Posted on: July 13, 2011 9:31 pm
Edited on: July 13, 2011 9:35 pm

Report: negotiations aren't going real well

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

It appears that today’s negotiations between the NFL and the NFLPA are completed for the night, and according to NFL.com’s Albert Breer, they didn’t exactly go well.

Writes the entrenched Breer: “I'm told smaller issues continue to be worked out. But the problems in the core areas that need to be resolved remain. So there was very little progress in the core areas today. They'll continue to try tomorrow. Frustrating for the parties, clearly.”

It’s not out of the realm out of possibility that the two groups (or some representatives of the two groups) could regroup and continue meeting tonight. When he was leaving the meetings earlier this evening, NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith said, “Just taking a break, long day, probably coming back (tonight).”

Either way, the news of today’s meetings isn’t exactly positive, especially since Saints QB Drew Brees said earlier today that an agreement on a new CBA was “very close” and that “few details” remain to be negotiated.

Those comments, though, have been trampled upon by various reports throughout the day which claim that Brees overstated what’s actually happening in the negotiating room.

So, to sum up: there’s still a lockout, and it might or might not be solved sometime soon.  

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Category: NFL
Posted on: July 13, 2011 12:25 pm
Edited on: July 13, 2011 1:18 pm

Brees: Deal 'very close' and 'few details' remain

Posted by Will Brinson

Drew Brees, Tom Brady and Peyton Manning issued a statement on labor negotiations recently, and as we noted earlier, it was a pretty bold statement, even though the words might seem similar to a normal press release.

On Wednesday while on XX Radio 1090 in San Diego, Brees confirmed our belief about the statement, and made some even stronger noise about the current state of the lockout, pointing ou that a deal is "very close," and that "few details" remain in nailing down a labor agreement.

"We've taken a significant setback in overall revenue in terms of what we've offered them compared to what we were making," Brees said. "I feel like there's a fair deal there -- we all do -- and we think it's time to step up and make a deal."

And that's precisely why the three most notable players in the current labor negotiations issued a statement regarding their stance.

Latest on Labor
"Yesterday we felt like there's a fair deal on the table and we need to make sure everybody knows this and make sure the owners know this because the season is just around the corner," Brees said about the statement the players issued.

Brees also addressed the issue of retired players, stating that the current players would take care of them in the negotiations, and pointing out that the folks at the current bargaining table are actually pretty close to being retired themselves.

"Maybe they DO have a seat at the table," Brees said about retired players. "I'm the second-youngest guy at the table … these are guys who going to be retired players soon.

"And they're certainly looking out for those guys."

That's gotta be nice to hear if you're a retired player. But much nicer to hear? Brees' comments about how close a deal is and that the players did in fact take a "substantial" cut in order to make something happen.

Obviously there are reasons why they'd do this, and there are probably other areas in which they're going to benefit -- hello, massive free-agent class! -- that enabled them to give up more money.

That's not important. What's important is finishing this puppy off and getting everyone on the football field in time for a normal year of NFL action.

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Posted on: July 13, 2011 10:32 am
Edited on: July 13, 2011 12:29 pm

Brady, Manning, Brees statement a bold move

Posted by Will Brinson

Up to this point, plaintiffs Tom Brady, Peyton Manning and Drew Brees have been relatively quiet about their activity in the Brady v. NFL antitrust lawsuit and the current labor dispute between the players and the owners.

However, they made their voice known on Wednesday morning in a statement released to the Associated Press that called their latest offer "fair" and said it's "time to get this deal done."

"We believe the overall proposal made by the players is fair for both sides and it is time to get this deal done," Brady, Manning and Brees said in the statement.

"This is the time of year we as players turn our attention to the game on the field. We hope the owners feel the same way."

The league quickly responded with a statement of their own and -- you'll never believe this -- but they agree! It is time to get a deal done.

Such a notion isn't new to those of us (fans, commentators, etc) who've been on the negotiating sideline while the two sides spent the spring and summer bickering about the division of a couple billion dollars.

The time has been "now" for a while; it was there in March, it was there in April, it was there in May -- you get the point. But the benefit of having three of the biggest-named players in the league step up and publicly endorse the current deal on the table is that the public and the NFL are now aware that there's an ultimatum sitting out there from one of the sides.

