Tag:NFL lockout
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
Posted on: July 8, 2011 3:42 pm
Edited on: July 8, 2011 4:04 pm
 

Website obtains NFL financial records

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

Deadspin.com has obtained the NFL’s audited financial statements from the period between March 31, 2009 and March 31, 2010, and one of the more interesting facets to emerge is the loss of low-interest loan payments (called the G-3 fund) the NFL gave to teams building a new stadium.

And author Tommy Craggs writes that it’s no coincidence that when the fund ran out of money in 2007, the owners decided to opt out of the current CBA.

Also interesting: the NFLPA had to approve any of those G-3 loans before it could be given.

Anyway, you might need a finance degree in order to understand the paperwork, but check out Deadspin to look at the 31-page PDF.

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Category: NFL
Posted on: July 8, 2011 10:43 am
Edited on: July 8, 2011 12:44 pm
 

BREAKING: Court of Appeals rules in favor of NFL

Posted by Josh Katzowitz



Update (12:35 pm EST): The NFL and NFLPA issued a joint statement on the court's ruling of the lockout, making it pretty clear that things are not too drastically altered by the ruling.

"While we respect the court’s decision, today’s ruling does not change our mutual recognition that this matter must be resolved through negotiation. We are committed to our current discussions and reaching a fair agreement that will benefit all parties for years to come, and allow for a full 2011 season."

That's exactly what everyone wants to hear from the two sides. Hearing/seeing and doing are two different things, though.

-----

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit has made its ruling: The lockout put in place by the NFL owners is legal.

Which is bad news for the NFLPA.

Just like the rest of its rulings in regards to the Brady v NFL case, the Eight Circuit was split in its decision. Judges Steven Colloton and Duane Benton ruled in favor of the NFL, while Judge Kermit Bye dissented. Read the entire ruling right here (.PDF).

The ruling was not a surprise, especially based on what the judges wrote in their permanent stay ruling in May. The timing was pretty shocking, though, especially since it seemed like the two sides were getting closer on a deal for a new CBA.

How this ruling will affect the lockout is unclear at this point, but if the owners wanted some (but, really only some) leverage, now they have it.

Here are a few keys from the ruling:

- When the NFLPA decertified, the association claimed that the NFL could not go ahead with the lockout, because there was no union anymore -- basically the players claimed the owners couldn’t keep out a bunch of independent contractors. The Eighth Circuit, though, disagreed that the NFLPA could decertify for that reason.

Writes Colloton:
The text of the Norris-LaGuardia Act and the cases interpreting the term “labor dispute” do not require the present existence of a union to establish a labor dispute. Whatever the precise limits of the phrase “involving or growing out of a labor dispute,” this case does not press the outer boundary. The League and the players’ union were parties to a collective bargaining agreement for almost eighteen years prior to March 2011. They were engaged in collective bargaining over terms and conditions of employment for approximately two years through March 11, 2011. At that point, the parties were involved in a classic “labor dispute” by the Players’ own definition. Then, on a single day, just hours before the CBA’s expiration, the union discontinued collective bargaining and disclaimed its status, and the Players filed this action seeking relief concerning industry-wide terms and conditions of employment. Whatever the effect of the union’s disclaimer on the League’s immunity from antitrust liability, the labor dispute did not suddenly disappear just because the Players elected to pursue the dispute through antitrust litigation rather than collective bargaining.
- But the court raised an interesting issue in regards to free agents and rookies not under contract. Basically, the majority opinion writes the NLGA does not cover people who are not employed because there is no employer-employee relationship. If the rookies had signed a contract, then they could be locked out. But perhaps not now.

Instead, Judge Nelson would have to hold hearings with witnesses (and with cross-examination) in order to determine where the NFL could legally lockout those free agents and rookies.

Since the Court rules that Nelson didn’t consider the potential irreparable harm to free agents and rookies in her reasoning for lifting the lockout, the Court invalidated her ruling. And then remands the whole thing back to Nelson.

- The player did get back some leverage when the court expressed “no view on whether the League’s nonstatutory labor exemption from the antitrust laws continues after the union’s disclaimer.”

So, that might be something for the NFLPA to argue at some point. Is the NFL really exempt from antitrust law? The trade association could move ahead with that part of the case, which could be a worry to owners.

Initially, the court ruling sounded really bad for the players, but after looking through it all, it’s not quite all ice cream and sunshine for the NFL.

- Bye gets off a pretty good zinger in his dissent:

Through its holding in this case today, the majority reaffirms the wisdom of the old French saying … : “the more things are legislatively changed, the more they remain the same judicially.” … Despite the repeated efforts of the legislative branch to come to the rescue of organized labor, today’s opinion puts the power of the Act in the service of employers, to be used against non-unionized employees who can no longer avail themselves of protections of labor laws. Because I cannot countenance such interpretation of the Act, I must and hereby dissent.”
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Posted on: July 7, 2011 10:52 pm
Edited on: July 7, 2011 11:40 pm
 

NFL, NFLPA talked for more than 12 hours today

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

The labor negotiations are finished for the day, and it was another long session of work for the NFL and the NFLPA.

