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Tag:Roger Goodell
Posted on: July 6, 2011 7:28 pm
Edited on: July 6, 2011 8:23 pm
 

Report: framework for new CBA could come Friday



Posted by Ryan Wilson

The lawyers for the owners and players met again Wednesday as they continue to work toward a new collective bargaining agreement. And sources tell ESPN that both sides hope to reach a "true framework for a new CBA by the close of business Friday."

If there weren't already enough reasons to end the lockout as soon as possible (the reasons now number into the hundreds of millions), here's another: U.S. District Judge Arthur Boylan, the mediator in the talks, is scheduled to go on vacation Saturday, ESPN reports. And after taking the July 4th weekend off, both sides are committed to staying in New York and working through the weekend if it means getting a deal done.

We have written previously that the lockout could end as early as Sunday, July 10.

For weeks, mid-July had been the cutoff to guarantee that no preseason games were lost, and that training camps would open on time. It would also allow for an abbreviated free-agency signing period.

More from NFL Network's Albert Breer, who appeared on Wednesday's Total Access:
I'm told that today was a very productive day of talks. The talks went right into Wednesday evening, a long day, and it's interesting some of the signs you see during the day watching what was going on. At two o'clock … one of the league's lawyers and the drug czar came in … at a about five o'clock, management counsel lawyers came into the room and they were going over a lot of clarifications and the details of the language of a potential deal. It looks like they've made progress here in finalizing some of the paperwork … that would go into a new collective bargaining agreement.

It doesn't mean that anything's done -- the bigger issues still need to be hashed out -- but what this does is set the stage for a deal when the bigger issues are worked out.
Breer added that "there's a chance this could get taken care of by the end of this week. I think [Thursday] is a very, very big day."

Some fans continue to be cautiously optimistic while others, understandably, are of the "we'll believe it when we see it" mindset. Given all that's happened in the previous four months, we can't blame them. Although we don't have tangible evidence of progress on the labor front, we're taking it as a good sign that the Cowboys have scheduled training camp and that the Hall of Fame game between the Bears and Rams is still a go.

If we're lucky, by the start of next week, the 2011 season will be officially underway and we can get back to worrying about the truly important stuff. Like how many games the Panthers will lose, or which team will actually take a chance on Tiki Barber

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed.
Posted on: July 6, 2011 9:41 am
Edited on: July 6, 2011 10:01 am
 

VIDEO: 'Field of Dreams 2: NFL Lockout'

Posted by Will Brinson

For some reason, the NFL lockout really hasn't been that subject to parody thus far this year.

Fortunately, the guys at Funny or Die are here to remedy that, with their new trailer for "Field of Dreams 2: NFL Lockout" which features a PILE of celebrities.

There's Rich Eisen and Marshall Faulk from the NFL Network, Ray Liotta as Roger Goodell, Dwight Freeney, DeSean Jackson, Tony Gonzalez, Dennis Haysbert and even Kevin Costner with a guest spot.

Oh, and some kid named Taylor Lautner who got famous on the Bernie Mac show or something. I've never heard of him.

And I probably wouldn't mash the "Funny Meter" for this episode either, but it's funny enough to warrant talking about on a day when there's still no football in immediate sight.

Field of Dreams 2: NFL Lockout with Taylor Lautner from Taylor Lautner
Posted on: July 6, 2011 1:37 am
Edited on: July 6, 2011 12:00 pm
 

7 questions to ask for the labor home stretch

Posted by Will Brinson

Everyone -- and I mean everyone -- is ready for the NFL to start back up. (Otherwise, we might end up with Brett Favre putting his name back in the active player pool. And that's no good for anyone.)

And while it might be a simple process for the NFL and NFLPA to suck it up, find some common ground and make a deal happen ASAP, there's still a whole pile of issues to handle before we get the season ready to roll.

So, as we head into the hypothetical home stretch of the labor strife that's plagued NFL fans all summer, let's hit up our trusty seven-question format to figure out what it is we need to know in the next 10 days.

1. I just woke up from the Fourth of July ... are these guys close to a deal at all?
Surprisingly, yes, it sure does seem like the NFL and NFLPA are getting somewhere when it comes to negotiating.

At some point, both sides must have seen the balance sheets for what they stand to lose -- $800 million in revenue just from the preseason, not counting salaries! -- by continuing to be stubborn and decided that playing football was in everyone's interests.

Also, it's important to remember that DeMaurice Smith and Roger Goodell didn't exactly know each other well before this whole labor strife went down, and they've been, for all intents and purposes, feeling each other out as things went along.