Is that a good thing? Yes, if the league's feeling rational and actually does want to settle.

See, Brady/Manning/Brees aren't just issuing a press release or a statement indicating that they're ready for football. This is a legitimate statement to be taken seriously; we've seen how the lawyers are willing to hop into the fray and mess things up for everyone else who wants football.

And we should be legitimately concerned that if too many formal offers go back and forth between the two sides over the next couple of days that we could be facing a "walk away and keep suing" situation from the guys whose names are on the lawsuit.

That's the last thing that anyone wants to happen, and it's why the next three days of negotiating are so critical to ensuring that we have football in 2011.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed.
Posted on: July 12, 2011 1:21 pm
Edited on: July 14, 2011 8:36 am

Podcast: How Goodell can repair his image

Posted by Ryan Wilson

With each passing day we're inching closer to the 2011 NFL season. Last month, the word on the street was that there would be a new collective bargaining agreement by mid-July. It now sounds like July 21 is the date a CBA would be ratified and the league season would officially begin.

CBSSports.com columnist Mike Freeman joins Eye on Football host Will Brinson to talk about whether the lockout's actually coming to a close, what Roger Goodell needs to do to repair his reputation with the players (related: what he should also do with Kenny Britt), and if the Hall of Fame Game will go off as scheduled on August 7.

Talking starts below.

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

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

Posted on: July 12, 2011 10:01 am
Edited on: July 12, 2011 10:15 am

Lockout could put Hall of Fame game in jeopardy

Posted by Ryan Wilson

There isn't currently a 2011 NFL season, but July has been a busy month nonetheless. Most of it has been speculation driven -- the lockout will end on this date, free agency will start on that date -- but there's also legitimate hope that a new collective bargaining agreement will be ratified by July 21, no games will be missed, and there will be actual football this fall.

But it's not all rainbows and unicorns. We wrote earlier that the Cowboys might have to cancel their training camp in San Antonio because it's barely a week after the rumored July 21 CBA ratification date.

And while the regular season schedule is safe, as well as the final four weeks of the preseason (and the $800 million in revenues that go with it), the August 7 Hall of Fame game, typically the NFL's first preseason game played during Hall of Fame weekend in Canton, Ohio, could be in jeopardy.

"We have not identified a date by which we have to have an agreement to save the Hall of Fame Game," NFL spokesman Greg Aiello told the Chicago Tribune. "Time is admittedly running short, however."

The Tribune notes that the July 21 ratification date would make it virtually impossible for the two teams playing in the Hall of Fame game, the Bears and Rams, to report to camp on July 22 and begin practicing on July 23.

There are also the "Transition Rules" to consider which, according to an ESPN report, spell out an actual timeline for roster transactions under the July 21 deal scenario, including the start of the new league year during which free agents would become eligible for the open market on July 28.

"This would create a wild period in which business would be done around the clock as teams settle rosters and go to camp at the same time," the Tribune's Brad Biggs and Vaughn McClure report. "Considering the Bears have only 54 players on their roster right now, a figure that includes draft picks, how quickly can Jerry Angelo and Cliff Stein find and sign 36 players?"

With all the deadlines in the 17 days between July 21 and August 7, it's hard to imagine that either team will be ready to play in Canton. The logistics are just too unwieldy.

Earlier this month, Hall of Fame president Steve Perry told ESPN that, depending on when the lockout ended, 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."

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Posted on: July 11, 2011 6:49 pm
Edited on: July 11, 2011 7:52 pm

Report: Asomugha 'too expensive' for Lions

Posted by Will Brinson

The most prized free agent in the upcoming offseason -- as previously noted by our own Pete Prisco -- is cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha.

Many a team is expected to compete for Asomugha and, as we've previously discussed, there have been insane rumors about Nnamdi pulling in upwards of $19 million a year. One of the teams many folks expected to chase the former Raider were the Detroit Lions, an up-and-coming team in need of a cornerback.

However, Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press reported on Monday afternoon that Asomugha is "too expensive" for the Lions' taste and that they'll look elsewhere for secondary help.

