Tag:DeMaurice Smith
Posted on: July 21, 2011 8:13 pm
Edited on: July 22, 2011 9:49 am
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Smith to players: 'There is no agreement'

Posted by Will Brinson

There was much rejoicing in the land of NFL fans on Thursday night when the NFL owners voted 31-0 to ratify a settlement agreement. There's just one problem: it's not exactly in-line with what the players were expecting.

CBSSSports.com has obtained an email from NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith to the players a few moments ago that indicates precisely how they feel.

"As you know the Owners have ratified their proposal to settle our differences. It is my understanding that they are forwarding it to us," the email reads. "As you may have heard, they apparently approved a supplemental revenue sharing proposal. Obviously, we have not been a part of those discussions.

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"As you know from yesterday, issues that need to be collectively bargained remain open, other issues such as workers compensation, economic issues and end of deal terms remain unresolved.

Smith's email concludes in a fashion that should sufficiently point out how differently the players view the owners' proposal.

"There is no agreement between the NFL and the Players at this time," Smith concludes. "I look forward to our call tonight."

The biggest fear for everyone involved is that the players might see the owners' decision to approve their own deal as a way of pushing public perception against the players. And that's entirely possible, but we won't know for sure until the end of the NFLPA call.

One thing's for sure, though: this isn't over yet.



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Posted on: July 21, 2011 7:00 pm
Edited on: July 21, 2011 7:45 pm
 

NFL owners vote to approve settlement

Posted by Eye on Football Staff

ATLANTA -- After a 10-minute break turned into a lengthy evening siesta that unnerved more than a number of NFL reporters, the NFL owners voted to pass a resolution approving settlement of the Brady v. NFL lawsuit, according to the NFL Network.

"The clubs approved an agreement that was negotiated with the players this afternoon," Commissioner Roger Goodell said at his press conference following the vote. "In addition to approving that agreement we also approved a supplemental revenue sharing system for the next 10 years (with no opt-out by either the owners or players during that time).

"With this ratification and with the ratification of the NFLPA board, we will be prepared to open training facilities beginning on this Saturday. We will then be prepared to start the new league year Wednesday, subject to the full membership of the players, ratifying the agreement and recertifying as a union."

So while the four-game preseason schedule and the subsequent regular season appear safe, the Hall of Fame Game in Canton, Ohio, has been cancelled.

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"Obviously, you know that we're all under a time constraint," Goodell said. "That's one of the reasons we worked to get this agreement completed tonight. We are unfortunately going to have to cancel the Hall of Fame Game this year. The time is just too short, and we feel it's important for all 32 teams to be operating with the same number of preseason games and also starting camp at the same date. … But the [Hall of Fame] ceremonies will go on."

NFL attorney Jeff Pash explained what will happen after the NFLPA ratifies.

"Once the ratification process has been completed, there would be a period where the players would come, you do their physicals, get your rosters in order," Pash said. 'Teams could begin signing their own players -- their draftees and the like -- with the contracts sort of being in a state of suspended animation.

"What would you have is an opening of the new league year perhaps on next Wednesday, July 27."

This means that the ball is now firmly in the players' court; the NFLPA has an 8:00 PM conference call scheduled.

"I just spoke to DeMaurice [Smith] 20 minutes ago," Goodell said. "He's going to go take care of his business."

In a sign of where things still stand, though, it's important to note that this does not mean everything's finished.

"To clarify: NFL Owners Ratify PROPOSAL to end LOCKOUT," NFLPA spokesman George Atallah tweeted during Goodell's announcement.

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Posted on: July 21, 2011 3:24 pm
Edited on: July 21, 2011 4:28 pm
 

Recertification of NFLPA becomes major issue

Posted by Eye on Football Staff

ATLANTA -- NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith briefly stepped out of the trade association meetings in Washington this afternoon and told the media gathered outside why recertification of the union is so important.

Thus, he confirmed to all that there is still at least one big issue to settle before the players decide to agree to a labor settlement.

"Every individual person has to make a decision about whether they want to be part of the union" Smith said. "Recommendations made by the executive committee are just that. The individual decisions are something that our players take extremely seriously."