It's infinitely easier to negotiate with someone you've negotiated with a bunch of times in the past, and trying to strike a deal with someone in a supercharged environment doesn't make things any easier.

Plus, if there's not a deadline for making a deal, you don't see people budge off their stances in negotiations. That's not something that's new to the NFL labor talks.
NFL Labor

2. What are the sticking points now?
The same as they've always been. Revenue sharing tops the list, but it's believed the sides are closer than they've ever been on that issue.

The 18-game schedule's been tabled for the time being.

The owners "agreed" on revenue sharing.

Everyone wants something to happen where Al Davis isn't capable of giving JaMarcus Russell $60 million guaranteed ever again. (Or, at least right out of the draft.)

And everyone agrees that the retired players need better benefits. Although, those guys did just sue everyone, and no one's entirely sure how to get them paid, so that could be a problem. But still, it's something that can be sorted out in a quick fashion when people want to make a deal happen.

Just like the rest of the issues.

3. Is there an actual deadline for the NFL and NFLPA to reach an agreement?

Not technically, no, although July 15th has long been considered the "soft deadline" for making something happen. But a deal could be struck any time between Wednesday, July 6, and September 1 and we could still get a full season football.

The problem is that all teams -- even ones like the Packers -- need some kind of training camp and preparation for the season. That might mean that preseason games become more meaningful, but that's not all bad.

Once we move past July 15, there's no longer a convenient window for both free agency and training camps leading up to a full preseason, and things start to get a little hairer.

One of the more interesting aspects to watch about this soft deadline is whether or not an actual deal has to be in place. The rumors coming from the league are that the lockout can't be lifted until all the legal papers are signed/sealed/delivered, but if there's a firm "handshake agreement" in place by next Friday, it would be pretty surprising to see the two sides haggle over some signatures.

4. Are the lawyers really trying to screw the talks up?
You know what my dad always likes to point out to me? That the difference between a dead lawyer in the road and a dead squirrel in the road are the tire marks in front of the squirrel.

And my dad's a lawyer.

Jeff Kessler and Jim Quinn have $10-plus billion reasons to consider trying to keep the two sides in court for the duration of the season. (A favorable verdict for the players would generate a big, old trough full of money, of which they'd get to amply slurp at.)

Which is why it's good news that the team of attorneys for the players are supposedly reworking their contract (and/or that De Smith listened to my man Mike Freeman's advice) -- if Quinn and Kessler are off of the contingency-fee deal, there's much less motivation for them to stay in court for a lengthy amount of time.

5. Wait, what about that whole "the players sued the owners and everyone's fighting in court" thing?
The rulings at the District Court in Minnesota and the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals are the gigantic elephant and gorilla, respectively, that you see in the back of the metaphorical room.

As of now, both the television ruling from Judge David Doty at the District Court level (leveraging how much in damages the players are owed) and the ruling on the permanency of the lockout (leveraging how long the owners can keep the players away from work) are in a holding pattern.

This is because the two sides have continually made progress on a deal that could get done without the court having to rule either way on either issue.

If the two courts do rule, though, things are going to get ugly, because suddenly all the angry feelings the two sides have temporarily put aside are going to start rearing up again.

6. Enough lawyer stuff -- when does my team get to sign free agents?
This is probably the trickiest question of all, because it's going to depend on the lockout being lifted first, natch.

But let's say that a deal does happen by July 15 and the lockout's lifted -- then we're probably facing a 48-hour (or thereabouts) window with which teams have to wait to sign free agents.

It's possible, based on some reports, that teams -- like the Carolina Panthers -- with a lot of restricted free agents (RFAs) will help muscle some sort of right of first refusal deal into the new CBA.

That scenario would give teams like the Panthers a chance to ink their big-name players -- in this case DeAngelo Williams and Charles Johnson -- that they didn't expect to become free agents.

But it's highly unlikely that the players cave on that issue, if only because the owners choose to opt out of the CBA themselves, thereby setting up a scenario in which the market became flooded with an unexpected amount of high-quality players.

7. So what are the chances a deal actually happens by July 15?
I'm going with the same answer I gave three months ago (before the lockout!): 75 percent. That doesn't make me a soothsayer, and it might actually make me wrong for the time being, but there really is too much to lose for both sides not to make something happen.

Don't get me wrong -- there is PLENTY that can cause these talks to explode and send both sides scurrying away from the negotiating table, back into the court room and as far away from the football field as you can get.

We could lose the preseason. And we could still lose the regular season.

