Tag:NFL Lockout
Posted on: July 5, 2011 4:31 pm
Edited on: July 5, 2011 5:01 pm

End to NFL lockout could be days away

Posted by Ryan Wilson

After taking the holiday weekend off, lawyers for the owners and players reconvened Tuesday to continue negotiations toward a new collective bargaining agreement. And reports suggested Tuesday that not only could a new deal be in place in the coming days, but training camps could open on time, as could the preseason and regular season. (Such are the incentivizing effects of potentially losing $800 million.)

Yahoo.com's Michael Silver writes, "Despite a breakdown in communication and trust that boiled over last week, the two sides are closer to an agreement than many people realize --perhaps than even some of the people involved realize. That the respective negotiating teams hung in amid the negativity and held a marathon session Thursday and a shorter one on Friday was a deceptively positive sign."

Chris Russell, who works for ESPN 980 in Washington, D.C., and is part of the Redskins radio network, also tweeted hopeful news: "In talking to some officials in the Redskins organization today -- they are very confident a deal will be done shortly w/ no football lost."  And the Redskins coaching staff is expected to return to work Monday to prepare for training camp. (Which should give the organization more time to get rid of Donovan McNabb and tailor the offense around John Beck. We're joking. Sort of.)

Nothing's definitive, but there appears to be progress. The Cowboys have already scheduled training camp, and the Hall of Fame Game is still a go.

The takeaway?

The specifics of the lockout -- who's right, who's wrong, who's richer or less so -- mean little to fans at this point.  All they want is football. It's pretty simple, really. 

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Posted on: July 5, 2011 10:52 am
Edited on: July 5, 2011 11:06 am

Hall of Fame Game still scheduled for Aug. 7

Posted by Ryan Wilson

After taking the weekend off to celebrate our country's independence, the lawyers for the owners and players resumed talks today, but NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith aren't expected to be present for the negotiations until Thursday, according to ESPN's Chris Mortensen.

The hope is that a new collective bargaining agreement can be reached by mid-July; if the lockout lasts beyond that, preseason games could be cancelled and owners and players could stand to lose up to $800 million.

While we wouldn't say optimism is high, there are signs that the two sides will resolve their differences and the 2011 season will begin on time.

Over the weekend, it was announced that the Cowboys set a July 29 training camp date at the Alamodome in San Antonio. And Tuesday, ESPN's Sal Paolantonio reports that the Pro Football Hall of Fame game between the Bears and Rams is still scheduled for August 7. The game is part of the Hall of Fame induction weekend in Canton, Ohio, and is the first game of the NFL preseason.

"We're making all plans to have the game on time. We've heard from both parties -- the owners and the players -- and they've expressed their desire to have the game. So, that's our plan," hall president Steve Perry told ESPN.

"Ticket sales are lagging behind where they were compared to this time last year," Perry acknowledged. "That's understandable. There is some uncertainty out there. But we're planning to have the game. Nobody has told us otherwise. In fact, both sides have told us they want to play the game."

Traditionally, the game is a sellout, but Perry said that only half the tickets for the 22,000-seat Fawcett Stadium have been sold. Just like the regular season, if the game isn't sold out it would be blacked out in Canton and the surrounding areas.

Both the Bears and the Rams have told Perry they plan to play in the game, but because of the lockout neither team knows exactly when they will be able to start training camp. If a new CBA isn't reached in the next 10 days or so and preseason games are ultimately delayed or cancelled, Perry told ESPN that the Hall of Fame game could be postponed or played on another date.

"That's not our desire," he said. "It would not have the same impact as having it on Hall of Fame Weekend."

The Hall of Fame induction ceremonies, however, are unaffected by the lockout and will go on as planned.

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Posted on: July 4, 2011 6:46 pm
Edited on: July 4, 2011 8:35 pm

Report: Retirees to file suit vs NFL, NFLPA

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

As the NFL owners and the NFLPA prepare to return to the negotiating table after the three-day weekend, it seems their lives are doomed to become more complicated. That’s because the The New York Times is reporting that the group of retired players involved in the Brady v. NFL case is set to prepare a complaint against the players and owners.

From the Times:

The class-action complaint, to be filed in Federal District Court in Minneapolis against the teams, the league, the players named in the Brady v. N.F.L. lawsuit and DeMaurice Smith, the head of the N.F.L. Players Association, asserted that the sides were violating antitrust laws by negotiating settlement terms that improperly encompassed the rights of retired players in the time since the N.F.L.P.A. renounced its union status.

