Tag:Roger Goodell
Posted on: February 13, 2011 10:25 pm

Report: NFL, NFLPA to meet on CBA next week

Posted by Will Brinson

The close of the first NFL-less Sunday featured a Tim Tebow lookalike and a brief appearance by Clay Matthews, but overall, it was pretty depressing. News on the CBA front wasn't great and there's a growing possibility that players could boycott the Combine.

So here's a nice piece of news: the NFL and NFLPA are reportedly going to get back to the table in the coming week (though, sadly, it doesn't look like a deal can get done by Valentine's Day).

That's according to ESPN, who reports that "dialogue has continued" between the two sides even though they walked away from the bargaining table after what amounts to an ill-timed miscommunication. (The NFLPA reportedly mislabeled something as a "proposal" even though it wasn't an "official proposal" and the NFL walked away; there's blame to hand out for that on both sides, but don't bring something called a "proposal" to a negotiating session if it's not, you know, a "proposal.")

That continued dialogue has led to what is a reported meeting some time in the coming week -- a source from the players' side first provided that information and "a management source" didn't refute it.

But meetings aside, there's still a growing sense of negativity towards the talks; it appears that the leaking of information from DeMaurice Smith to the entirety of the NFL's on-field workforce (and subsequently, the media), didn't go over well. But neither did the NFL's decision to throw out a full-on low ball with their rookie wage scale offer.

So there's reason to be terrified about the 2011 season, for sure. But if the two sides can go ahead and get back to the table to talk as soon as this week, that's at least better than an ongoing public feud leading up to the lockout.

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Posted on: February 10, 2011 3:00 pm
Edited on: February 10, 2011 5:01 pm

What caused the NFL and NFLPA to walk out?

Posted by Will Brinson

Great question -- and no one can know the answer until either Roger Goodell/Greg Aiello or DeMaurice Smith/George Atallah let the world know, which they probably won't, because it would be disastrous for negotiations.

However, there are several reports out there that indicate various proposals were made to the NFL by the NFLPA, and those caused a breakdown in talks.

First up, the NFPA, according to Chris Mortensen of ESPN, offered to split of "all revenue" 50/50 with the league. (Important to note here is that there's a difference in what's recognized as "all revenue" and "total revenue" -- it's like "gross" versus "net" and net/total is achieved, right now, by the owners taking a $1 billion credit off the top.)

Reportedly, the union told the owners they'd stop asking to look inside the owners' financial books if the owners agreed to simply split "all revenue," which would mean no more $1 billion credit off the top, and certainly no $2 billion credit that the owners are seeking under a new CBA.

Needless to say, this could be perceived as a very good reason why negotiations broke down.

But there were also, according to Andrew Brandt of the National Football Post, significant discrepancies in other areas. Namely, the rookie wage scale and length of rookie contracts.

Brandt reports that the proposal on the rookie from the NFLPA limited rookie contracts to four years for players drafted in rounds 1-3, three years for rounds 4-7 and had a cap on incentives and savings to veterans. He also notes this was formally rejected by the NFL this week, as the league wants a wage scale, no negotiations, five-year contracts for players taken in the first round and four-year contracts for those taken in every other round.

Making matters worse, per Liz Mullen of the Sports Business Journal, is the union's interpretation of the rookie wage scale proposed by ownership -- according to Mullen, a memo from DeMaurice Smith called the proposal a "veteran wage scale" because it affects "60 percent" of NFL players in the league with its length.

Mark Maske of the Washington Post obtained a copy of that memo -- in it, Smith tells players that "what is new [in the NFL's proposal] mostly makes the proposal worse not only for rookies but for veteran players with three to five years in the league -- the core of our membership."

The memo also refers to the wage scale as "rigid" and indicates it would "destroy the benefits of free agency for most veteran players." Maske notes that Smith's memo lays out the NFL's proposal for precise financial compensation, setting the rookie minimum salary at: $285,000 in 2011, $375,000 in 2012, $460,000 in 2013 and $545,000 in 2013.

To clarify the stark difference in what each side wants, here's a financial example: with the NFLPA proposal, the ninth-overall pick would receive $18 million over four years. Under the NFL proposal, the ninth-overall pick would receive $8.6 million over five years.

Labor negotiations are ridiculously complicated, but you don't have to be a math major to figure out just how far apart the two sides are right now. And the fact that the rookie wage scale won't be fully addressed until the division of the full "pie" (read: all and/or total revenue) is solved is further proof that there's plenty of labor discussion and hand-wringing over the NFL's situation ahead.

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Posted on: February 10, 2011 9:22 am
Edited on: February 10, 2011 9:43 am

Report: Thursday CBA meeting cancelled

Posted by Will Brinson

During the Super Bowl, the NFL and NFLPA scheduled some "intensive" meetings for this week. Now, Thursday's meeting -- the second of the week -- has reportedly been cancelled.

