FanDuel - WFBC

May 20, 2008

NFL Owners Vote Unanimously to End Collective Bargaining Agreement: ESPN's John Clayton reports, "The NFL officially notified its players union on Tuesday that it will opt out of the current collective bargaining agreement, which could lead to a season without a salary cap in 2010 and a possible lockout in 2011." CBS Sports NFL reporter Clark Judge says the move was motivated by owners wanting to lower the amount of revenue devoted to players, pay less to rookies, and recoup bonuses paid to contract-breaking players.

posted by BornIcon to football at 08:56 AM - 13 comments

Obviously each side wants more money, but anyone know what specifically is at issue with the current CBA?

posted by jmd82 at 11:19 AM on May 20

JMD beat me to it. Not being on top of this, why would the owners opt out? If the owners opt out, then the salary cap / threshold goes away. I would think most team gross salaries go up in this case. Plus it would be disruptive to league parity - the strong (rich) will get stronger. Why would the owners prefer going uncapped and why would the players oppose it? IMO - of all major pro sports leagues in the US, labor relations (owners vs. players), football seems to be more balanced than other sports.

posted by endorfin at 11:41 AM on May 20

Because the CBA isn't just between the owners and the players. It's also between the owners and the owners. Right now every penny earned from selling New England Patriot jerseys is thrown into a pot along with every penny earned from selling Devin Hester Magical Shoes of +2 Agility and every the penny earned from selling the Miami Dolphins 2007 Season highlights dvd. The players then get 59% of this pot and the rest is shared out evenly among the 32 teams. If there's no CBA then there's no "TFR" (total football revenue) sharing and then suddenly clubs get to keep the money they make from alternative sources such as stadium naming rights and merchandising. The Jacksonville Jaguars want 1/32 of the Cowboys' revenue much more than Dallas wants 1/32 of the Jags' sales, so it appears financially rewarding to Jerry Jones for him to vote nay. Of course, if it kills competition in the league and nobody watches then he could end up getting a bigger slice of a smaller pie, but they could always put the CBA back after a couple of seasons of printing money.

posted by Mr Bismarck at 12:37 PM on May 20

The Jacksonville Jaguars want 1/32 of the Cowboys' revenue much more than Dallas wants 1/32 of the Jags' sales, so it appears financially rewarding to Jerry Jones for him to vote nay. If the vote wasn't unanimous, then small market vs. big market pressure could explain some of it. But clearly there are bigger issues at play here, and I can't figure out why the NFL would play with fire by ending its current labor agreement early. NFL owners have given their players the worst deal among the big three sports -- most notably with no guaranteed contracts -- and their league makes the most money. Why mess that up?

posted by rcade at 01:08 PM on May 20

Ok, what just happened there. The link at the top isn't the one I replied to any more. That aside, I'm shocked that it was voted down unanimously, as it only needed nine votes to break the current CBA. I presume the smaller teams are either in a serious financial hole or they've been given the wink that they'll be looked after, provided they help the big owners show a united front to the player's union.

posted by Mr Bismarck at 01:16 PM on May 20

Yea, the old link was a USAtoday article...strange.

posted by jmd82 at 01:55 PM on May 20

The old link was pointing to an article that said this might happen. Now that it is official, I'm guessing the powers that be decided to make it current.

posted by opel70 at 02:04 PM on May 20

I think the two biggest issues are the rookie salaries (which are completely out-of-control), and the ability to get bonus money back from knuckleheads. I can certainly see the owners being united on those fronts. Historically, the NFL owners have done a much better job of recognizing the need for the health of the smaller-market teams than baseball has, although admittedly, it's a bit of an apples-and-oranges comparison. Since there are no local television contracts in the NFL, that income discrepancy isn't what it is in baseball. But in baseball, there is a long and sordid history of mistrust between the owners and players, and greed seems to trump common sense on both sides most of the time. In football, the relations between owners and players and within each faction has been largely amicable and more oriented toward what's best for all involved. This is largely why football was able to readily adopt revenue sharing, a salary cap, and drug testing, while baseball couldn't get any of those done without massive turmoil. Just my opinion, of course.

posted by TheQatarian at 02:37 PM on May 20

The old link was pointing to an article that said this might happen. Now that it is official, I'm guessing the powers that be decided to make it current. Yep. USA Today didn't update its story with the new news, so I found a newer link.

posted by rcade at 03:15 PM on May 20

"The old link was pointing to an article that said this might happen. Now that it is official, I'm guessing the powers that be decided to make it current." I guess. But the link switch makes it look like I didn't bother to RTFA before making my first post.

posted by Mr Bismarck at 03:17 PM on May 20

I cant see how the owners would want to let the players get a taste of a no cap season. Every agent must be drooling like a madman at the thought of this. If there's no new CBA in place before 2010 you can be sure there will be a lockout in 2011. I just hope this doesnt turn the NFL into what the NHL was a few years ago.

posted by jda at 03:55 PM on May 20

Well, personally I would like to see the Niners get some money back from Alex Smith and a few other over-paid under-achievers. I'm also not too bummed about a potential strike season using replacements. Not only would it be another opportunity for a cheesy football movie, but the Niners might have a shot at a winning season.

posted by irunfromclones at 03:57 PM on May 20

Goodell's e-mail listed three reasons for the early termination: high labor costs, problems with the rookie pool and the league's inability, through the interpretation of the courts, to recoup bonuses of players who subsequently breach their contract or refuse to perform. I can agree with only one of the three things on the owners' list, the last one. Then again, that is partially their own fault for not putting a clause into player contracts to cover that problem. Also, the owners have no room to bitch and moan regarding "high labor costs" and what percent of league revenue the players get. These are the same owners that created the multi-million dollar bidding wars for the players, correct? I understand how profitable the NFL is, but if there is a lockout in 2011, or any season for that matter, I honestly hope the owners never turn a profit again. I would never watch the NFL again.

posted by jojomfd1 at 01:56 AM on May 21

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