But right now, both the owners and the players know there's a 10-day-ish window in which they can hammer out a deal, get the season started on time, make all the money they would have made anyway, and get right back in the good graces of football fans everywhere.

And the difference between now and the beginning of March isn't just a calendar date -- this time around, both sides appear ready to work with each other to make a deal happen and get football back on track.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed.


Posted on: July 5, 2011 6:55 pm
Edited on: July 5, 2011 7:06 pm
 

NFLPA lawyers renegotiating to a 'flat fee'?

Posted by Will Brinson

Much of the CBA chatter over the holiday weekend focused on the fact that Jeffrey Kessler and Jim Quinn were potentially submarining positive momentum in the current CBA negotiations.

It's precisely why Mike Freeman advised DeMaurice Smith needed to "send your lawyers packing," and it's particularly interesting given that Jim Trotter of Sports Illustrated is hearing that the NFLPA lawyers are renegotiating their fee contract with the players.

"I'm hearing the NFLPA has renegotiated its contracts with outside counsel," Trotter tweeted on Tuesday. "Hearing the term 'flat fee' is included in the deal." The presumption here, as Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk notes, is that the lawyers were being paid on a contingency fee. (There are generally three types of lawyer fees: either hourly/billable, contingency which is based on the outcome, or a flat fee, which is paid regardless of what happens.)

What makes this interesting is that if Quinn and Kessler were contracted on contingency for their work in the Brady v. NFL matter, they were probably eyeing an absolutely monumental payday if the players won the case.

The quick math, based on a range of 25-to-33 percent, tells us that had they won the deal, the floor for their attorney fees could have been something along the lines of $3 billion.

Most importantly, though, is what a potential renegotiation means for the future of football: If the NFLPA is reworking the manner in which the attorneys are paid, it sure does seem as if the players are envisioning a scenario in which their lawsuit won't be necessary for too much longer.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed.
Posted on: July 5, 2011 4:31 pm
Edited on: July 5, 2011 5:01 pm
 

End to NFL lockout could be days away

Posted by Ryan Wilson

After taking the holiday weekend off, lawyers for the owners and players reconvened Tuesday to continue negotiations toward a new collective bargaining agreement. And reports suggested Tuesday that not only could a new deal be in place in the coming days, but training camps could open on time, as could the preseason and regular season. (Such are the incentivizing effects of potentially losing $800 million.)

Yahoo.com's Michael Silver writes, "Despite a breakdown in communication and trust that boiled over last week, the two sides are closer to an agreement than many people realize --perhaps than even some of the people involved realize. That the respective negotiating teams hung in amid the negativity and held a marathon session Thursday and a shorter one on Friday was a deceptively positive sign."

Chris Russell, who works for ESPN 980 in Washington, D.C., and is part of the Redskins radio network, also tweeted hopeful news: "In talking to some officials in the Redskins organization today -- they are very confident a deal will be done shortly w/ no football lost."  And the Redskins coaching staff is expected to return to work Monday to prepare for training camp. (Which should give the organization more time to get rid of Donovan McNabb and tailor the offense around John Beck. We're joking. Sort of.)

Nothing's definitive, but there appears to be progress. The Cowboys have already scheduled training camp, and the Hall of Fame Game is still a go.

The takeaway?

The specifics of the lockout -- who's right, who's wrong, who's richer or less so -- mean little to fans at this point.  All they want is football. It's pretty simple, really. 

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed.
Posted on: July 5, 2011 10:52 am
Edited on: July 5, 2011 11:06 am
 

Hall of Fame Game still scheduled for Aug. 7

Posted by Ryan Wilson

After taking the weekend off to celebrate our country's independence, the lawyers for the owners and players resumed talks today, but NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith aren't expected to be present for the negotiations until Thursday, according to ESPN's Chris Mortensen.

The hope is that a new collective bargaining agreement can be reached by mid-July; if the lockout lasts beyond that, preseason games could be cancelled and owners and players could stand to lose up to $800 million.

While we wouldn't say optimism is high, there are signs that the two sides will resolve their differences and the 2011 season will begin on time.

Over the weekend, it was announced that the Cowboys set a July 29 training camp date at the Alamodome in San Antonio. And Tuesday, ESPN's Sal Paolantonio reports that the Pro Football Hall of Fame game between the Bears and Rams is still scheduled for August 7. The game is part of the Hall of Fame induction weekend in Canton, Ohio, and is the first game of the NFL preseason.