That's according to ESPN's Adam Schefter who reports that things went so poorly on Wednesday that the two sides decided not to meet again Thursday.

"We are not confirming, denying or commenting on CBA meetings at this point," NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said in response to the report. "We are focusing on getting an agreement."

As if that weren't damaging enough to the potential for actually seeing football in 2011, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk reports that next week's ownership meeting has been cancelled as well.

The assumption of his source -- and it seems like a good one -- is that Roger Goodell has no need to meet with the owners as there won't have been any new developments in the CBA discussions thanks to the cancellation of the meetings.

"The commissioner canceled the meeting because he did not see a need for it right now," an NFL rep confirmed to Daniel Kaplan of the Sports Business Journal.

But why was Thursday's CBA session cancelled? Well, that's not exactly clear.

Theoretically, it could have been cancelled for good reasons -- too much progress? -- but when two sides walk away from the negotiating table, it's typically not good news.

And it seems more likely that the sides are far apart, and that whatever sense of urgency to negotiate that the week in Dallas brought on has since been discarded as they stare into the future and try to bridge a very long gap.

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Posted on: February 9, 2011 9:25 pm

Report: Thursday's bargaining session canceled

Roger Goodell and DeMaurice Smith. Posted by Josh Katzowitz

Late last week, we got word that the NFL and the NFLPA would hold two bargaining sessions this week (following another session last Saturday), and obviously, most of us felt that was a reason for optimism. Considering the March 3 finale of the current CBA is drawing nigh, the more bargaining sessions the better.

Which makes the report tonight from NFL.com’s Jason La Canfora rather disappointing. According to La Canfora, a second day of negotiations between both sides has been canceled.

The owners and the union met for an extended time today and then decided to bag Thursday’s session. As La Canfora points out, the cancelation isn’t necessarily unusual in labor negotiations like this. But still, it’s probably not a great result.

More from La Canfora:

In an interview with "Fox News Sunday" that aired the morning of Super Bowl XLV, Goodell called drug testing a key issue in labor talks. …

Outlining major sticking points, Goodell talked about revenue division, rookie salaries and benefits for retired players.

"We want to continue on with the integrity of the game, which is my No. 1 issue," Goodell said, adding the league wants to make sure "we have the best drug program in sports."

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Category: NFL
Posted on: February 7, 2011 10:07 pm

Goodell, Jerry Jones get their say

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

I’ve been asked over and over again how the NFL and Cowboys Stadium possibly could not have had all the Super Bowl XLV seats set up for the game. The answer: I don’t know why, but I know it was a major screw-up.

Will covered the story pretty extensively today, but let me add in the statements released by Dallas owner Jerry Jones and an important question asked to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell at his news conference today.

From Goodell on why the seats were not set up in time: “We are going to do a thorough review of that. We don’t have all the answers to that, but it was obviously a failure on our behalf and we have to take responsibility for that.”

Goodell also said all the blame should be heaped on the NFL and not on Jones.

And Jones’ partial statement:

Cowboys Stadium was designed with the versatility to be fully capable accommodating the number of seats that were scheduled to be in place for Super Bowl XLV. The stadium configuration was part of the Host Committee bid that was approved by the NFL owners in 2007. The NFL, the Host Committee, the Cowboys, and the City of Arlington worked closely to ensure as safe and as enjoyable experience for as many fans as possible.

The incomplete installation of temporary seats left a limited number of sections unusable for yesterday's game. Manpower and timing issues caused inconveniences to some fans. At the end of the preparations, approximately 400 fans attending the game were not able to watch from those installed. We deeply regret their Super Bowl experience was impacted by this error, and we share that responsibility with the NFL.

We will also continue to work closely with the NFL in its complete review of Super Bowl XLV.

At the end of the day, the game on the field, and the stadium where it was played, exceeded the high level of expectation that the Super Bowl presents. It was a great game in a great venue, and it was an experience that will begin the process of bringing future Super Bowls to North Texas.

Our region displayed the type of tremendous commitment of resources, services, enthusiasm, and hospitality that validates our community as a most worthy home to this wonderful event in the years to come.

Our collective goals all along were to ensure that more than 103,000 people would be able to have an enjoyable game day experience on Super Bowl Sunday while also being a part of an event that ultimately produced the largest television audience for any program ever.

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Posted on: February 4, 2011 3:35 pm

Goodell makes his points

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

DALLAS – Expectations were not high that there would be any kind of new news emerging from commissioner Roger Goodell’s press conference today.

The questions were on point – a high number of labor negotiation questions (including one from Bengals WR Chad Ochocinco), a few regarding player safety and a couple about a potential new team in Los Angeles – but Goodell was masterful in his responses.