Smith also took a shot at owners who questioned the union's original intentions when they decertified. (You may recall the "sham" argument?)

"I know there are certain things swirling out there," Smith said before looking directly at the NFL Network camera. "And I certainly remember comments from some of the owners about how we might not even be a real union.

"Well, guess what -- the decision to decertify was important because at the time we were a real union. And the decision for our players as men to come back as a union is going to be an equally serious and sober one that they have to make."

Taking a decision like recertificaiton seriously is better than saying that the union will just kind of screw around and that it’ll be discussed over multiple cocktails. But it also means that everyone involved -- including fans -- may have to wait for football a little longer, with recertification becoming another possible impediment to a new deal.

Previously, CBSSports.com's Mike Freeman reported that Patriots G Logan Mankins and Chargers WR Vincent Jackson -- and their demand for $10 million -- have been the cause for the delay in the NFLPA agreeing to a settlement. And some say it’s NFLPA Jeffrey Kessler who is gumming up the works.

But if the trade association decides NOT to recertify, there's no guarantee that the owners would agree to strike a deal at all, especially since the league then would be subjected to anti-trust legislation.

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Posted on: July 21, 2011 1:32 pm
Edited on: July 21, 2011 1:43 pm
 

Owners vote would put public pressure on players

Posted by Will Brinson

Right now, there's ample pressure on both the owners and the players to get a Global Settlement Agreement locked in, so that the NFL year can begin relatively on time.

That duel pressure might not last though -- CBSSports.com's own Clark Judge reported from the owners meetings that "a majority of owners" in Atlanta on Thursday are planning to attend Myra Kraft's funeral on Friday morning.

And as a result, the owners are expected to vote on a new deal Thursday. They are also likely to ratify the deal -- every owner who's found his way in front of a camera believes there will be enough votes on the table to do so.

That means that by Thursday evening, if the NFLPA hasn't cleared the necessary obstacles to approve a settlement agreement, there could be a tremendous shift in public pressure to the players' side.

See, the owners are still locking the players out. No one's denying that. But as soon as they vote "yes" in their meeting, lift the lockout and start planning for a season there's only one group to blame if there's no football: the players.

Would it be the fault of all the players that a deal isn't taken care of by now? Of course not. In fact, there are probably two players specifically that you can point to when it comes to holding things up.

You can absolutely make the argument that Vincent Jackson and Logan Mankins deserve some compensation for not only getting hosed by the CBA but for putting their names on the Brady v. NFL lawsuit, but it's going to be difficult for their attorneys to continue justifying a hold-up of the NFL season.

Because no matter what level of compensation -- the $20 million Jackson/Mankins want, or even the $320 million the players want in back benefits, for example -- and no matter how many players we're talking about, in the eyes of the fans, it will simply not justify delaying the start of the NFL season any longer.

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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 16, 2011 11:14 pm
Edited on: July 17, 2011 12:26 pm
 

Issues remain before a labor deal is finalized

Posted by Will Brinson

Saturday was a "great day" as far as the NFL labor situation was concerned; there weren't serious issues to bridge, because, after all, the "legal and financial teams" could handle everything that remained.

Right? Well, maybe. Now it appears there might be a little more ground to cover than initially thought.

CBSSports.com's own Mike Freeman reported  on Saturday that "there are still points to be resolved" with respect to a new CBA. Freeman noted two in particular: workman's comp and rollback benefits (those that were lost last season). Turns out there might be more.

There are also issues relating to whether the NFLPA will actually become a union -- it's currently a trade association -- and there are issues on how the named plaintiffs in the Brady v. NFL case will be compensated when it comes to free agency.

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As you'll likely recall, when Reggie White and other named plaintiffs fought for free agency, they were compensated by avoiding any franchise tag issues. Now, Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Drew Brees and the rest of the plaintiffs named in the antitrust lawsuit against the NFL want the same thing to happen.

Presumably, one of the issues that needs to be resolved involves whether these named plaintiffs, which includes rookie linebacker Von Miller, will be given special consideration. They'll likely need to be given something, or else it might be difficult for them to file a Voluntary Dismissal and end the lawsuit against the NFL.

