Posted on: March 14, 2011 2:06 pm
Edited on: March 14, 2011 2:16 pm

NFLPA, owners battle each other and for you

Posted by Mike Freeman

There is the battle in the court between the players and owners and then there is another battle.

The other battle is the battle for you, the fan.

As both sides prepare for court fights they are simultaneously fighting to win a PR war.

Since the lockout, the NFL has sent numerous releases to many in the media. Some are statements from owners like Art Rooney II expressing their disappointment in the union. Others are announcements about high-powered additions to their legal team.

Cincinnati owner Mike Brown told the Cincinnati Enquirer that all the players cared about was the money. Then, president of the San Diego Chargers, Dean Spanos, released a statement accusing DeMaurice Smith of not negotiating in good faith. The Kansas City Chiefs added their own statement as well. The Broncos said they're willing to open their books.

The league also announced that Roger Goodell was slashing his salary to $1. It's doubtful the NFL commissioner, however, will need to borrow a few duckets to put food on the table.

All of the statements basically have the same purpose which is to blame the players for the current labor crisis.
NFL Lockout
The player's association re-released its own statements immediately following their decertification. My guess: the players saw what the owners said and wanted to, again, make the position known that the owners are lying.

Both sides are clearly fighting for control of you. Your mind. Your opinion.

But the players won't stay silent for long. It's only a matter of time before they begin to counter what the league is saying.
And the battle continues...

This post is 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 14, 2011 1:10 pm
Edited on: March 14, 2011 1:58 pm

NFL's PR takes another hit

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

If you want to hear the opinion of one former player who was involved in the bargaining about why last week’s negotiations failed, here’s an interesting take, as recounted by Comcast Sports Net’s Tom E. Curran.

In effect, according to Pete Kendall, it was a combination of owners’ greed and what seems like a ludicrously low-ball offer to the players that appears rather insulting.

Make sure to click the link for the full low-down, but here’s my favorite passage.

(Kendall) said, to boil it down, the owners wanted to pocket 100 percent of the money any time they exceeded the league's projected revenue.

And the owners were trying to project the revenue at artificially low levels. …

If the owners "pegged" revenue for $10 billion in a season and then exceeded that projection, they wanted all the money to go into their pockets. The players were willing to give them the first 1.5 percent free and clear (in the $10 billion case, $150 million). After that, they wanted a 50-50 split.

Score another win for the owners in the PR battle.*

*This, of course, being sarcasm.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed .
Category: NFL
Posted on: March 14, 2011 10:20 am
Edited on: March 14, 2011 12:44 pm

Once again, Doty not on lockout case

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

UPDATED (12:40 p.m.): Multiple outlets are reporting that a motion for preliminary injuction in the Brady v NFL case will be heard at 9:30 a.m. April 6 in front of Judge Susan "Not David Doty" Nelson.

That's a scant 23 days from now. Which is decidedly not awesome.


There’s been plenty of talk recently about Judge David Doty and about how much the owners, well, would like to see him nowhere near the litigation that will emanate from the NFLPA’s decision to decertify and the owners’ decision to lock out the players.

It must have been a relief to the owners, then, when Judge Richard H. Kyle originally was assigned the Brady v NFL case. But when Kyle recused himself from the case because of a personal conflict with one of the firms involved, there was a chance Doty would take over the case after all.

NFL Labor
Even though the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Minnesota told Will Brinson that Doty doesn’t hear many cases any more because of his “senior status,” the Kyle recusal must have accelerated the owners’ heartbeat.

Not to worry, though.

According to Daniel Kaplan of the Sports Business Journal, the case has been assigned to Judge Susan Nelson and not Doty.

As Kaplan writes, the NFLPA surely will file a motion to move the case to Doty’s courtroom, but for now, the owners can savor a minor victory in the case that very well could determine the outcome of this lockout.