The complaint says that the current players and the association, along with the N.F.L., “are conspiring to depress the amounts of pension and disability benefits to be paid to former N.F.L. players in order to maximize the salaries and benefits to current N.F.L. players.”
And it says that while the N.F.L. is willing to commit additional money to retirees from within and outside the league’s salary cap, the union “has insisted that the sum within the salary cap be given to current players instead.”

The complaint will ask Judge Susan Nelson to issue an injunction to halt the talks between the owners and players regarding retired players’ benefits, and it asks for a declaration that the NFLPA cannot represent those retired players in a new CBA settlement or for other litigation.

Basically, the alumni want to represent themselves in these talks.

“We feel we have a seat at the table, but we’re having the chair pulled out from under us,” Michael Hausfeld, the lawyer representing retired players, told the paper. “Both sides are saying, ‘We’ll decide what’s in your best interests.’”

As the Times points out, though, Nelson might be reluctant to add a third party to the mix so late in the negotiations, partially because it seems like the two sides might be closing in on a solution and partially because bringing somebody else to the table might make matters much more complicated.

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Posted on: July 4, 2011 11:37 am
Edited on: July 4, 2011 11:48 am

Are NFL coaches communicating with players?

MorrisPosted by Josh Katzowitz

While the NFL coaching staffs and team officials are prohibited from communicating with players during the lockout, it seems rather improbable to believe that there is no absolutely no contact between the two sides while their negotiators try to work out a new CBA.

You’ll recall that Buccaneers coach Raheem Morris let slip that he talks to players “all the time” (to read the partial transcript from that radio interview last month, click this link), and there have been whispers that coordinators and assistants are talking to players under the cover of darkness (not at Woodward and Bernstein levels or anything; just a little more covertly than normal).

So, it’s interesting that Len Pasquarelli of CBSSports.com and Sports Xchange reports that an AFC assistant coach told him the idea of mail fraud has been discussed in an attempt to communicate with players.

Writes Pasquarelli: “An AFC assistant told The Sports Xchange this week he was party to a conversation just after the draft in which it was suggested that the team distribute playbooks, but with the postdate on the office mail machine manipulated to reflect a date during which the lockout was lifted for four days in late April, when it was legal, albeit temporarily, to talk to players.”

That’s … well, that’s kind of unbelievable (but props for thinking outside the box). So, did the team actually go through with it?

Said the assistant to Pasquarelli: "I don't know and I don't want to know. But I wasn't born yesterday, either. I know there's some stuff going on around the league, because (coaching) friends tell me about it."

The NFL claims to have investigated a few of the rumors, and the league, not surprisingly, has not found any violators.

But if we want to get really conspiracy-theory crazy, perhaps the NFL doesn’t mind that the teams could be surreptitiously breaking league-lockout rules. After all, the NFL doesn’t want to end the lockout and then have the players not perform well.

So, maybe if the league looks the other way while the coaching staffs aren’t so obviously communicating with players, the play will be a little stronger once practices and games begin. Knowing this, the NFL would rather hide its head in the sand, in the name of quality play, than actually punish teams during the lockout.

That’s probably not exactly the case, but what could be more American on July 4 than a nice conspiracy theory?

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Category: NFL
Posted on: July 3, 2011 9:35 pm
Edited on: July 4, 2011 8:04 am

Report: Cowboys set July 29 training camp date

Posted by Ryan Wilson

Depending on the timing, there are between 200 and 800 million reasons for the owners and players to come to terms on a new collective bargaining agreement in the coming weeks. The hope is that a deal gets done by mid-July and the 2011 season can officially begin, first with an abbreviated free-agent signing period, followed by training camps and then the regular season.

Free agency will probably be a free-for-all, but if there's a new CBA in the next 12 days or so, the rest of the NFL schedule should be like any other year.  We're not sure if Jerry Jones knows something the rest of us don't, or if it's wishful thinking, but either way, the Cowboys have set their training camp dates.

According to the San Antonio Express-News, a city official confirmed that the Cowboys are tentatively set to start practicing in San Antonio at the Alamodome on July 29.

Mike Sawaya, who heads the city’s convention, sports and entertainment facilities, told the paper that the Cowboys will start moving equipment into the building on July 25, and the annual pep rally and concert to kick off training camp is set for July 28. Sawaya said that the team has the dome reserved through August 13.

The Express-News adds that the team could be forced to move camp to Irving, Texas if the lockout drags on past mid-July. 