There is also a report from ESPN that the franchise-tagging system as a whole is problematic in negotiations.

According to this report, the players don't want to allow teams to continue to use franchise tags over-and-over again on a player. Obviously, teams prefer the lack of liability involved in a long-term deal to a franchise tag.

These issues aren't dealbreakers, per se, but they are problematic. Can teams live with a one-time shot at franchise tagging a player? Can the named plaintiffs deal with only having to be tagged once if it settles the lawsuit? Or will they demand perpetual freedom from such contract issues?

Making things more complicated is that while those questions are being sorted out, the NFL and players must figure out a way in which to handle the reimbursement of $320 million (lost benefits) and determine the locale for workers' compensation.

These complex issues are solvable, but they're why it's necessary to keep the champagne on ice for at least a few days and let the negotiations play out.

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Posted on: July 16, 2011 4:20 pm
Edited on: July 16, 2011 6:41 pm
 

'Virtually nothing' stands in way of CBA deal?

Posted by Will Brinson

Update (6:15 PM EST): It appears the owners and players will meet -- Jeff Pash told media members that the players and owners will meet under the guidance of Arthur Boylan in Manhattan during the early part of the week to resolve some of the remaining issues in wrapping up a deal.

He also said, per Albert Breer, that the "principles have done their job" and that progressing the CBA will be up to the lawyers.

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There hasn't been a whole lot of news on Saturday relating to the theoretically soon-to-end lockout. The legal and financial teams have been "grinding" in New York City throughout the day, but nothing too substantial has leaked from the talks.

Except perhaps this: the NFL Network's Albert Breer reports that the players and owners have "no plans … to meet again unless necessary."

Yes, normally that would be terrible news. In this case, however, it's fantastic -- the sides are apparently close enough that, per Breer, all future negotiations/handling of details can be sorted out via email, telephone and via the wonderful channels that are lawyers.

Breer adds that there is "virtually nothing standing in the way right now" of a new deal getting done and getting done soon.

Additionally, the conversation/meeting/talk between Roger Goodell and DeMaurice Smith that was referenced on Friday appears to have taken place (or is taking place) today, as NFL spokesman Greg Aiello noted as much while pointing out that today is "a great day." (Though Aiello may just be excited to be hanging out by a pool.)

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This all should result in final copies of a settlement agreement and new CBA coming before the two sides early next week. And, as Breer notes, the owners "are likely to vote on a deal" when they head to Atlanta on Thursday for their meetings.

Does this mean we should drop all caution and proceed blindingly into a new world free of a lockout? Um, no. There are still some things that have to get sorted out. Like, most importantly, signatures.

And for those of who've seen our optimism shattered by previous negotiations that fell apart and/or those of us who understand the concept of a deal not being a deal until it's done, every single party needs to sign before it's time to pop the proverbial bubbly.

But if all this holds the course over the next few days, we'll all be firing up our fantasy leagues before we know it.

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Posted on: July 15, 2011 4:59 pm
Edited on: July 15, 2011 11:55 pm
 

NFL, NFLPA statement: Things 'in a good place'

Posted by Will Brinson

The NFL and NFLPA have wrapped up their Friday session of negotiations and the primary parties involved -- DeMaurice Smith and NFLPA reps, Roger Goodell and NFL reps, and retired players -- have left for the weekend.

However, Smith, while departing, said he and Goodell would meet and/or talk during the weekend, according to Albert Breer of the NFL Network.

Additionally, the NFL and NFLPA issued a joint statement about the progress of negotiations through Friday.

"The discussions this week have been constructive and progress has been made on a wide range of issues," the statement read. "Our legal and financial teams will continue to work through the weekend. We will continue to respect the confidentiality orders of Chief Magistrate Judge Arthur Boylan and will therefore refrain from commenting on specific issues or aspects of the negotiations.

We will provide additional information as developments in this process continue."
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Additionally, per Bart Hubbuch of the New York Post, the NFLPA said that "things are in a good place" following the negotiations.

"We don't disagree," was the NFL's response.

Though the clarity of the statement is about what you'd expect in this situation (read: opaque as all get-out), it's been quite clear all day that the two sides are making tremendous strides towards a new CBA.

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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