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.

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

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

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 .
Posted on: March 2, 2011 6:36 pm

Owners meet, disband, don't say much

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

Though the NFL owners meeting that took place in Chantilly, Va., today has broken up, the 10 owners that make up the labor committee have begun another meeting with commissioner Roger Goodell.

We’re closing in on 24 hours before the CBA expires, and it doesn’t appear that anything will stop the lockout train that’s a comin’ down the tracks.

As the 22 remaining owners rushed to their vehicles to get out of town, a few briefly spoke with reporters, including those from the New York Post and NFL.com.

Said Colts owner (and Twitter enthusiast) Jim Irsay: “We're not announcing a lockout or anything like that as of tonight."

He also was asked if he expected a lockout to begin Thursday night: "I don't know. These things change. Don't want to make a prediction."

And this from Jets owner Woody Johnson: "I'm still optimistic and we've still got a few hours to go."

It sounds like the two sides will meet again Thursday, and the federal mediator could call the NFL owners and the NFLPA together tonight for another bargaining session.

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

Posted on: March 2, 2011 2:38 pm
Edited on: March 2, 2011 2:46 pm

Wednesday mediation goes 'better than expected'?

Posted by Will Brinson

Wednesday's mediation session between the NFL and the NFLPA -- which featured some bigger names than previous meetings -- has ended. And, reportedly, it wasn't THAT horrible apparently.

That's from a source of Sports Illustrated's Don Banks, who said that the talks went "better than expected."

Of course, that's a relative term, considering that less than 24 hours ago, the NFLPA was celebrating a tremendous victory in the TV rights case thanks to an overturned verdict from Judge David Doty.

Mediation is set to resume on Thursday (presumably the final day, because of the CBA's expiration at 11:59 PM EST on Thursday night) and the league has adjourned to Chantilly, Virginia for an owners meeting.

But as Clark Judge reports, the owners might not stay very long. (Read: not all of the owners, who were in mediation Wednesday, are planning to hang around for Thursday's action.)

That may not matter anyway though, because it's entirely possible, as our own Mike Freeman wrote earlier Wednesday, that a lockout and/or decertification is coming down the proverbial tracks, and there's nothing that can be done to stop it.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed.
Posted on: March 2, 2011 11:27 am
Edited on: March 2, 2011 11:34 am

Source: Decertification likely coming Thursday

Posted by Mike Freeman

Barring some sort of last-second miracle the NFL union will likely decertify sometime Thursday, according to a source familiar with the union's thinking.

Again, things could change but this news is the most concrete example of how fruitless the mediation talks have become. It's possible even if there is some sort of temporary extension of mediation the union will still likely decertify on Thursday.

So the lockout is coming. Decertification is coming. Unless the Easter Bunny works some magic with his chocolate candies and help from his unicorns and elves homies.

Decertification has certain risks but overall is a smart strategy for the union. It blocks owners from locking out players and moves the dispute from the realm of negotiations to the court system where players have had success. Owners could face lawsuits and treble damages if players are subsequently successful in court.

So that's where we are. For now. Hopefully things will change but this legal fight is just beginning.

This entry was cross-posted from Mike Freeman's FreeStyle blog. For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed.
Posted on: March 2, 2011 10:13 am
Edited on: March 2, 2011 2:39 pm

NFL/NFLPA exec committees in mediation Wednesday

Posted by Will Brinson

Wednesday's mediation session between the NFL and NFLPA has a different tone, just based on attendance -- the entire 10-man owner executive committee, including lead negotiators Jerry Richardson of the Panthers and Pat Bowlen of the Broncos, is in Washington.

Art Rooney of the Steelers, John Mara of the Giants, Jerry Jones of the Cowboys, Dean Spanos of the Chargers, Mike Brown from the Bengals, Robert Kraft from the Patriots and Mark Murphy, Packers CEO, are the additional members of the executive committee.

Also in Washington are players like Kevin Mawae, Drew Brees and Tony Richardson. All of that's to say that there's a significantly greater number of movers and shakers in D.C. for the next-to-last day of mediation.

Per usual, though, that doesn't necessarily mean much for those seeking optimistic news out of the mediated talks.

Per Daniel Kaplan of the Sports Business Journal, Jeff Pash, the VP of Labor for the NFL, told the media it was possible for the two sides to "stop the clock" on the expiring CBA and elect to extend the deadline for negotiations.

Pash also reiterated the league's statement that Tuesday's decision from Judge Doty doesn't affect their plans for spending at all (even though that's fairly difficult to believe, if only because $4 billion is a lot of money and taking it in or out of a budget typically makes a difference for anyone.)

But the end source for optimism for anyone rooting for no lockout is an extension of the CBA past the 11:59 deadline on Thursday night. And even that seems like too much to hope for right now.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl a> 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