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Posted on: July 3, 2011 3:24 pm
Edited on: July 3, 2011 10:00 pm

No preseason could mean $800M in lost revenue

Posted by Ryan Wilson

Since negotiations toward a new collective bargaining agreement started moving in the right direction several weeks ago, there has been guarded optimism in the media that a deal would be done by mid-July. Progress has come in fits and starts, but that's the nature of deliberating.

That said, if the lockout continues past July 15, there's a danger that preseason games would be lost, and more than that, the revenue that comes with it.

ESPN's Adam Schefter tweeted Saturday that the financial cost of the first week of preseason games could be roughly $200 million.

To take it a step further, if, say, the lockout drags on to the point that the entire preseason is lost, that means lost revenues in the neighborhood of $800 million. But those losses don't solely fall to the owners; players would be taking a hit, too.

PFT provides the breakdown:
Assuming that the players get a 48-percent share of all revenue under a new CBA, a lost preseason would equate to $384 million in losses for the players, and $416 million in losses for the owners.

The losses begin soon, if/when the NFL is required to scuttle preseason games. And because the players are now focused more on total dollars and less on percentages, the dip in total dollars resulting from lost preseason games necessarily will impact the deal that the parties are discussing.
So there's one more reason for the two sides to come to an agreement in the next 12 days -- $800 million. But if the last month has taught us anything, it's that posturing gives way to actual negotiations when the specter of losing billions of dollars is imminent. If this doesn't motivate the owners and players to figure things out soon, the season is already lost.

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Posted on: July 1, 2011 10:04 am
Edited on: July 1, 2011 10:14 am

Report: new CBA target date could be July 10

Posted by Ryan Wilson

After a marathon session Thursday that included the owners playing their version of rope-a-dope and switcheroo (neither of which were well received by the players -- shocking, we know), the two sides reconvened this morning to continue to work toward a new collective bargaining agreement.

CBSSports.com's Mike Freeman summed things up in this morning's The Daily Shoutout: "So here we are .. .again. Hanging on every word and piece of news and hopefully that news will get better in the coming days."

The speculation in recent weeks is that owners and players were hoping to have a new CBA, at least in principle, by mid-July. Specifics are hard to come by, primarily because both sides seem more interested in ending the lockout than staging a PR battle through the media. And for the most part, it's been a successful plan.

Citing three people who have been briefed on the negotiations, the New York Times' Judy Battista writes that "The N.F.L. had hoped to have at least an agreement in principle in place around the Fourth of July … [and] although a resolution remained possible within the next 10 days, it was more likely that negotiations would drag on past that time, with a better chance for a settlement coming the week of July 10."

One of Battista's sources added that "…the sides were close enough to complete a deal within 72 hours with intense effort. But dynamics among the parties, the person said, could stall a deal. The league is concerned that some lawyers and agents on the players’ side will prefer to wait, perhaps for a court decision that could sway negotiating leverage, before reaching an agreement."

So what does this mean?

On one hand, it's encouraging that both sides are taking negotiations seriously, even if it took almost four months of finger-pointing and name-calling to get to this point. On the other hand, you have to wonder what the owners were doing Thursday with their "Hey, look over there while we change the terms of the agreement!" strategy.

For the most part, talks seems to be moving in the right direction. The specifics of a new deal, or the precise date when it's struck, are unimportant. What is important is that there is a 2011 NFL season, in its entirety. That's all fans want.

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Posted on: July 1, 2011 1:58 am

NFL, NFLPA meet for more than 15 hours

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

The NFL and the NFLPA finally have emerged from their 15 1/2-hour meeting, and they will return at 9 a.m. Friday morning to continue discussions, according to reports from NFL.com’s Albert Breer. The mega-bargaining session began at 10 a.m. ET Thursday and continued until about 1:30 a.m. Friday

There’s obviously no new CBA, but after such a long day of meeting face to face, you have to wonder if that announcement is coming relatively soon -- like, say, within the next week or so.

Though late Thursday afternoon, there was plenty of pessimism emanating from a number of reports after the NFLPA held a conference call for some of its members, the fact that the two sides negotiated for another eight hours after that has got to be a positive step.

Plus, with the league moving closer to a deadline when a deal would have to be done in order to begin training camps on time, both sides seem a little more energized to get something accomplished.

According to the AP, among those involved in the talks today included: U.S. Magistrate Judge Arthur Boylan, Giants owner John Mara, Chiefs owner Clark Hunt, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, Patriots owner Robert Kraft and, for the players, Colts C Jeff Saturday, Chiefs G Brian Waters and Ravens CB Domonique Foxworth.

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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