"Elsewhere" isn't exactly bad -- Jonathan Joseph, Antonio Cromartie and Ike Taylor are all fantastic "consolation" prizes for teams that don't end up landing Asomugha.

In fact, fellow EoF blogger Ryan Wilson recently noted that Joseph might actually be the "best free-agent cornerback option," simply because his value at $X million a year might be surpass whatever Nnamdi offers at $XX, particularly at his age."
Summer of Nnamdi

Birkett notes as much, pointing out that the Lions would like to add one of those guys "if the price is right."

Of course, none of this precludes Detroit from at least chasing Asomugha, though based on this, they'll eventually pull out of the running when his price tag gets too high.

If and when they do, though, it may be an indication of how much smarter the Lions' current regime is than the last.

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Posted on: July 11, 2011 8:43 am
Edited on: July 11, 2011 9:53 am

Report: New CBA could be ratified by July 21

Posted by Ryan Wilson

A new collective bargaining agreement could be in place and ratified during the July 21 league meetings, ESPN reported Monday morning. This comes on the heels of another report Sunday that the two sides are "in really good shape" and that they're down to "one main issue … the rookie wage scale."

One NFL owner told ESPN over the weekend that there's "no reason to believe [the deal] won't get done." The thinking is that a handshake agreement will be put in place in the next seven to 10 days allowing each side to ratify it and start the 2011 season.

UPDATE (9:45 a.m. ET): ESPN has added the following paragraph to its original report: "However, one member of the players' negotiating team who has been a constant presence at the table said that players feel they have made significant concessions and overtures "that have not been reciprocated."

One issue with the July 21 ratification date: for weeks we've heard that if an agreement wasn't in place by July 15, free agency and training camps could be delayed, and preseason games could be lost, which would cost the owners and players anywhere from $200-$800 million.

The workaround to that, via the ESPN report:
While a rookie wage system has been identified as the most complex issue still to be resolved between the owners and players as they return to the negotiating table this week in New York, the level of overall confidence in reaching an agreement also is evident in a document known as "The Transition Rules" that NFL teams would follow if and when both players and owners ratify a new labor agreement.

The Transition Rules spell out an actual timeline for roster transactions under the July 21 deal scenario, including the start of the new league year during which free agents would become eligible for the open market on July 28.

With the tight timeline, teams will be scrambling to fill rosters that must be set at 90 players on roughly Aug. 3 -- but all training camps would be able to open on time.

If the deal were to be ratified July 21, it would assure that almost all preseason games would be played, according to sources
The only game that might be affected is the August 7 Hall of Fame game, which as of last week was still slated to be played.

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Posted on: July 10, 2011 6:35 pm
Edited on: July 10, 2011 7:14 pm

Report: Agreement could be reached by Friday

Goodell, SmithPosted by Josh Katzowitz

In one of the most optimistic interviews we’ve heard since the lockout began, ESPN’s John Clayton, speaking on ESPN 980 today, said he was “98 or 99 percent” sure that a tentative deal between the NFL and the NFLPA would be done this week.

“We’re in really good shape,” Clayton said. “We’re down to one main issue, which tis on the rookie (wage scale). I don’t think, in the end, they’ll blow the entire season worrying about the fifth year of a rookie contract. The economical issues seem to be in very good shape. They’ve got most of the other stuff done.”

By saying “most of the other stuff” is done, Clayton is claiming that the owners and the players have figured out how to split the $9 billion in revenue. If that’s true, then obviously that’s huge because that was the biggest sticking point between the two sides. It’s been thought that if the two sides get a handle on that major issue, the rest of the negotiations would fall into place rather smoothl.

According to Clayton, the two sides won’t get together until Wednesday night or Thursday of this week, but that’s because apparently they don’t have too much more to talk about.

“The way things went last week, even though there was some bumpiness and some major disagreements, I think Friday is when they’ll get a deal done,” Clayton said.

But that’s not to say it’s only a matter of a few days before the lockout is lifted.

“A lo of things still have to be written,” Clayton said. “A lot of lawyer talk has to be done. A few more things have to be navigated. By Friday, they’ll wake up fresh and get the rest of this stuff done.”

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