Tag:lockout
Posted on: March 2, 2011 10:13 am
Edited on: March 2, 2011 2:39 pm
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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.

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Posted on: March 1, 2011 4:13 pm
 

Other football leagues an option for NFL players?

Posted by Mike Freeman

If there is a prolonged work stoppage in the NFL several agents said their NFL clients have expressed a desire to practice with either United Football League, Canadian Football League or Arena League teams. Some players, incredibly, are even thinking about playing in games in these leagues should a lengthy lockout or stoppage happen.

Such a move would seem to be incredibly stupid for a young NFL player. The risk of injury in these leagues would be high for comparatively little money.

But the concern some players apparently have is they'd get so far out of football shape that continuing the contact portion of the sport is worth the risk because they'd have an advantage over other NFL players once practices and games started.

Now, let's be clear. We're not going to see Tom Brady playing for the Toronto Argonauts.

But it's very possible some lower tier NFL players go this route.

This is how it would work.

The union decertifies. Owners then say: we're not in business. The battle moves to the courts for months. Basically, under that scenario, players are free agents. They can play wherever they want.

So several low-level players would then go to the CFL, UFL or AFL for playing experience as the lockout droned on. Then once the season starts they'd be more ready than those who weren't playing.

"As long as the player is not under contract with another league, he is allowed to practice with an AFL team," Evan Vladem, spokesman for the AFL, told CBSSports.com. "To practice, the player must be under AFL contract or sign a one-day waiver with the league. With that being said, a free agent could play on an (AFL) team; however, we are very confident that the NFL will play this season. We work well in conjunction with the NFL abd they have supported us and our players greatly."

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 1, 2011 2:44 pm
 

NFL, NFLPA resume mediations in Washington

Posted by Will Brinson

The NFL and NFLPA resumed mediation in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday and this time around, there were a few more parties present.

Giants co-owner John Mara accompanied Roger Goodell's entourage into the session along with Falcons president Rich McKay (who's also the new head of the Competition Committee) and Redskins GM Bruce Allen.

Another difference: someone was willing to talk to the media! In this case, the NFL's lead negotiator and VP of labor, Jeff Pash.

"I don't think you could have a greater sense of urgency," said Jeff Pash, the league's lead labor negotiator. "We all know what the calendar is, and we all know what's at stake for everybody. And that's why we're here. We're going to be here as long as it takes and work as hard as we can work to get something done."

Whether something can get done remains to be seen -- there's not a tremendous sense of optimism surrounding the negotiations, particularly after the NFLPA's reported decision to decertify before the owners can lock the players out once the March 4 deadline for a new CBA occurs.

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Posted on: February 28, 2011 6:07 pm
 

Report: NFL owners could survive 2-year lockout

Posted by Will Brinson

There's always reason for cautious optimism surrounding an NFL work stoppage because, at some point, one of the sides is going to need some and eventually cave.

A report from CNN Money, which cites a Standard and Poor's rating agency note, pushes that point, at least for the owners, a little further out than folks would like to hear. Just how far? Two years far.

The S&P claims to have "confidential debt ratings on various stadium bonds" and "tracks teams' finances," and the primary logic behind the 2-year timeline is that the NFL owners will continue to collect revenue from television contracts.

That revenue will need to be paid back (plus interest!) if games are missed, but saving up for that payback doesn't necessarily preclude the owners from sitting tight on the cash they're bringing in and/or investing it.

Remember too that the NFL's said teams will reimburse season ticket holders for the cost of games not played. This is pretty nice of them, but it's also a pretty smart method of generating income that can be invested and/or create interest that results in, basically, free money to offset the losses needed to pay back fans and networks for games lost. (Yes, this assumes a wise investment of said money.)

Additionally, the S&P factored in a potential $900 million fund that the owners can tap into to assist clubs in surviving a prolonged lockout in the event football isn't being played.

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Category: NFL
Posted on: February 25, 2011 3:14 pm
 

Pre-draft workouts in jeopardy without a CBA?

Posted by Will Brinson

The NFL combine is critical for teams to evaluate potential draftees, but it's not the whole shebang, either. Pro days at individual schools and, perhaps MOST importantly, individual workouts with candidates give teams a good idea of whether a player represents a sound investment.

The last two could be in serious jeopardy, though, according to what's leaking out of NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith's meeting with a group of agents at the combine, where the one thing Smith apparently didn't discuss was the mediation that went down in D.C. recently.

He only told, according to our own Mike Freeman, the group of agents there was "some" progress while prepping them for lockout contingencies.

That's good news only in that if a ton of mediation-related information started leaking out right after his talks with agents -- and it would if he talked about it -- the owners might not take too kindly to him violating the media blackout.