According to NFL.com’s Albert Breer, the groups ended their day about 10:45 p.m. ET after more than 12 hours of meeting, and they’ll reconvene in New York on Friday at 9 a.m.

NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith, after paying tribute to John Mackey again, said the two groups have “been working hard all day.” As he tweeted, Breer sensed it had been a tough day between the two sides but that progress continued.

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Category: NFL
Posted on: July 7, 2011 10:27 am
Edited on: July 20, 2011 8:08 pm
 

Podcast: an end to the lockout could be near

Posted by Ryan Wilson

We're getting there, people. An end to the lockout could be a week away, maybe days.

In the latest Eye on Football podcast, we talk about who NFL commissioner Roger Goodell might have in his crosshairs for violating the personal conduct policy in recent months (we're looking right at you, Kenny Britt), as well as which teams would be willing to fork over $19 million a year for Nnamdi Asomugha, even though free agents like Johnathan Joseph and Ike Taylor would come much cheaper (somewhere in the $9 million-a-year range).

Here's to hoping that this is our last lockout podcast ever, because there's only so many times you can discuss where Tiki Barber might sit on the bench next season.

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 7, 2011 9:12 am
Edited on: July 7, 2011 9:38 am
 

Who we want to see on Hard Knocks '11

Hard Knocks (Getty).Posted by Josh Katzowitz

Throughout the lockout that seems neverending -- now at 114 days and counting!!! -- we’ve seen players get arrested, we’ve seen the NFL and the NFLPA come together and then bicker and then come together and then bicker, and we’ve seen players sue their girlfriends for their engagement rings.

Most disturbing, we’ve seen the signs that Brett Favre might want to return for another season.

We’ve also heard plenty about how a lost preseason would cost the NFL $800 million if the lockout continues through August and into September.

But when it comes to the preseason and how much is on the line, you know what we haven’t heard about? We haven’t heard which squad will be the subject of the annual highlight of August –- HBO’s "Hard Knocks."  

Oh, we know which teams have already declined the invitation (or supposedly, declined the invitation). Among them are the Buccaneers, the Broncos, the Lions and the Falcons (who might be open to doing it in the future), and at this point, it seems as if nobody wants to be on the show. Making matters tougher are those who say cooperating with Hard Knocks is a mistake.

Assuming we’ll see a preseason this year that would provide a platform for the Hard Knocks crew to start filming -- and CBSSports.coms’ Mike Freeman writes that it’s getting close --here are five teams we’d like to see featured on Hard Knocks. Many of them might not be interested for one reason or another, but if we have a fantasy roster, this is it.

Panthers


NewtonThe big storyline: Simply put: the entertainer and the icon, Cam Newton. We want to see how he learns the offense; we want to see if his teammates rally around him; we want to get an early idea of whether Carolina made a bad decision last April. Or maybe he’s the next superstar in the game. Either way, he’s one of the biggest storylines of the preseason, and we want to be inside the locker room to see what happens.

The foil: Jimmy Clausen. How is he going to react to Newton? What happens when Newton badly fakes out some defender destined for the practice squad and gains 30 yards on a broken play? Will the director then cut to Clausen as he raises a fist to the sky in anger? And what happens if Clausen, um, actually outplays Newton?

Two other compelling reasons: 1) NFL.com’s Gil Brandt has mentioned in the past couple of days that Favre has offered to help mentor Newton. Can you imagine the video that could come from this, especially if the camera caught Favre alone in the locker room sending a text message? 2) WR Steve Smith: is he going to play for the Panthers or not?

Patriots


The big storyline: The same guy who makes sure this show would never feature his team on his watch. That would be coach Bill Belichick. How fascinating would it be to see how Belichick builds a team and how he relates to his players? Would we get to see Belichick’s team meeting in which he implicitly tells his team how to answer questions from the media (in the most uninteresting way possible)? Kidding aside, we want to see a future Hall of Fame coach behind the scenes and uncensored.

The foil: Rex Ryan. Is there any way to get a split screen of the Jets coach talking trash about Belichick -- hey, he’s not here to kiss anybody’s ring! – while Belichick coldly goes about finding a way to make Ryan pay for his words?

Two other compelling reasons: 1) Danny Woodhead: he was on Hard Knocks with the Jets last season, and though he’s not in danger of being cut with New England, I still want to know why Woodhead, all of a sudden, is so freaking good. 2) G Logan Mankins (and his agent) has said some not very complimentary things about the Patriots management, all in the name of landing a large contract. Will he be kinder and gentler this preseason?

Packers


The big storyline: Obviously, the Lombardi Trophy. Hard Knocks has never followed a team the preseason after it won the Super Bowl, so it’d be cool to see the ring ceremony the public wasn’t allowed to witness a few weeks back (I’m assuming Hard Knocks wasn’t actually there, but it’d be cool nonetheless) while watching the Packers attempt a repeat.

