rooms where negotiations are happening. From my personal perspective, there's always progress when you're talking and working forward."

Nevertheless, when Aiello was asked if he was optimistic a labor stoppage could be avoided before Thursday at midnight ... or that a settlement could be reached ... he reacted with mock surprise.

"Optimism?" he said. "It's difficult to make those kinds of predictions. We'll leave that to you."

Aiello said no action was taken toward launching an appeal -- or at least considering the action -- following Judge David Doty's ruling Tuesday that the NFL cannot withhold $4 billion in TV money for the 2011 season. He also said the league has not decided what -- if anything -- it would do if the players' union decertified prior to Thursday at midnight, as it said it would, a move that could prevent a lockout.

"That's a speculative question," said Aiello. "We'll have to wait and see what the developments are, and we'll respond accordingly."

This entry was cross-posted from the Punt, pass and Judge blog. For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed .
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com