The owners might not be too thrilled with some of the reports about what kind of access they'll have to rookies, either.

Adam Caplan of FOX Sports reports that, according to agent sources present during Smith's presentation, teams won't be able to talk to agents about rookies at pro days during a lockout.

Even worse is the news that Aaron Wilson of the National Football Post reported -- the individual meetings with teams might disappear entirely.

"[I'm] being told teams will not be able to do individual pre draft workouts," a source told Wilson. "The union considers that communication in regards to financial situations for the players.

"[I] don't see that happening."

Contradicting all of that, though, is NFLPA spokesman George Atallah.

"We'd be hard pressed to stand in the way of a player doing something he needs to do," Atallah said Friday.

But that's the Catch-22 -- the players need to talk with teams to make more money (and, inherently, so do the agents) and teams need to talk to players in order to figure out who they want to draft. Unfortunately, the labor cloud keeps looming and we have to keep wondering when the next public dust-up will occur.

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Posted on: February 25, 2011 12:48 pm
 

De Smith honors media blackout in agent meeting

Posted by Mike Freeman

INDIANAPOLIS -- Union head DeMaurice Smith briefed agents on Friday about the ongoing labor talks. An agent in the room told CBSSports.com that Smith said some progress was made but Smith declined to speak with agents specifically about the mediation talks with the league.

The agent stated Smith declined many questions from agents about the mediation discussions. In fact, the agent said, Smith started the meeting with the specific ground rules he wouldn't talk about the mediation. (First rule of Fight Club: you don't talk about Fight Club.)

It's actually smart of Smith not to discuss the mediation talks. The minute he does with agents, it would get out to the media.

Smith instead spent much of the meeting with agents discussing contingencies if there is indeed a lockout. Agents were told to instruct players to save money and get private health insurance two measures most players have long since done (or tried to do).

Bottom line: a lockout is coming barring a last second miracle. The union knows it. The league knows it. Nothing happened in this meeting changes that belief.

This 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: February 24, 2011 12:17 pm
 

CBA mediation adjourned, 'some progress was made'

Posted by Will Brinson

The NFL and NFLPA vowed to meet in Washington, D.C. and mediate their differences for seven days. They've done just that and have now adjourned from the final day of negotiations with plans to resume the talks on Tuesday.

"Our time together has been devoted to establishing an atmosphere conducive to meaningful negotiations and, of course, matters of process and substance," Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service Director George Cohen said in a statement. "I can report that throughout this extensive period the parties engaged in highly focused, constructive dialogue concerning a host of issues covering both economics and player-related conditions."

Cohen added that "some progress was made, but very strong differences remain on the all-important core issues that separate the parties."

Which is to say, all the problems involving the labor talks and impending lockout weren't solved.

But we knew that would happen -- and it confirms the report from CBSSports.com's Mike Freeman earlier Thursday that a lockout is still looming in full force.

Cohen's asked the two parties to "assess their current position on those outstanding issues" over the weekend in order to properly revisit them when the mediation resumes next week.

That probably won't be too difficult, as both sides are completely aware of where they stand with respect to the biggest issues.

Realizing where they stand isn't the hard part -- it's finding a middle ground. And while both parties are obviously at least attempting to find a method for that, there's not too much hope that can be gleaned from the first run at mediation.

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Posted on: February 18, 2011 8:01 pm
Edited on: February 18, 2011 8:02 pm
 

NFL, NFLPA full of 'no comments' after mediation

Posted by Will Brinson

The first full day of mediation between the NFL and the NFLPA has ended, and true to their earlier claim, there wasn't any talking about what went on with behind close doors.

Via Albert Breer of the NFL Network -- who, bless him, loitered his tail off in the nation's capitol waiting for the two sides to end Friday's session -- neither side had much to say following the session on Friday. To wit:

Pete Kendall of the NFLPA: "We're not gonna get into it."

Charlie Batch, NFLPA rep: "Can't say anything."

Richard Berthlesen of the NFLPA: "Can't comment on it."

DeMaurice Smith also "declined comment on his way out" while Roger Goodell and the NFL officials "slipped out the back door."

So, yeah, mum's the word after the first day of mediation, and that's probably a good thing. Eventually, some info will probably slip out vis-a-vis anonymous sources (though with both sides ordered not to say anything, there's a lot less likely to be a chance of "leaked" info), but it's probably safe to say that Friday wasn't precisely full of heavy negotiating.

Everyone involved in the mediation knows there's a long way to go before anything gets remotely solved, but the simple fact that no one's enraged by any early face-to-face action and/or proposals through one day of this process is at least a positive sign.

That won't solve the CBA crisis right away, but it's at least reason for some cautious optimism.

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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