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Tag:Lockout
Posted on: July 22, 2011 2:08 pm
Edited on: July 22, 2011 2:32 pm
 

Game-day rosters expand to 46, no third QBs

Posted by Ryan Wilson

The owners and players haven't yet agreed to a new collective bargaining agreement, but they have reached a consensus on this: the NFL Management Council has informed clubs that game-day rosters will increase from 45 to 46 players, and the emergency third quarterback designation no longer exists.

In practice, this means that teams will now dress their No. 3 quarterback as an active player or, take their chances with two QBs and use the roster spot for depth at another position. Which, save the rare occasion, isn't much of a rule change at all.

But as PFT's Michael David Smith points out, the emergency quarterback rule did come into play during last season's NFC Championship Game between Chicago and Green Bay. After Bears QB Jay Cutler left early in the third quarter with a knee injury, and with backup Todd Collins struggling, head coach Lovie Smith benched Collins for No. 3 QB Caleb Hanie.

At the time, the rules prohibited the Nos. 1 or 2 QBs from returning to the field since Hanie had played prior to the fourth quarter. To his credit, Hanie played well (and Cutler's knee injury was severe enough that he couldn't have played even if he wanted to), but the Bears still lost. Now with the new rule in place, the third quarterback can enter the game at any point without restriction.

In related roster news: according to a Thursday report from the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel's Bob McGinn, an NFC personnel executive said that his team has been told that training camp rosters will be expanded from 80 to 90 players. 

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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."

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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 22, 2011 11:33 am
 

Mawae: players reviewing NFL proposal



Posted by Ryan Wilson

In light of a hectic Thursday that included NFL owners voting to approve the new collective bargaining agreement, and the players subsequently declining to, NFLPA President Kevin Mawae released a statement Friday morning.

"Player leadership is discussing the most recent written proposal with the NFL, which includes a settlement agreement, deal terms and the right process for addressing recertification. There will not be any further NFLPA statements today out of respect for the Kraft family while they mourn the loss of Myra Kraft."

Myra Kraft, the wife of New England Patriots owner Bob Kraft, passed away Wednesday and the funeral was Friday morning.

Although it appears that the NFLPA will not vote on the proposed CBA today, there is still a sense that a deal will get done soon.

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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.

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"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 9:40 pm
Edited on: July 21, 2011 10:40 pm
 

Atmosphere anything but festive at owners meeting

Goodell, SmithPosted by Josh Katzowitz

ATLANTA -- After the vote was tallied and a new CBA had been passed by the owners, a cheer went up inside the Marriott ballroom where the owners had spent the last nine hours of their day. After months of negotiating and another long day of discussing, arguing and compromising, the owners let off a little bit of steam that could be heard outside in the hallway.

A few minutes later, Roger Goodell, flanked by NFL attorney Jeff Pash, Carolina’s Jerry Richardson, Kansas City’s Clark Hunt, New York Giants’ John Mara and Pittsburgh’s Art Rooney, entered the press conference room.

The mood, though, wasn’t quite as cheery.

There were no balloons -- or champagne corks -- popping. It didn’t feel like a day of celebration. It didn’t feel like things would be all right and that life would be good again. It felt a little apprehensive.

And for good reason. The NFLPA hasn’t signed off on the new CBA, and at first glance, the NFLPA doesn’t seem altogether happy with the new document. We might continue to find out just how unhappy the players actually are.

So, yeah, there weren’t a ton of smiles from the Gang of Six who stood behind the podium in front of the assembled media. If they thought this labor negotiation was completely finished, they might not be (probably aren’t) correct.

“They have a real incentive (to ratify)," Richardson said after the presser. "I can’t imagine why they’ve negotiated so hard, and they have received so many things they thought were important, I can’t imagine why they would not. Of course, there is (apprehension). But we’ve done what we’re supposed to do. We’ve done our half. It’s their choice now.”

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Those first two sentences from Richardson was a point made repeatedly Thursday. How, the owners reasoned, could the players NOT accept this deal?

“There are very substantial incentives to do so and to ratify and conclude the agreement,” Pash said. “It is a good agreement. It is a fair agreement. It is an agreement that will be very positive for players in many, many ways. … We would expect that those incentives would be responded to.

“I can’t imagine DeMaurice Smith is electing to pay all of those hours for his attorneys to negotiate an agreement that he and his members then decide not to ratify.”

Well, it looks like the decision to ratify might be rejected. If that occurs, we have another, perhaps larger set of problems that could jeopardize part -- or all -- of the 2011 season. Then, money is lost, paychecks aren’t cashed, fans aren’t happy.

Maybe, on Thursday after the owners voted 31-0 to pass the agreement, they knew the fight wasn’t over, and that’s why there were no fist pumps or fist bumps on display. Maybe, as Goodell said, the owners were simply exhausted from the negotiations.

Or maybe they knew something the players and the rest of us didn’t. The thing we’re only beginning to find out. That the hard part isn’t over yet; that there really was no reason to celebrate at all.

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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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Posted on: July 21, 2011 8:13 pm
Edited on: July 22, 2011 9:49 am
 

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