Tag:NFL Lockout
Posted on: July 21, 2011 10:20 am
Edited on: July 21, 2011 10:27 am

Owners will likely vote on CBA today

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

ATLANTA -- As owners have nearly finished entering the Gateway Marriott hotel for today’s 10 a.m. meeting, the vibe of the owners and their team executives is that a vote to ratify the CBA will likely occur today.

Even if the players don’t vote themselves.

“I think so,” Katie Blackburn, Bengals executive vice president, told CBSSports.com and Cincinnati's WKRC-TV. “We’ll go in there and hear what they have to say. But there could be (a vote).”

It makes sense if the owners are to vote on the labor deal, if only to put the onus on the NFLPA to finish the deal and send the agreement to the Brady v NFL plaintiffs. And though the Bengals could very well vote no on the new CBA -- as owner Mike Brown did in 2006 -- it seems pretty clear that most of the owners will give their approval to the new deal.

“I’m neutral going in,” Blackburn said. “I’m going in there to see what happens.”

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Posted on: July 20, 2011 9:00 pm
Edited on: July 21, 2011 10:33 am

Podcast: Bomani Jones talks NFL lockout

Posted by Eye on Football Staff

Welcome to Groundhog Day: NFL Lockout Edition. We're 127 days into this thing, but we swear, the end is right around the corner. The players were set to vote on the new labor agreement Wednesday afternoon but having to sift through the "massive volume of information" slowed things down (as did this, apparently).

So while we wait, it's another Eye on Football podcast. Wednesday's guest: "The Morning Jones" host and frequent "Around the Horn" panelist, Bomani Jones, who stops by to talk about the latest lockout developments, James Harrison's racially-charged comments and Cam Newton's prospects to be a successful NFL quarterback.

Talking starts below; you can also listen to Bomani's show during the morning on Sirius/XM channel 158 or stream online at The Score's website.

Just hit the play button and don't forget to Subscribe via iTunes.

If you can't view the podcast, click here to download.

Posted on: July 20, 2011 7:38 pm
Edited on: July 20, 2011 7:47 pm

Is the UFL on the brink of collapse?

The UFL in action (Getty). Posted by Josh Katzowitz

When the lockout first began, the UFL naturally wanted to take advantage. After all, minor-league pro football is better than no pro football at all, right? And if that is the case, you can see why it would be smart of the UFL to try to create some new fans, especially if the NFL lockout lasted into the preseason or (gasp!) the 2011 season.

Except that’s not going to happen. 1. The NFL lockout, from all indications, is close to being over. 2. The UFL doesn’t have the financing to … um … well … you know … start the league schedule on time.

Those are two big problems, especially the latter, because it calls into question whether the UFL is a viable league heading into the future. On Tuesday, the commissioner of the UFL, Michael Huyghue, sent out a letter that reads in part:
Dear Fans,

Today we announced that the 2011 United Football League season will now kickoff in mid-September as opposed to August 13 as originally announced. At the conclusion of last season we announced that we would play in August because we believed then, and now, that playing in August provides a compelling opportunity for us to offer meaningful games during the NFL preseason. At the time we could not have predicted that the uncertainty of the NFL and NBA lockouts would create a destabilizing, negative impact throughout the professional sports industry.

The uncertainty that gripped pro sports delayed many essential business agreements until late in the offseason. In order to provide the product that UFL fans have grown to expect after two seasons we decided it was in the best interest of our fans, our players, our staff and our brand to push back kickoff. Our ownership group, our staff and the entire UFL family remains committed to providing a great 2011 season.

Players and coaches had arrived in our cities to prepare for the season. Many of them will now depart for a few weeks at league expense. We will announce a new training camp and season schedule shortly which will provide a timeline for their return. Some players and coaches will remain in our cities to help market their team.
Basically, the league doesn’t have enough money to play games right now.

I suppose it’s a positive sign that the players (like RB Bobby Rome and Joe Clermond, who’s trying to tackle him in the picture above) and coaches don’t have to find their own way home and that they’ll be reimbursed for their travel fares. Plus, to be fair, the league hasn’t started playing games until mid-September since it was established two years ago. But Las Vegas Locomotives coach Jim Fassel told Sporting News radio (via Pro Football Talk) that the UFL didn’t have a handle on how potential free agents would respond to the NFL lockout.

Jim Fassel said the UFL miscalculated what a lockout could mean (Getty).“We all thought that the NFL, with their issues, this would be an advantage for us,” Fassel said. “And it’s not. It’s confused a lot of issues, with players and everything else. We talk to players and it’s, ‘Well, I think I’ll sign with the NFL, and if I don’t, I’ll sign with your league.’”