In this case, the uncertainty of Nelson has to be better for the owners than the expected outcome of what Doty would do.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed .
Category: NFL
Posted on: March 14, 2011 8:51 am
Edited on: March 14, 2011 8:59 am

Report: GMs must keep log of agent conversations

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

NFL Labor
We’ve already described how the official NFL lockout takes us back in time to a place where the agents can roam wherever and however they want (we’ve referred to it as the wild, wild West, because we’re all huge Escape Club fans) . Perhaps realizing that, the NFL is requiring the club’s general managers to keep a written log every time they talk to an agent.

That’s the report from Foxsports.com’s Alex Marvez, who also writes that the only time a GM and an agent can talk is when discussing a college prospect for this year’s draft or if they’re discussing personal business (ie. an agent who represents a GM or a head coach can, you know, actually talk to and advise them).

But talking about impending free agents and current players is a no go.

Even with the lockout, you might think that there would be some contact between agents and club management (and players and their teams), simply because it’s hard to imagine that every single player and every single team and every single agent would completely abide by every single lockout rule (especially if we assume that there will be at least some games played in 2011).

But considering the report from Andy on Sunday that contact with players could be a fireable offense and this report that GMs have to note every time they talk to an agent (I suppose, some discussions could “accidently” slip a GM’s mind but these new rules make that a little less likely), the NFL is trying their best to make sure no one crosses that line in the sand.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed .
Category: NFL
Tags: Lockout
Posted on: March 14, 2011 12:03 am

Contact with players could be fireable offense

Posted by Andy Benoit

With the NFL officially locked out, all coaches and team employees are forbidden from having any contact with players. This is obviously problematic for teams with new coaching staffs or young quarterbacks (or, in some cases, both). And it throws a wrench in offseason rehab for injured players.

Some outsider observers have suggested that the no contact policy will be skirted around, much like how teams skirt around tampering rules in the days leading up to free agency. After all, how can the league monitor who team employees call, email, text or bump into on the street? Impossible – or, at least, impossible to do thoroughly.

Thus, the NFL could instead make the punishment for this soft form of treason significantly harsh. If enforcing the law is undoable, make the deterrent for breaking the law unbearable.

Darin Gantt of the Charlotte Observer says, “One agent who represents a Panthers coach said they were told that contact was reason for firing with cause.”

Lower level employees are the ones who need to be on their toes. Head coaches or general managers might get scolded behind the scenes if caught communicating with players, but you’re not going to see a powerful leader get canned for such an offense.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed.
Category: NFL
Posted on: March 13, 2011 6:17 pm

Could lockout help veteran quarterbacks?

Posted by Andy Benoit

If there is an extended lockout that winds up wiping out the offseason, veteran quarterbacks are going to become extremely valuable. Teams with needs at the position would be looking for guys who could step in and play right away.
M. Hasselbeck (US Presswire)
Obviously, this concept would seemingly make re-signing Matt Hasselbeck an even greater priority for the Seahawks. But should the 35-year-old not return to the Pacific Northwest, Jim Wyatt of the Tennessean believes he could land in Nashville.

I have no doubt Matt Hasselbeck is one name on the Titans’ radar,” Wyatt writes. “The long-time Seahawks quarterback, scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent, has ties to a Titans front office that includes GM Mike Reinfeldt, VP of Player Personnel Ruston Webster and Director of Pro Scouting Lake Dawson.”

Wyatt makes clear that Carson Palmer is at the top of Tennessee’s wish list, and that other available quarterbacks with less mileage than Hasselbeck (namely Kyle Orton and Kevin Kolb) could be in the mix.

This segues into a larger issue: how valuable will veteran quarterbacks be if there is no offseason?

Free agency will likely open up before the lockout concludes. Thus, teams will have to make their decisions based in part on predictions about when a new CBA will be reached. If the hunch is that a deal won’t be reached until late August or September, look for veteran quarterbacks with on-field playing experience to command more than their normal market value.

