Tag:DeMaurice Smith
Posted on: July 24, 2011 9:38 am
Edited on: July 25, 2011 9:38 am
 

NFL Lockout almost over, CBA finished

Smith, GoodellPosted by Josh Katzowitz

The labor deal -- and the path to NFL football in 2011 -- is finally, truly done. Well, almost.

That’s the report from CBSSports.com’s own Mike Freeman, who writes that the owners and players have agreed to a new CBA.

"It's done," one player source told Freeman. "We have an agreement. Now we just have to vote."

[More from Mike Freeman: Lockout updates]

Now, the majority of the players (50 percent, plus one) have to agree to the deal in order to end the lockout for good. Players will fly into Washington on Sunday in order to go over last-minute details. They’re then expected to vote Monday, and a news conference should occur shortly thereafter.

According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, once the deal is ratified, free agency and training camp likely will begin on the same day.

Saturday was a huge day in moving along negotiations, and NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith and NFL commissioner Roger Goodell reportedly worked hard together to make sure there wasn’t any additional trouble between the two sides.

On Monday, the NFLPA executive committee will meet in Washington, and it’ll pass along its recommendations to the players -- to ratify the new CBA AND to reform the NFLPA as a union -- who will have to sign off on both deals in order to begin the new league year.

The plaintiffs in the Brady v NFL case (including Chargers WR Vincent Jackson, who reportedly dropped his demand to be paid $10 million or be exempt from the franchise tag) would then have to consent to the deal, and the lawsuit -- and any other judicial matters between the two sides -- would be kaput.

And most importantly, we’d have football again.

UPDATED (11:46 a.m. ET): Freeman is reporting that the new league year can't start until the fifth day after the CBA is ratified and signed, and training camps couldn't start until two days after that. So, we still have a little time before the players officially get back to work.

UPDATED (12:29 p.m. ET): If you wanted a small dash of cold water on your red-hot "LOCKOUT IS ALMOST OVER" news, the Associated Press provides it for you. In its small story about the NFLPA executive committee meeting Monday, the AP cites sources that it's not certain whether a vote will be held to recommend the deal. So, keep that in mind before you start partying too hard tonight.

UPDATED (1:15 p.m. ET): While CBSSports.com's Clark Judge reports that the NFLPA is still trying to tweak the opt-out clause in the new CBA (or the fact there is no opt-out clause), he also writes that it's not a deal-breaker. Probably because it'll be a hard sell to the owners -- who, you'll recall, opted out of the last CBA. The players would like to get an opt-out clause after the eighth year of the 10-year CBA.

UPDATED (1:19 p.m. ET): Freeman writes that team facilities will be open to players from when the new CBA is signed until training camp begins. Which is not unexpected, but probably necessary.

UPDATED (9:22 p.m. ET): Jason LaCanfora of NFL.com writes that Saints QB Drew Brees has sent an e-mail to teammates saying it's "expected" that the new CBA deal will be signed Monday. But Brees also, not surprisingly, hedged his bets, writing that the final ratification could come Tuesday or Wednesday as well.

Brees also writes that free agency could start as early as Friday. Saints training camp, says Brees, would open July 31 with a 2 p.m. meeting.

UPDATED (9:37 a.m. ET, Monday): NFL owners and players agreed early Monday to the terms of a deal to end the lockout, and players were expected to begin the voting process later in the day, two people familiar with the negotiations told The Associated Press.

The NFLPA executive committee is expected to meet Monday and vote on the final agreement around 11:00 a.m. ET.

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Posted on: July 23, 2011 7:04 pm
Edited on: July 23, 2011 8:47 pm
 

Signs pointing to Monday presser for new CBA?

Posted by Ryan Wilson

One source told CBSSports.com's Mike Freeman on Saturday that so much progress was made in negotiations between owners and players that a deal was near. The source also thought a vote on a new collective bargaining agreement might come in the next 24-48 hours.

"So close that the executive committee might vote as soon as Sunday," Freeman writes, "though the player source felt Monday was more likely."

Either way, we'll take it. We've gone more than four months without football and at this point anything short of "SEASON CANCELED" is encouraging news.

Perhaps more evidence that the end is near: ESPN's Chris Mortensen reported via Twitter that NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith and NFL commissioner Roger Goodell "have worked directly to assure that nothing goes off path. Exec committee called this a.m. Expect presser Monday."

Mortensen added that Smith and Goodell are "working directly on couple finishing details but [the] trust is there. … In fact, Goodell may be invited to [the Monday] presser."

Given all the false starts in recent days, we'd understand your skepticism. NFL Network's Albert Breer isn't yet willing to commit to a Monday press conference, instead opting for "standby mode."

