Tag:training camp
Posted on: July 25, 2011 2:00 pm
Edited on: July 26, 2011 12:08 am
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NFLPA votes to unanimously approve CBA

Posted by Will Brinson



The 32 NFLPA reps voted unanimously to approve the CBA on Monday afternoon, according to NFLPA spokesman George Atallah.

NFL Labor

That's right. The NFL is back.

"It's been a long time coming, and football is back -- that's the great news for everybody," Roger Goodell said at a press conference in front of the NFLPA offices. "I want to thank [DeMaurice Smith] and all of the players for their leadership and securing the long-term future of the game. Having a 10-year agreement is extraordinarily great for our game and most importantly our fans."

There are still a few steps before the deal is "officially" official, of course. This includes recertification as well as the approvement of the settlement. But for all intents and purposes were are ready to roll with the 2011 NFL season.

"This is a long time coming," Jerry Richardson said. "I would like to say what a pleasure it's been to work with the players in this negotiation."

Patriots owner Bob Kraft offered perhaps the best perspective on the entire situation, however.

"On behalf of both sides, I'd like to apologize to the fans," Kraft said, before complimenting the deal and the two sides for their work.

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Posted on: July 25, 2011 10:39 am
Edited on: July 25, 2011 11:36 am
 

NFLPA conference call underway, vote coming soon

Posted by Will Brinson

NFL Labor

The NFLPA announced on Monday morning a conference call with its executive committee and 32 player representatives that will take place at 11 a.m. ET on Monday.

The NFLPA player representatives will then vote on approving the deal that the two sides negotiated, a source confirmed to CBSSports.com.

This fits with the timeline previously reported by CBSSports.com's Mike Freeman, and means that we should expect to -- barring a last-minute change of heart by the executive committee -- be prepared for the beginning of the NFL offseason as shortly as the end of today.

Per Albert Breer of the NFL Network, the players are on the conference call right now "reviewing [the] summary of the deal" -- remember that, just as with last week, there are still a LOT of players that aren't completely in-tune with every single detail of the CBA. (This is simply what happens when you have 1,900 players who need to be informed; kudos to the NFLPA for getting more players to the point of understanding what's going on.)

So it's likely that issues are being explained in detail to the players rep so they can then explain said issues to their constituents.

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Posted on: July 22, 2011 9:45 pm
Edited on: July 23, 2011 9:57 am
 

What needs to happen before we get football


Posted by Will Brinson


Earlier today, CBSSports.com's Mike Freeman reported that the NFLPA plans to work throughout the weekend despite a report that the players were going to take off until Monday.

A source of Freeman's notes, too, that "the players seem to be in no hurry to ratify the CBA."

Of course, the reality is that the CBA won't just be ratified by a majority vote from the players.

There's actually a couple of things that have to happen first, where a settlement of the lawsuits is reached, the union is reformed and then the remaining issues are collectively bargained.

So let's take a look at what, precisely, will need to happen for us to get on the path to kicking off the football (off)season.

For starters, there are still a number of issues that need to be resolved, including grievances between the NFLPA and NFL, $320 million in back benefits that the NFLPA believes it's due from 2010, how to handle substance-abuse and drug testing (HGH testing isn't going to be a clear-cut answer, despite what Jeff Pash says).

No, this doesn't include handling allegedly disgruntled plaintiff Vincent Jackson, who seems intent on being freed from the franchise tag and/or recouping money from the time he lost during his previous seasons as a restricted free agent.



But Jackson is involved in the first step of the process, which is wrapping up the settlement.

For that to happen, the two sides need to agree on the settlement's final deal points and language. (Ever dealt with a lawyer and/or lawsuit before? This sort of thing can get heated, minute and complicated.) To reach a settlement, the two sides will also need to figure out what to do with the lockout insurance case.

Once the NFLPA's executive board votes to send this to the named plaintiffs (they've done so in a conditional fashion already), Tom Brady and the rest of the named plaintiffs have to sign off on the settlement.

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As soon as that happens and the court approves the settlement, the players can begin reforming the union. That requires some serious paperwork, though it's likely the trade association known as the NFLPA will have such items squared away. Most important, it also requires 51 percent of the players turning in their union cards and re-forming.

Yes, it's possible this could happen electronically, but it's more than likely that we end up seeing team facilities opened so players can come in and sign the cards and re-form.

It's also possible that incorporating such a process could be a conditional part of the settlement, though it can't be demanded by either side necessarily and shouldn't be a dealbreaker.

Once the players are re-unionized, the two sides can collectively bargain the remaining issues mentioned above.

What this means, more than anything, is that we're not just a simple vote away from getting football back. Though the owners ratified a proposal that might not have been seen by the players, and though we might feel "halfway done," there's still work ahead before we get a new CBA.