Yet, doesn’t this snafu call into question the existence of the league this year (and forever)? Well, the National Football Post has obtained a letter from Randy Ball, the Locomotives director of player personnel, to player-agents that states the league WILL play this season.

But back to the commissioner’s letter. Blaming the NFL for the UFL’s shortcomings? I’m just not sure I buy that. What I do buy is that it’s nearly impossible for any other pro football league to compete with the NFL, no matter how it’s marketed (if it’s EXTREME! or an “NFL minor league” or “if Donald Trump says it can work”). Aside from the American Football League in the 1960s, it just doesn’t happen.

The UFL might survive this season and live to play another year. But long-term viability? Right now, it’s just hard to see how it’ll last.

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Posted on: July 20, 2011 4:17 pm
Edited on: July 20, 2011 5:41 pm

NFLPA votes conditionally on settlement agreement

Posted by Eye on Football Staff

Update (5:05): There are multiple outlets reporting that the players are leaving their meetings without voting today.

CBSSports.com's own Mike Freeman has learned this is because of the "massive volume of information" they're having to currently digest (mentally, of course) when looking over the settlement documents.

There is also a report from SI's Jim Trotter (since confirmed by the NFL Network's Albert Breer) where he cites sources who said that the players voted "conditionally" to "forward the settlement agreement to named plaintiffs." The conditions being that some outstanding issues be resolved before the vote is official.

In other words, the guys listed on Brady v. NFL -- Tom Brady, Vincent Jackson, Logan Mankins, Peyton Manning, Drew Brees -- will get a chance to review the settlement agreement and progress the settlement talks forward while the NFLPA continues to review the documents on hand.

All of this means it's possible -- and perhaps even likely -- that we see the owners and players vote on the CBA on the same day, Thursday. It also means if you had "Wednesday, July 20" in your office lockout pool, you just lost.

Earlier today, we told you about NFLPA president Kevin Mawae saying the association wouldn’t be tied to a deadline of July 21 to hold a vote on a new labor deal.

"Our timeline is to get the best deal for our players,” he said. “We're not going to agree to any deal unless it's the right deal for all the players."

Apparently, the players haven’t agreed that the proposed deal is, in fact, the right deal for them.

As the various reporters in Washington who are waiting for the NFLPA to finish their meeting (and maybe vote one way or the other) have spoken and tweeted, there has been no vote taken today.

And by the reports that some players, including Bengals T Andrew Whitworth, have left the building, it's unclear at this point whether the owners will have the chance to vote on ending the labor struggle at their meeting Thursday in Atlanta.

That’s not to say the deal won’t be passed by the NFLPA at some point soon. Hell, it's possible the vote still takes place today. It’s just taking a little bit longer than some thought it might.

Which, in this labor environment, is pretty much par for the course.

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Category: NFL
Posted on: July 20, 2011 12:01 am
Edited on: July 20, 2011 12:09 am

What should happen Wednesday and Thursday

Goodell, SmithPosted by Josh Katzowitz

After lawyers for the NFL and the NFLPA spent 13 hours together Tuesday in New York City finishing most of the final draft of the new potential CBA, as recounted by NFL.com’s Albert Breer, the next obvious question is: Will the players accept it?

Team representatives from all 32 teams and the NFLPA’s executive committee* are expected to meet Wednesday in Washington to discuss and possibly sign on to the new CBA, but Sports Illustrated’s Jim Trotter is hearing that ratification isn’t necessarily an easy step and that the players have “no plans to rubber stamp it.”

Writes Trotter: “Some reps are expecting a spirited debate … Some players feel they finally have leverage and they want to use it.”

*The executive committee, though, won’t make a decision Tuesday night on if it will recommend the CBA to the players.

If the players do approve it by Wednesday, sending it to the plaintiffs of the Brady v NFL case (the plaintiffs also would have to approve it), the owners could vote to pass it at their meeting Thursday in Atlanta.

Assuming that passes, the lockout then would be over, and teams could begin preparing for what promises to be a quick free-agency period.

But for now, we still have a ways to go before that happens. And if the players WERE to vote against the new CBA, it’s hard to comprehend how disappointing that decision would be.

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Category: NFL
Posted on: July 19, 2011 9:08 pm
Edited on: July 19, 2011 11:51 pm

What will the Brady v NFL plaintiffs receive?

BreesPosted by Josh Katzowitz

We’ve written the past day or two about the labor negotiations from the perspective of the plaintiffs in the Brady v NFL case and what they might want individually in return for settling the lawsuit against the league.