"NFLPA currently has its executive committee and player reps on standby for Monday," he tweeted Saturday afternoon. "If things keep going well, likely exec comm comes to DC."

PFT's Greg Rosenthal also is trying to keep things in perspective. "We’ve learned to that a deal isn’t done until it’s done, so we’re tempering our optimism slightly."

Meanwhile, we can only imagine that ESPN's Adam Schefter is taking perverse pleasure in stirring the pot. Here is the entirety of his tweet from Saturday afternoon.



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Posted on: July 23, 2011 12:18 pm
Edited on: July 23, 2011 12:45 pm
 

Bengals TE says 'people have started to cool off'

Posted by Ryan Wilson

When Roger Goodell announced during a Thursday press conference that the owners had voted 31-0 on a proposed settlement to end the lockout, the jubilation -- and the sense of relief that accompanied it -- was palpable. It was also fleeting.

In the hours after Goodell's announcement, many players said they felt blindsided. Some called the owners "arrogant" and their proposal a "power play." Still, there was optimism that the lockout wouldn't drag on much longer.

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

Bengals tight end Reggie Kelly, an alternate player representative, sounded equally upbeat, though he recognized that players were initially concerned.

"I think guys at first were angry [Thursday] because the first time we heard about the proposal was on TV when they voted on it," said Kelly, according to the Cincinnati Enquirer's Joe Reedy. "You need to negotiate and do it the right way.

"People have started to cool off. It's not about egos and personal feelings. It's a business. All in all it's going to work out and we're going to be ready to play."

In related Bengals-lockout news, the organization emailed season-ticket holders Thursday announcing that the lockout was over. We applaud the the team's confidence, although its credibility takes a hit when you read sentences like this: "This year — like others before it — we will focus our energies on returning to the Super Bowl again."

Shutdown Corner's Doug Farrar sums it up nicely. "The fact that the Bengals' organization (long known as one of the league's most parsimonious and least competent, though we certainly don't include Marvin Lewis in that equation) is out there with this one will just provide a bit of comic relief in what has been a very arduous and unnecessarily dramatic process."

So, yes, thanks again for the laughs, Cincinnati.

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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.

Latest on Lockout

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 22, 2011 12:24 pm
Edited on: July 22, 2011 12:38 pm
 

Pash: HGH testing is coming, players support it

Posted by Ryan Wilson

There may not yet be an agreement between the owners and players on a new collective bargaining agreement, but NFL attorney Jeff Pash says that the league not only plans to institute random blood testing for human growth hormone during the 2011 season, but that the NFLPA fully supports it.

"We expect that we will have testing for HGH," Pash told the New York Daily News. "I think that both sides believe that's important for the integrity of the game and that we should continue to be leaders here. I think that's a view that's strongly held by the players as it by us.

"How soon can it happen?" Pash asked. "Some issues needed to be worked out. It will take some time to get that ramped up, but we would hope that it could be ramped up by the start of the season."

In the past, players have opposed blood tests. Former NFLPA executive director Gene Upshaw said in 2006 that "It is invasive, and too many things can go wrong with this … You can call me back and tell me where you have a reliable test. A urine test. Then we'll have something to talk about. I'm not interested in turning my players into pin cushions."

And former NFL tight end Mark Breuner, during a 2010 interview with the Washington Postcalled the process "extremely invasive ... We have one of the most aggressive, productive drug-testing policies in all of sports. To go to that extreme, I'm not sure that's good for the health of an athlete."

Latest on Lockout

Pash was asked if he believes HGH is widespread among NFL players. "I'm not saying it is rampant in the league," he told the Daily News. "But what I am saying is we should be leaders in ensuring and doing everything we can to promote the integrity of the game and the health of the players, and they agree with that and we agree with that."

In March, FoxSports.com's Alex Marvez reported that Dr. Gary Wadler, who has worked closely with both the World Anti-Doping Agency and White House Office of Natural Drug Control Policy, applauded the NFL's decision to make HGH testing mandatory as part of its labor proposal to the NFLPA. Wadler also said any protests from athletes about the blood work required to conduct the test "border on the nonsensical."

"I'd be very disappointed if the NFL does not get in lock with the rest of the world -- and this goes for (Major League) baseball as well -- and employ blood testing," Wadler said at the time. "Any concerns the athletes have of a needle ... It's almost comical to think a 300-pound athlete is afraid of a little needle prick."

It appears that the NFLPA will not vote Friday on the new CBA, which means we'll have to wait at least one more day to find if, as Pash suggests, the players are on board with random blood tests for HGH.


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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.

Latest on Lockout

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