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Posted on: July 21, 2011 10:30 pm
Edited on: July 22, 2011 12:16 am
 

NFLPA email says owners proposal could be illegal

Posted by Ryan Wilson

The NFLPA sent out two emails Thursday -- one from Executive Director DeMaurice Smith after the owners voted to approve the new collective bargaining agreement, and another from Richard Berthelsen, of the NFLPA legal team, that was made public after the conference call between Smith and the 32 player representatives.

The second email called into question several issues, chief among them that the NFLPA recertify as a union within a predetermined time period.

Details of the email via NFL Network's Albert Breer:

"In addition to depriving the players of the time needed to consider forming a union and making needed changes to the old agreement, this proposed procedure would in my view also violate federal labor laws," the email read. "Those laws prohibit employers from coercing their employees into forming a union, and could result in any agreement reached through the procedure being declared null and void."

NFL Network legal analyst Gabe Feldman spoke Thursday night about the NFLPA's concerns.

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"It's not only pegging the date, but it's making a deal contingent on the reforming of a union," Feldman said. "Which would be management pressuring employees to form a union -- which is illegal. You can't, as an employer, force or coerce your employers to form a union. …

"The [NFLPA] worried, I think … [that the owners' agreement says] they will recertify by July 27. And the deal's contingent on that, and the players have said all along, 'We'll recertify when we're ready to recertify."

Feldman offered a possible resolution, one that doesn't require the NFLPA to recertify by next Wednesday.

"Here's a way it can work out: Instead of [the NFL] saying we won't open up camps on July 27 unless [the NFLPA] recertifies, say 'We will open up camps, we will start the league year, conditioned on at some point you recertify.' It doesn't have to be by July 27."

For now, just like the previous 128 days, we wait.

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Posted on: July 21, 2011 10:29 pm
Edited on: July 21, 2011 11:04 pm
 

Players decline to vote on NFL proposal

Posted by Will Brinson

The steady, optimistic road towards labor peace came to a pessimistic pile-up when the NFL owners ratified (their own) proposal to settle the labor situation and the players decided to not to vote on the proposal during their conference call with team reps on Thursday night.

It was an absolute about-face for labor negotiations that seemed to be wrapping up earlier in the day, but given the way events unfolded after the NFL's decision to ratify a proposal the players allegedly hadn't seen, the lack of a vote shouldn't be shocking.

All reports indicate that the players will vote, but that they want to understand the full ramifications of the NFL's proposal before doing so.

In fact, many a player rep said the players hadn't even seen the NFL's proposal, including Panthers rep and punter Jason Baker.

"Once we do [see the proposal] we will take the necessary time to make sure the players understand the facts, then make the appropriate decisions at that time," Baker said, per Joe Person of the Charlotte Observer.

And some optimism among players still remains, like

"We are going to get a deal done," Jaguars linebacker Kirk Morrison said on television late Thursday night.

But it's also clear that the decision to ratify a proposal the players weren't aware of didn't sit well with everyone on the NFLPA side -- look no further than some of the comments players issued to CBSSports.com's own Mike Freeman.

"Contrary to reports out there" there is no vote scheduled Friday, player rep George Wilson said, per Daniel Kaplan of the Sports Business Journal. "This is not Armageddon.

"This is nothing more than an attempt to get the fans to turn on the players."

That's exactly why we predicted this morning that public pressure would flip squarely to the players if the owners ratified a proposal today. We just didn't think it would all shake down like this.

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Posted on: July 21, 2011 9:01 pm
Edited on: July 21, 2011 9:17 pm
 

Key terms of new CBA as voted on by NFL owners



Posted by Josh Katzowitz

ATLANTA – As you know, the NFL owners voted 31-0 to approve a new collective bargaining agreement with the NFLPA that will last for the next 10 years. Also, as you know, the players haven’t approved the deal -- and ultimately they might not.

In any case, here are the key terms of the new CBA that will last through the 2020 season and includes the 2021 NFL draft (assuming the NFLPA ratifies it as it stands).

