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 6:30 pm
Edited on: July 21, 2011 6:51 pm

Report: training camp rosters could expand to 90

Posted by Ryan Wilson

The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel's Bob McGinn might be relatively new to breaking news on Twitter but he's one of the best beat writers in the country. So when he passes something along, whatever the medium, it's worth paying attention.

On Thursday afternoon, amid the maelstrom of the latest labor negotiations goings-on, McGinn tweeted two choice nuggets that might have otherwise gotten lost in the mix.

On Tuesday we mentioned an ESPN Wisconsin report that said the Packers told their players to be ready to report this Saturday, even though communication between teams and players is prohibited during the lockout. (The Packers denied the report, by the way.)

So if, as McGinn hears, roughly a third of the league is in violation of this rule, what will NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell do about it? Our guess: nothing. Given all the other things on his plate, we're not sure this ranks particularly high on the to-do list. And who knows, maybe Goodell feels similarly about punishing players who struggled to walk the straight and narrow at any point in the last four months, too.

McGinn tweet No. 2:

This isn't the first time we've heard mention of training camp roster expansion. Last month, NFL Network's Jason La Canfora wrote: "The league's competition committee has broached the idea of expanding training-camp rosters for 2011, considering all of the offseason training activities and teaching time that has been lost, as well as the months of evaluation that teams normally would have to work with depth players and prospects. The idea has been embraced by numerous general managers I spoke to this week and would receive significant support by their ranks if put to a vote."

As as PFT's Michael David Smith noted at the time, "Presumably, the NFLPA* would support the idea as well: Ten more players on each training camp roster means 320 more opportunities for professional football players to find jobs. Having more players in camp might also allow each individual player to take fewer reps and therefore lessen the risk of injury."

Finally, something everyone can agree on. We think.

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Posted on: July 21, 2011 4:17 pm
Edited on: July 21, 2011 7:07 pm

Report: Mankins says he'll sign off on settlement

Posted by Will Brinson

UPDATE (6:30 p.m. EST): Ron Borges of the Boston Herald tweets on Thursday night that, "Logan Mankins has just informed the NFLPA leadership he will sign off on a settlement of the Brady v. NFL case without seeking compensation."

As the world turns in the NFL's Thursday afternoon labor soap opera, one critical issue remains: the financial demands of named-plaintiffs Logan Mankins and Vincent Jackson.

These demands have been characterized as a big stumbling block, since both players reportedly want $10 million each to settle the litigation. However, Mankins' agent, Frank Bauer, disputed the claim that his client ever made any sort of financial demand.

"I think it's really unfair what has happened to Logan Mankins in media characterizations that he is making monetary demands or holding up a settlement," Bauer said, per ESPN.
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"Logan Mankins is a young man who was encouraged and solicited into a lawsuit to help the union spearhead a new agreement. Logan's main concern for entering into as a plaintiff was to see if he can become free and help other players have less restrictions."

Of course, putting his name on the lawsuit WAS a tough decision and Mankins certainly put his name out there for scrutiny. So if he wanted something in return it wouldn't be shocking. But Bauer emphasized he "hasn't made any such demand."

"For people to say he has made monetary demands, he hasn't made any such demand," Bauer said. "We don't know terms. We haven't talked to (NFLPA attorney) Jeff Kessler. There has been no communication, but it's irresponsible to report Logan has made monetary demands.

"Are we disappointed there has been no communication? Hugely. He trusted the union and Kessler to fight for Logan Mankins and the other players."

So, yeah, wow, that's kind of a game-changer. If Mankins doesn't want money and if Jackson doesn't want money in exchange for settling the lawsuit, it's only going to crank up the vitriol for Kessler, the NFLPA lawyer.

And it means there's a pretty simple solution sitting out there: make Mankins and Jackson franchise-tag-free players going forward. If those two plaintiffs would agree to that in part of their settlement, it could move things along much more speedily than having the two sides quarrel about demands that apparently weren't ever made.

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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.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed.
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 21, 2011 11:21 am
Edited on: July 21, 2011 12:51 pm

Cassel: Offseason 'went as well as it could have'

Posted by Bryan Fischer

MALIBU, Calif. -- With the NFL lockout days -- possibly hours -- away from ending, plenty of veterans are getting in one last workout before heading to their respective in-season homes and awaiting instructions.

Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Matt Cassel is wrapping up a week-long trip to Southern California to visit family but decided to head up to Pepperdine University to work out Wednesday and dropped in on Nike's Elite 11 quarterback competition. The seven-year veteran spoke with many of the country's finest high-school quarterbacks and even went through drills with the youngsters steps from the Pacific Ocean.

"I'm having a blast," Cassel said with a grin. "It's always fun to come out here and mess around with these young bucks that will come up and hopefully not take my job. It's fun because of the youthfulness and energy and excitement that's going on in a lot of these kids' lives being recruited at these big-time universities."

Cassel is an Elite 11 alum, having been put through the paces as a senior at nearby Chatsworth High before enrolling at USC. Though he didn't start a game for the Trojans, the path that ultimately led him to starting in the pros was part of the advice he relayed to the young signal-callers.

"What I always remind these guys of, especially playing the quarterback position, is you better get used to adversity," Cassel said. "Everyone of us is going to face it, whether it's on the field or off the field. You just have to continue to work hard and be a leader and be accountable to your teammates."

It's certainly been an offseason full of adversity for the Chiefs (and every other NFL team for that matter) this year. Though the lockout has wiped away most of their team activities, Cassel has managed to find some time for players to come together this summer and get some work in lieu of team-organized activities.

"It's been going well, we had a mini-camp where about 50 guys showed up and we've also had a lot of guys come out and participate in just throwing sessions," he said. "It went as well as it could have gone this offseason under the circumstances. 31 other teams have to go through the same thing so hopefully we'll be on track."

Recent signs that the NFL and NFLPA are getting close on a deal has increased optimism among players in the league looking to get back on the field Cassel said.

"As players, we all hope something will get done soon," he said. "We want to get back out there and get to work. It has been a difficult offseason for a lot of people, and I'm sure with all the new coaches and the turnover, it will be a tough transition for a lot of people."

Bryan Fischer mans CBS' Eye on Recruiting blog -- read it here and follow him on Twitter. For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed.
Posted on: July 21, 2011 10:41 am
Edited on: July 21, 2011 10:54 am

Report: New CBA will protect high-priced veterans

Posted by Will Brinson

The owners are meeting in Atlanta today and will likely vote on -- and hopefully ratify -- a new collective bargaining agreement. If and when that happens, there'll be plenty of surprises that come out of the woodwork with respect to new NFL rules and regulations.

Gregg Rosenthal of Pro Football Talk has an interesting early twist on one of these, reporting that the new CBA "will be very friendly to veterans with big salaries" in that it will keep these vets from "becoming cap casualties."

Rosenthal also notes that there will be language in the CBA "that good agents will exploit for veteran players."

No specific examples are offered in Rosenthal's post, mainly because the specifics probably aren't entirely concrete yet.

The most logical example of something that might happen, however, is that teams are given some sort of exemption for high-priced veterans when it comes to fitting in the salary cap.

Such an exemption would offer a solution that's both team- and player-friendly in that it doesn't punish either party for signing contracts during an uncapped year. (You think Denver wants to pay 38-year-old Brian Dawkins more than $7 million if they're nudged up against the cap? Doubt it.)

The agent aspect is interesting as well, though, because one has to wonder how that would affect someone like Baltimore Ravens backup running back Willis McGahee, who stands to make $6 million in 2011.

The Ravens seem likely to cut him, and McGahee's agent Drew Rosenhaus has intimated that he doesn't expect his client back with the Ravens, but perhaps the new rules will create a scenario where the Ravens can't simply cut McGahee outright, at least not without compensating him first.

Or perhaps not -- the only thing certain these days in the NFL labor world is that there's uncertainty abounding.

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Posted on: July 20, 2011 9:00 pm
Edited on: July 21, 2011 10:33 am

Podcast: Bomani Jones talks NFL lockout

Posted by Eye on Football Staff

Welcome to Groundhog Day: NFL Lockout Edition. We're 127 days into this thing, but we swear, the end is right around the corner. The players were set to vote on the new labor agreement Wednesday afternoon but having to sift through the "massive volume of information" slowed things down (as did this, apparently).

So while we wait, it's another Eye on Football podcast. Wednesday's guest: "The Morning Jones" host and frequent "Around the Horn" panelist, Bomani Jones, who stops by to talk about the latest lockout developments, James Harrison's racially-charged comments and Cam Newton's prospects to be a successful NFL quarterback.

Talking starts below; you can also listen to Bomani's show during the morning on Sirius/XM channel 158 or stream online at The Score's website.

Just hit the play button and don't forget to Subscribe via iTunes.

If you can't view the podcast, click here to download.

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