"We're making all plans to have the game on time. We've heard from both parties -- the owners and the players -- and they've expressed their desire to have the game. So, that's our plan," hall president Steve Perry told ESPN.

"Ticket sales are lagging behind where they were compared to this time last year," Perry acknowledged. "That's understandable. There is some uncertainty out there. But we're planning to have the game. Nobody has told us otherwise. In fact, both sides have told us they want to play the game."

Traditionally, the game is a sellout, but Perry said that only half the tickets for the 22,000-seat Fawcett Stadium have been sold. Just like the regular season, if the game isn't sold out it would be blacked out in Canton and the surrounding areas.

Both the Bears and the Rams have told Perry they plan to play in the game, but because of the lockout neither team knows exactly when they will be able to start training camp. If a new CBA isn't reached in the next 10 days or so and preseason games are ultimately delayed or cancelled, Perry told ESPN that the Hall of Fame game could be postponed or played on another date.

"That's not our desire," he said. "It would not have the same impact as having it on Hall of Fame Weekend."

The Hall of Fame induction ceremonies, however, are unaffected by the lockout and will go on as planned.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed.
Posted on: July 3, 2011 3:24 pm
Edited on: July 3, 2011 10:00 pm
 

No preseason could mean $800M in lost revenue

Posted by Ryan Wilson

Since negotiations toward a new collective bargaining agreement started moving in the right direction several weeks ago, there has been guarded optimism in the media that a deal would be done by mid-July. Progress has come in fits and starts, but that's the nature of deliberating.

That said, if the lockout continues past July 15, there's a danger that preseason games would be lost, and more than that, the revenue that comes with it.

ESPN's Adam Schefter tweeted Saturday that the financial cost of the first week of preseason games could be roughly $200 million.

To take it a step further, if, say, the lockout drags on to the point that the entire preseason is lost, that means lost revenues in the neighborhood of $800 million. But those losses don't solely fall to the owners; players would be taking a hit, too.

PFT provides the breakdown:
Assuming that the players get a 48-percent share of all revenue under a new CBA, a lost preseason would equate to $384 million in losses for the players, and $416 million in losses for the owners.

The losses begin soon, if/when the NFL is required to scuttle preseason games. And because the players are now focused more on total dollars and less on percentages, the dip in total dollars resulting from lost preseason games necessarily will impact the deal that the parties are discussing.
So there's one more reason for the two sides to come to an agreement in the next 12 days -- $800 million. But if the last month has taught us anything, it's that posturing gives way to actual negotiations when the specter of losing billions of dollars is imminent. If this doesn't motivate the owners and players to figure things out soon, the season is already lost.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed.
Posted on: July 1, 2011 10:31 pm
Edited on: July 1, 2011 10:43 pm
 

Break from CBA talks needs to become a gut check

Posted by Will Brinson

The NFL and NFLPA are taking the holiday weekend off from negotiating a new CBA. Some folks might see this as a problem, because it means a break from negotiations and continued progress.

However, there's reason to think that this weekend could be a gamechanger, provided that both sides remember exactly what "negotiating" means.

As CBSSports.com's Mike Freeman reported over the past few days, the owners are presenting scenarios that don't fit in line with what they'd previously offered, and the NFLPA lawyers are refusing to budge on the issue of retired-player benefits. That, folks, is not negotiating, unless the word suddenly became a synonym for "being stubborn."

This weekend shouldn't be a time to sit around and gripe about who said what in which room, and whether this or that proposal was insulting. This is a weekend to realize that America is sitting around enjoying the summer, not really complaining about the lack of football, and patiently waiting for the two sides to strike a deal.

Latest on Labor

This weekend needs to be the two sides talking apart from one another and understanding that now is a time for a negotiation gut check.

The NFL needs to understand that it HAS to give in on certain areas, and the NFLPA needs to understand that it HAS to find some leeway on others.

That might sound silly and obvious, but it's -- plainly -- exactly what comprises negotiating.

We've constantly heard leaders from both sides preach about dialogue and the need for bargaining during this process. And we've constantly been told that there's ample reason for optimism despite the fact that there's not any football on the horizon.

But there's no concrete proof of any actual negotiating; there's no guarantee that either one of the sides can willingly find some room for concessions that will forward the progress of the best sport in the country.

And that's why a break is critical -- everyone involved in the negotiations of a new CBA for the NFL needs to take this time off to realize just how close we are to the beginning of the football season, to assess the goals of these negotiations, to figure out what the respective breaking points of each side on each issue are, and to find a way to hammer out a deal when negotiations resume on Tuesday.

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com