Tag:Rosters
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 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.

Latest on Labor

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.

-----

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.)

Latest on Labor

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."
Latest on Labor
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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Posted on: July 15, 2011 12:05 pm
Edited on: July 15, 2011 1:13 pm
 

Report: Economics portion of a new CBA are 'done'

Posted by Will Brinson

On Thursday night, CBSSports.com's Mike Freeman reported that the NFL's labor situation was close to an end and that the NFL and players' efforts at getting a new CBA in place were at the "half-yard line."

On Friday, the information relating to the lockout's been flowing in at at a breakneck pace that's so optimistic it would make a scientology recruiter blush.

Two bigger pieces of news stand out. Primarily, there's a report from the NFL Network's Albert Breer, who notes that "the economics of a deal are done." That's something that echoes what Freeman's been hearing, and is particularly awesome to hear. If the money's figured out, everything else will fall into place.

Breer does note that there are "plenty of other hoops" for the respective sides to jump through, including retiree benefits, "player safety, worker's compensation and injury guarantees, and also litigation entanglements."

Latest on Labor

Lest anyone think differently, those are indeed potential dealbreakers, especially if the "litigation entanglements" involve "how to solve future litigation issues" and "what to do with the current lawsuit hanging out there."

But his report on NFL.com, in addition to being a nice place to hear a report that a deal is done on the NFL labor situation, is laced with optimism.

Additionally, Adam Schefter of ESPN reports that a new CBA "will be 7 to 10 years." Though that's a reasonably broad spectrum -- it was widely assumed that eight years was the floor with 12 years as the ceiling -- it's still fantastic news that the progress made by the owners and players hasn't necessitated a shortening of the CBA to five years, simply for the sake of knocking a deal out.

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Posted on: July 6, 2011 1:37 am
Edited on: July 6, 2011 12:00 pm
 

7 questions to ask for the labor home stretch

Posted by Will Brinson

Everyone -- and I mean everyone -- is ready for the NFL to start back up. (Otherwise, we might end up with Brett Favre putting his name back in the active player pool. And that's no good for anyone.)

And while it might be a simple process for the NFL and NFLPA to suck it up, find some common ground and make a deal happen ASAP, there's still a whole pile of issues to handle before we get the season ready to roll.

So, as we head into the hypothetical home stretch of the labor strife that's plagued NFL fans all summer, let's hit up our trusty seven-question format to figure out what it is we need to know in the next 10 days.

1. I just woke up from the Fourth of July ... are these guys close to a deal at all?
Surprisingly, yes, it sure does seem like the NFL and NFLPA are getting somewhere when it comes to negotiating.

At some point, both sides must have seen the balance sheets for what they stand to lose -- $800 million in revenue just from the preseason, not counting salaries! -- by continuing to be stubborn and decided that playing football was in everyone's interests.

Also, it's important to remember that DeMaurice Smith and Roger Goodell didn't exactly know each other well before this whole labor strife went down, and they've been, for all intents and purposes, feeling each other out as things went along.

It's infinitely easier to negotiate with someone you've negotiated with a bunch of times in the past, and trying to strike a deal with someone in a supercharged environment doesn't make things any easier.

Plus, if there's not a deadline for making a deal, you don't see people budge off their stances in negotiations. That's not something that's new to the NFL labor talks.
NFL Labor

2. What are the sticking points now?
The same as they've always been. Revenue sharing tops the list, but it's believed the sides are closer than they've ever been on that issue.

The 18-game schedule's been tabled for the time being.

The owners "agreed" on revenue sharing.

Everyone wants something to happen where Al Davis isn't capable of giving JaMarcus Russell $60 million guaranteed ever again. (Or, at least right out of the draft.)

And everyone agrees that the retired players need better benefits. Although, those guys did just sue everyone, and no one's entirely sure how to get them paid, so that could be a problem. But still, it's something that can be sorted out in a quick fashion when people want to make a deal happen.

Just like the rest of the issues.

3. Is there an actual deadline for the NFL and NFLPA to reach an agreement?

Not technically, no, although July 15th has long been considered the "soft deadline" for making something happen. But a deal could be struck any time between Wednesday, July 6, and September 1 and we could still get a full season football.

The problem is that all teams -- even ones like the Packers -- need some kind of training camp and preparation for the season. That might mean that preseason games become more meaningful, but that's not all bad.

Once we move past July 15, there's no longer a convenient window for both free agency and training camps leading up to a full preseason, and things start to get a little hairer.