The foil: Charles Woodson vs. Tramon Williams. Woodson is the bigger name, but he’s older than Williams and there’s a pretty good chance Williams is the better CB these days. Maybe we’d really get to see if Woodson is close to the end, and if Williams can replace Woodson’s outrageous production.

Two other compelling reasons: 1) Would Aaron Rodgers sign autographs for the fans at training camp? Because, as we all know, he doesn’t like signing for cancer patients (I kid, I kid). 2) Last year, little-used cornerback Brandon Underwood had a sexual assault charge hanging over his head all season (he pleaded no contest to a lesser charge). Now, he’s been charged with disorderly conduct after an alleged physical altercation with his soon-to-be ex-wife. Underwood isn’t a great quote, but his story might make for an interesting change of pace on the show.

PhillipsTexans


The big storyline: The will-they-or-won’t-they-fire-him as it relates to coach Gary Kubiak. I’m kind of surprised he’s still coaching in Houston actually, and the last time Hard Knocks featured this kind of storyline, it was Wade Phillips with the Cowboys. Now, Phillips is Kubiak’s defensive coordinator. How hot can that boiler room get anyway?

The foil: The secondary. This is what I wrote in the Texans offseason checkup: “The secondary (Kareem Jackson, Glover Quin, Bernard Pollard and Eugene Wilson) were just tremendously bad. If the Texans can’t get this fixed, it doesn’t matter who’s coordinating the defense, because Houston simply won’t win.” I don’t disagree with that.

Two other compelling reasons: 1) Though he came off a bit bumbling in Season 4 with the Cowboys, Phillips is a sympathetic figure. And the man has proved he can coordinate a defense. I want to see how he transforms a 4-3 sieve-like defense into a 3-4 defense that potentially could save Kubiak’s job. 2) Will QB Matt Schaub ever get into the playoffs? He’s the best quarterback in the league who hasn’t gotten there.

Raiders


The big storyline: Obviously, Al Davis, and the one question I want to know. How hands-on is he these days?

The foil: Nnamdi Asomugha: Just like Darrelle Revis last season with the Jets, we’re not going to see too much of the talented free agent cornerback on the TV. Unfortunately, we won’t get to see any of Antonio Cromartie either (psst, see video below).

Two other compelling reasons: 1) New coach Hue Jackson finally gets his chance at running a team. Forget that Tom Cable went 6-0 in the AFC West last year without making the playoffs -- still a pretty damn impressive feat. Davis got rid of him, just like he gets rid of everybody after a couple years. Will Jackson be an exception? 2) Al Davis: Seriously, I want as much Al Davis as possible.



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Posted on: July 7, 2011 9:10 am
Edited on: July 7, 2011 9:17 am
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Posted on: July 6, 2011 7:28 pm
Edited on: July 6, 2011 8:23 pm
 

Report: framework for new CBA could come Friday



Posted by Ryan Wilson

The lawyers for the owners and players met again Wednesday as they continue to work toward a new collective bargaining agreement. And sources tell ESPN that both sides hope to reach a "true framework for a new CBA by the close of business Friday."

If there weren't already enough reasons to end the lockout as soon as possible (the reasons now number into the hundreds of millions), here's another: U.S. District Judge Arthur Boylan, the mediator in the talks, is scheduled to go on vacation Saturday, ESPN reports. And after taking the July 4th weekend off, both sides are committed to staying in New York and working through the weekend if it means getting a deal done.

We have written previously that the lockout could end as early as Sunday, July 10.

For weeks, mid-July had been the cutoff to guarantee that no preseason games were lost, and that training camps would open on time. It would also allow for an abbreviated free-agency signing period.

More from NFL Network's Albert Breer, who appeared on Wednesday's Total Access:
I'm told that today was a very productive day of talks. The talks went right into Wednesday evening, a long day, and it's interesting some of the signs you see during the day watching what was going on. At two o'clock … one of the league's lawyers and the drug czar came in … at a about five o'clock, management counsel lawyers came into the room and they were going over a lot of clarifications and the details of the language of a potential deal. It looks like they've made progress here in finalizing some of the paperwork … that would go into a new collective bargaining agreement.

It doesn't mean that anything's done -- the bigger issues still need to be hashed out -- but what this does is set the stage for a deal when the bigger issues are worked out.
Breer added that "there's a chance this could get taken care of by the end of this week. I think [Thursday] is a very, very big day."

Some fans continue to be cautiously optimistic while others, understandably, are of the "we'll believe it when we see it" mindset. Given all that's happened in the previous four months, we can't blame them. Although we don't have tangible evidence of progress on the labor front, we're taking it as a good sign that the Cowboys have scheduled training camp and that the Hall of Fame game between the Bears and Rams is still a go.

If we're lucky, by the start of next week, the 2011 season will be officially underway and we can get back to worrying about the truly important stuff. Like how many games the Panthers will lose, or which team will actually take a chance on Tiki Barber

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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