For example, Patriots G Logan Mankins and Chargers WR Vincent Jackson apparently are asking for $10 million apiece. Which naturally led to Vikings P Chris Kluwe calling the two of them, plus Saints QB Drew Brees and Colts QB Peyton Manning, “douchebags” on his Twitter account Tuesday.

The reason for Kluwe’s ire against Brees and Manning? The reports that they want a lifetime exemption from the franchise tagging system.

Brees, on his Twitter account, said to be wary of media reports on this subject, writing, "All media claims about me wanting a personal reward for this deal are false. I hope you all know me better than that." The Boston Globe’s Greg Bedard tweeted that Brees, Manning and Jackson have softened their stances in regards to individual lawsuit compensation.

Meanwhile, it seems like Jackson is willing to return to the Chargers and sign the $11 million franchise tag for 2011 (if there actually is a tag system in the new CBA), according to The San Diego Union-Tribune. Still, he’d (obviously) like a long-term contract and not the one-year tag money, but this way, I don’t see how Kluwe could be mad at him.

UPDATE 11:41 P.M. ET: According to the Boston Globe, the NFLPA's executive committee will recommend that the plaintiffs receive no special considerations as part of the lockout's end.

Writes Ron Borges: "It was determined it would be too cumbersome to try and work out individual deals. Since the bulk of plaintiffs were well-placed NFL veterans, the best way to go, it was decided, was to stick simply with the larger deal negotiated between the NFLPA and the league’s owners."

As far as "well-placed NFL veterans" go, I imagine Broncos rookie LB Von Miller would beg to differ on that point.

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Posted on: July 19, 2011 4:42 pm
Edited on: July 19, 2011 4:48 pm

NFL Lockout: The Movie

Casting by Will Brinson, poster art by Ryan Wilson

We're more than four months into the lockout, which means, save the draft, more than four months without much to talk about, whether it be free agency, trades or the impending training camp battles.

So we've resorted to making stuff up. That's right, we've put our heads together for "LOCKOUT," an original motion picture* brought to you by the crack staff of the Eye on Football blog.

It has everything you've come to expect from a taut modern-day thriller ... save a few minor details. For example, there are no sympathetic figures, no strapping young male lead, no bombshell love interest and no clear storyline beyond "We want more money!" Other than that, we liken it to a cross between the Bourne vehicles and anything from the Coen brothers.
Okay, we've laid it on way too thick (we're blaming it on lockout fever; it was only a matter of time before we completely lost our minds). Conveniently ignoring that, we suspect that you may have your own thoughts about which actor should have been cast to portray the real-life lockout figures below. Consider this your chance to be a pretend casting director -- give us your suggestions in the comments. If nothing else, it'll take your mind off the fact that we're 126 days without football.  

You're welcome. (Click on the image to the right and the one below to make them bigger. Trust us, it's worth it.)

* This isn't quite true. The movie isn't scheduled for production and, in fact, we haven't even secured the funding for this film. To tell the truth, we're only as far as the make-believe casting and the movie poster. But you already knew that.

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Posted on: July 19, 2011 4:12 pm
Edited on: July 20, 2011 8:12 am

Vikings punter calls 4 named plaintiffs greedy

Posted by Ryan Wilson

This morning we noted that, as two of the 10 plaintiffs in the Brady v. the NFL case, Vincent Jackson and Logan Mankins could each ask for $10 million in compensation. At the time, the thinking was that the other plaintiffs wouldn't seek similarly high payouts because they either weren't in position to (free agents, already under contract, retired, etc.) or, as elite quarterbacks, already had all the leverage they needed.

Turns out, Peyton Manning and Drew Brees are also looking for settlements of their own. CBSSports.com's Mike Freeman writes that "Multiple sources say that Manning, one of the named plaintiffs, wants immediate free agency in order to settle the lawsuit. Those sources also say Brees wants to be a free agent next year. The sources say lawyers for the NFLPA have asked NFL owners for those two things in addition to the reported demands from Mankins and Jackson."

So, yeah, tying a nice little bow on a new collective bargaining agreement doesn't seem as close as it did just a few hours ago. That said, Freeman is confident a deal will get done this week.

So while all hope isn't lost, Viking punter Chris Kluwe is wholly unimpressed with the news that four of the 10 named plaintiffs (who, by the way, are supposed to be representing the other 1,896 NFL players) appear to be cutting their own deals. So, naturally, Kluwe took to Twitter to voice his displeasure.

That doesn't leave much room for interpretation. The problem, of course, is that, as Freeman pointed out this morning, a new CBA can't be agreed upon unless all the plaintiffs settle the case.

That's much easier when some of them aren't looking out just for themselves.

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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