One of the more interesting aspects to watch about this soft deadline is whether or not an actual deal has to be in place. The rumors coming from the league are that the lockout can't be lifted until all the legal papers are signed/sealed/delivered, but if there's a firm "handshake agreement" in place by next Friday, it would be pretty surprising to see the two sides haggle over some signatures.

4. Are the lawyers really trying to screw the talks up?
You know what my dad always likes to point out to me? That the difference between a dead lawyer in the road and a dead squirrel in the road are the tire marks in front of the squirrel.

And my dad's a lawyer.

Jeff Kessler and Jim Quinn have $10-plus billion reasons to consider trying to keep the two sides in court for the duration of the season. (A favorable verdict for the players would generate a big, old trough full of money, of which they'd get to amply slurp at.)

Which is why it's good news that the team of attorneys for the players are supposedly reworking their contract (and/or that De Smith listened to my man Mike Freeman's advice) -- if Quinn and Kessler are off of the contingency-fee deal, there's much less motivation for them to stay in court for a lengthy amount of time.

5. Wait, what about that whole "the players sued the owners and everyone's fighting in court" thing?
The rulings at the District Court in Minnesota and the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals are the gigantic elephant and gorilla, respectively, that you see in the back of the metaphorical room.

As of now, both the television ruling from Judge David Doty at the District Court level (leveraging how much in damages the players are owed) and the ruling on the permanency of the lockout (leveraging how long the owners can keep the players away from work) are in a holding pattern.

This is because the two sides have continually made progress on a deal that could get done without the court having to rule either way on either issue.

If the two courts do rule, though, things are going to get ugly, because suddenly all the angry feelings the two sides have temporarily put aside are going to start rearing up again.

6. Enough lawyer stuff -- when does my team get to sign free agents?
This is probably the trickiest question of all, because it's going to depend on the lockout being lifted first, natch.

But let's say that a deal does happen by July 15 and the lockout's lifted -- then we're probably facing a 48-hour (or thereabouts) window with which teams have to wait to sign free agents.

It's possible, based on some reports, that teams -- like the Carolina Panthers -- with a lot of restricted free agents (RFAs) will help muscle some sort of right of first refusal deal into the new CBA.

That scenario would give teams like the Panthers a chance to ink their big-name players -- in this case DeAngelo Williams and Charles Johnson -- that they didn't expect to become free agents.

But it's highly unlikely that the players cave on that issue, if only because the owners choose to opt out of the CBA themselves, thereby setting up a scenario in which the market became flooded with an unexpected amount of high-quality players.

7. So what are the chances a deal actually happens by July 15?
I'm going with the same answer I gave three months ago (before the lockout!): 75 percent. That doesn't make me a soothsayer, and it might actually make me wrong for the time being, but there really is too much to lose for both sides not to make something happen.

Don't get me wrong -- there is PLENTY that can cause these talks to explode and send both sides scurrying away from the negotiating table, back into the court room and as far away from the football field as you can get.

We could lose the preseason. And we could still lose the regular season.

But right now, both the owners and the players know there's a 10-day-ish window in which they can hammer out a deal, get the season started on time, make all the money they would have made anyway, and get right back in the good graces of football fans everywhere.

And the difference between now and the beginning of March isn't just a calendar date -- this time around, both sides appear ready to work with each other to make a deal happen and get football back on track.

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Posted on: June 24, 2011 12:50 am
Edited on: June 24, 2011 2:44 pm
 

NFL could expand training camp rosters to 90

Posted by Will Brinson

Though plenty of general managers and coaches around the NFL threw their support behind the owners, it's pretty obvious that the men who run the day-to-day operations around the league aren't thrilled with how difficult it is to actually do that amid a lockout.

So here's some good news for coaches, GMs and would-be NFL rosterees: the league is reportedly considering an expansion of camp rosters from 80 to 90 players prior to the 2011 season.

"I don't know anyone in my position who wouldn't support it," one general manager told Jason LaCanfora of the NFL Network. "We'd love to be able to bring 90 in (for training camp). And from the players' side, it's more opportunities for them."

The logic here is pretty simple: training, teaching and evaluation has gone down the tubes thanks to the lockout, and adding bodies will increase the ability of teams to see who they're interested in.

It would also benefit the players, as an extra 300-some players would gain an opportunity to make a regular-season NFL roster.

And the fans would win as well, because it would, hopefully, mean less injuries during training camp and preseason games.

Really, the only downside might be for owners, who would see an increase in payroll thanks to the beefed-up rosters. Considering the financial concession the players already appear to be making in order to crank up progress, though, that doesn't really feel like too much to ask, even for the stingiest of owners.

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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