Basically, he didn’t say much of anything, minus the same talking points we continue to hear, especially regarding the upcoming lockout (which he refused to call a “lockout”) and other CBA negotiations.

He hammered NFLPA president Kevin Mawae’s previous quote about how the 2006 CBA signing was a great deal for the players, and whenever anybody asked about potential declining revenues for the players based off the last labor agreement, he went back to Mawae’s statement to make his point.

Goodell continued his line that the next few weeks were a window of opportunity. March 3, the final day of the current CBA, also is important, because once that day passes, Goodell said it’s going to be tougher to make a deal.

Other highlights from the presser:

- Despite a recent Associated Press poll that a majority of fans did not want an 18-game schedule, the owners still are adamant about dropping two preseason games in exchange for two regular-season games.

Goodell said he’s talked to numerous fans who feel that preseason games fall below the NFL standards, and since switching out preseason games for regular-season games keeps in place the 20-game schedule, that's the owners goal.

- He described the call of the NFLPA for the owners to open their financial books as a negotiating ploy. He and the owners have said all along that the union has all the relevant financial information it needs in order for the two sides to negotiate a new deal.

- A San Diego reporter asked Goodell about the eventuality of the Chargers moving to L.A. Goodell responded that the NFL wanted to keep all of its teams where they are. But he also said getting a naming rights deal to a potential new stadium in L.A. was a good first step for football returning to that city.

 - Also, in an interview on NFL Network after his presser, Goodell said the owners and union have agreed to two days of negotiating next week.

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Posted on: February 2, 2011 9:04 pm

NFL Alumni wants to be heard

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

DALLAS – George Martin, the executive director and president of the NFL Alumni, had made his speech this afternoon and had highlighted his points in front of a small gathering of NFL media and former players during a news conference.

Before he took questions, though, he pointed toward the video screen in a third-floor ballroom at the Sheraton-Dallas Convention Center.

Up popped a video of coaching and playing legend Mike Ditka – who’s been an outspoken critic of how the current NFL establishment treats the players who competed 40, 50 and 60 years ago.

Ditka – who seemingly can inspire the person listening to him to do something or anything in any setting – punctuated his interview with this: “The pension is not fair. Period.”

And from there, some of the former players in attendance – Pro Football HOFer Mike Haynes, Carl Mauck and Tom Nowatzke were a few of them – perked up, and the rest of the NFL Alumni got into the rhythm of the presser.

Nowatzke was nearly moved to tears and had to compose himself when talking about a former colleague who died after his brain had turned to “mush” from taking so many hits during his playing days. Mauck exclaimed, “We are not going away. When one of us dies, we’re going to pick up the baton and keep trucking.” And Martin discussed how Ditka receives no health care from the NFL and remarked, “That, to me, is telling. That, to me, is troublesome. That, to me, must change. … If not now, when?"

The wishlist for Martin and the NFL Alumni includes an increase in pension benefits and long-term health care for its former players. And he wants to continue drawing attention to his group, particularly when commissioner Roger Goodell and NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith are not talking about issues that affect the NFL Alumni.

That’s why he’s sending a GPS device to Smith and Goodell with the address of the NFL Alumni’s office preprogrammed into it. Sure, it’s a stunt, but Martin also is trying to send a message.

“Anytime they want to add us to the discussion, they know where to find us,” Martin said. “Or call us, and we’ll be there.”

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Posted on: January 31, 2011 5:11 pm
Edited on: January 31, 2011 5:31 pm

NFL and NFLPA intensify negotiations in Dallas

Posted by Will Brinson

DALLAS -- The only thing more ominous than the weather in Dallas is the looming threat of an NFL lockout -- there's a little sliver of light on the horizon though, because the NFL and NFLPA announced on Monday afternoon their intention to ramp up negotiations for a new collective bargaining agreement.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith released a joint statement Monday after meeting in New York earlier in the day.

"As part of a process to intensify negotiations, they agreed to hold a formal bargaining session w\both negotiating teams Sat in Dallas," the statement from spokesman Greg Aiello read. "They also agreed to a series of meetings over the next few weeks, both formal bargaining sessions & smaller group meetings, in an effort to reach a new agreement by early March."

The skeptic could ask: "What took so long?"

And while much of the discussion heretofore has been pointless public rhetoric aimed at swinging the PR pendulum in the favor of one side or the other, a private meeting between Goodell and Smith, followed by a joint statement means good things for fans of football.

Does it mean that a labor deal will be done by the Super Bowl? Um, no.

Does it mean that a labor deal will be done by the early March deadline? That's optimistic, but it's certainly a possibility.

The reality is, there's no precise timetable for when the labor deal will get done and things could still come down to the wire. But right now, that's beside the point, because the NFL and the NFLPA are doing the most important thing here by sitting down at the table and talking.

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