Player health and safety
  • Reducing the offseason program by five weeks and reducing OTAs from 14 to 10.
  • Limiting on-field practice time and contact (unspecified).
  • Limiting full-contact practices in the preseason and regular season (unspecified).
  • Increasing number of days off for players (unspecified).
  • Current players could remain in the player medical plan for life, and there will be an enhanced injury protection benefit of up to $1 million of a player’s salary the year after his injury and up to $500,000 in the second year after his injury. 
  • $50 million per year to a joint fund for “medical research, healthcare programs, and NFL Charities, including NFLPA-related charities.” 
Retired players benefits
  • During the next 10 years, there will be an additional funding of between $900 million and $1 billion -- $620 million of that will be used for a “Legacy Fund,” which will increase pensions for pre-1993 retirees. 
  • Other unspecified improvements to post-career medical options and the disability plan. 
Rookie compensation system
  • All drafted players sign four-year contracts. 
  • Undrafted players sign three-year contracts. 
  • A salary cap per draft class -- Limited contract terms. 
  • Strong anti-holdout rules -- Clubs can extend option of a first-round draft pick for a fifth year based on agreed-upon tender amounts. 
Economics
  • Salary cap plus benefits of $142.4 million per club ($120.375 million for salary and bonus) and at least that amount in 2012 and 2013. 
  • Beginning in 2012, salary cap to be set “based on a combined share of ‘all revenue.’” Players will receive 55 percent of national media revenue, 45 percent of NFL Ventures revenue and 40 percent of local club revenue. 
  • Player share must average at least 47 percent for the 10-year agreement. 
  • League-wide commitment to cash spending of 99 percent of the cap in 2011 and 2012. For 2013-2016, and again for the 2017-2020 seasons, the teams have to spend at least 95 percent of the cap. 
  • Minimum salaries will rise 10 percent in Year 1 with continued increases for each year. 
Transition rules
  • All teams will have about $3.5 million to fund veteran player salaries in 2011. That money comes from what would otherwise be performance-based pay. 
  • In 2011, each team can borrow up to $3 million in cap room from a future year, which would then be used for the veteran player costs. In 2012, that figure drops to $1.5 million, which can be borrowed. 
Other key points
  • Franchise tags and transition tags would remain unchanged. 
  • Player personal conduct policy remains the same and can be used to discipline players who violated it during the lockout.
  • No early opt-out clauses. 
  • No judicial oversight of the agreement. Neutral arbitrators jointly approved by the NFL and NFLPA would resolve disputes. 
  • Settlement of ALL pending litigation. 
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Posted on: July 21, 2011 8:13 pm
Edited on: July 22, 2011 9:49 am
 

Smith to players: 'There is no agreement'

Posted by Will Brinson

There was much rejoicing in the land of NFL fans on Thursday night when the NFL owners voted 31-0 to ratify a settlement agreement. There's just one problem: it's not exactly in-line with what the players were expecting.

CBSSSports.com has obtained an email from NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith to the players a few moments ago that indicates precisely how they feel.

"As you know the Owners have ratified their proposal to settle our differences. It is my understanding that they are forwarding it to us," the email reads. "As you may have heard, they apparently approved a supplemental revenue sharing proposal. Obviously, we have not been a part of those discussions.

Latest on Lockout

"As you know from yesterday, issues that need to be collectively bargained remain open, other issues such as workers compensation, economic issues and end of deal terms remain unresolved.

Smith's email concludes in a fashion that should sufficiently point out how differently the players view the owners' proposal.

"There is no agreement between the NFL and the Players at this time," Smith concludes. "I look forward to our call tonight."

The biggest fear for everyone involved is that the players might see the owners' decision to approve their own deal as a way of pushing public perception against the players. And that's entirely possible, but we won't know for sure until the end of the NFLPA call.

One thing's for sure, though: this isn't over yet.



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Posted on: July 21, 2011 7:00 pm
Edited on: July 21, 2011 7:45 pm
 

NFL owners vote to approve settlement

Posted by Eye on Football Staff

ATLANTA -- After a 10-minute break turned into a lengthy evening siesta that unnerved more than a number of NFL reporters, the NFL owners voted to pass a resolution approving settlement of the Brady v. NFL lawsuit, according to the NFL Network.

"The clubs approved an agreement that was negotiated with the players this afternoon," Commissioner Roger Goodell said at his press conference following the vote. "In addition to approving that agreement we also approved a supplemental revenue sharing system for the next 10 years (with no opt-out by either the owners or players during that time).

"With this ratification and with the ratification of the NFLPA board, we will be prepared to open training facilities beginning on this Saturday. We will then be prepared to start the new league year Wednesday, subject to the full membership of the players, ratifying the agreement and recertifying as a union."

So while the four-game preseason schedule and the subsequent regular season appear safe, the Hall of Fame Game in Canton, Ohio, has been cancelled.

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"Obviously, you know that we're all under a time constraint," Goodell said. "That's one of the reasons we worked to get this agreement completed tonight. We are unfortunately going to have to cancel the Hall of Fame Game this year. The time is just too short, and we feel it's important for all 32 teams to be operating with the same number of preseason games and also starting camp at the same date. … But the [Hall of Fame] ceremonies will go on."

NFL attorney Jeff Pash explained what will happen after the NFLPA ratifies.

"Once the ratification process has been completed, there would be a period where the players would come, you do their physicals, get your rosters in order," Pash said. 'Teams could begin signing their own players -- their draftees and the like -- with the contracts sort of being in a state of suspended animation.

"What would you have is an opening of the new league year perhaps on next Wednesday, July 27."

This means that the ball is now firmly in the players' court; the NFLPA has an 8:00 PM conference call scheduled.

"I just spoke to DeMaurice [Smith] 20 minutes ago," Goodell said. "He's going to go take care of his business."

In a sign of where things still stand, though, it's important to note that this does not mean everything's finished.

"To clarify: NFL Owners Ratify PROPOSAL to end LOCKOUT," NFLPA spokesman George Atallah tweeted during Goodell's announcement.

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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