NFL Labor
Given the experience factor, a longtime starter like Hasselbeck would be more valuable than a young quasi-starter like Kolb. But perhaps more valuable than Hasselbeck would be a more traveled starter like Orton. Think about it: Hasselbeck has spent virtually his entire career in a West Coast offense. Orton learned multiple offenses in Chicago and Denver. He’d likely have an easier time picking up a new system on the fly.

The most interesting quarterback case to follow this offseason could be Donovan McNabb. He’s an experienced veteran with a stacked resume. Yet, the reason he’ll likely be available is because the Redskins didn’t think he did a good job learning Mike Shanahan’s unfamiliar system in 2010. If that stigmatizes McNabb in this uncertain offseason environment, he could suddenly find himself structurally unemployed.

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


Posted on: March 13, 2011 2:03 pm

Broncos say they're willing to open their books

Posted by Andy Benoit

Well, it might be a moot point now (or at least for now), but the NFLPA knows it can access at least two teams’ books: the Green Bay Packers (a publicly owned team whose books were opened months ago) and the Denver Broncos.

The union likely knew it could view the Broncos’ books during negotations last week; team president Joe Ellis told Mike Klis of the Denver Post that the club offered to show its financial data, but the union didn’t want to take a look.

NFL Labor

"We offered to show the union league-wide and club profitability data," Ellis said. "Not only that it can be verified by a mutually agreed upon third-party auditor. This is the type of information we don't share with each other. In other words, we aren't allowed to see how other teams are doing specifically in terms of revenues and expenses. Everything is very formalized in terms of information we get from other clubs. Now the union didn't even want to look at it."

"If the league decides they want to open up the books of the Denver Broncos to present them to the union — I don't know if the league is into identifying individual clubs because they're private businesses," Ellis said. "But with a neutral (auditor) to verify the fact that certain teams haven't been operating as effectively as they did in the past, we're a willing and able participant.'”

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

Posted on: March 12, 2011 9:53 pm

NFL PLAYERS working on 'non-NFL' sponsors

Posted by Will Brinson

As the league locked out the players Friday night, we listed seven important questions that fans should ask for the coming months. One thing we forgot to mention (and/or debate) was the state of endorsements for NFL players. As most folks know, they're marketed as a group and typically lined up with "league sponsors" in groups.

That's not the case anymore, however, and as the Sports Business Journal's Liz Mullen reports , NFL PLAYERS -- the license and marketing arm of the trade association formerly known as the NFLPA -- is looking for new sponsors with which "to align themselves."

"The NFL failed to renew, extend, or otherwise provide these rights for sponsors," Keith Gordon, NFL PLAYERS president, told Mullen.

And, as a result, NFL PLAYERS "is now actively engaging with non-NFL sponsors who seek to align themselves," Gordon said.

Think like, say ... beauty products.

Here's the interesting thing about how this works: though the players union decertified, the NFLPA still exists. (After all, it's an "Association" made up of "Players," even with the recent decertification.) So it will provide legal support for the players and, apparently, continue to market the players as well.

One thought that crossed my mind was the possibility that EA Sports' Madden franchise could face problems that baseball video games dealt with in the past with respect to individual licensing. (Perhaps you remember Giants slugger "Joe Young" from back in the day?) Well, that won't be the case here.

"No, the status [of the union] doesn't impact our business," Gordon told CBSSports.com.

This is because all individual players ink a Group Licensing Agreement ("GLA") that they "really can't opt" of in the event of something like decertification.

So, Madden's safe (though Gordon did point out that roster updates could be a bit slow to come through if the season is delayed), and there's no reason to think the players will be doing anything other than trying to work positively with current sponsors, given their no-paycheck-at-the-day-job situation.

What will be interesting to see is how Gordon and NFL PLAYERS approach "non-NFL sponsors." And if you're wondering what exactly constitutes such an endorsement, Gordon's description to me -- he called them "categories where we've not been engaged" -- is the best way to describe it. 

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