(Bumped to the front page by 3k. Great take on the lockout, which is the reason I cry myself to sleep at night now.)
While the fight goes on the players and the owners trade barbs and each offer made by the league is essentially ignored by the players representatives. The players are fixated on their old CBA and they want to run by those rules.
Do the players even realize what they are fighting for? Under the old CBA the minimum salaries are upwards of 350K depending on years of service it ranges up to a million dollars. The rank and file players of the NFL who make up the majority of the league will not be getting much more then that with a new deal so why this big fight?
We keep hearing that the players are fighting about what they want the cap to be in future years however many teams do not even spend up to the cap. The players that look to benefit from a new CBA with more sharing of revenue are only the elite players that push this cap number and these elite players make up a very small portion of the overall league.
Let's look at some of what we have heard so far from the leagues proposal and see what exactly the rank and file players are going to get from this new deal if they simply accepted the deal that is on the table.
More after the jump
The union left a very good deal on the table. It included an offer to narrow the player compensation gap that existed in the negotiations by splitting the difference; guarantee reallocation of savings from first-round rookies to veterans and retirees without negatively affecting compensation for rounds 2-7; ensure no compensation reduction for veterans
Splitting the difference at the time of this offer took the NFLs reduction in cash to the players from 700 million dollars to 350 million dollars. This equates to 10.9 million dollars in difference from the CAP the players wanted to the cap value that was offered. We all know two things here
1. Teams are not required to spend to the cap
2. The real extra dollars will go to the team "studs" not the rank and file players who are generally ruled by the NFL minimums.
Let's break this down, the approximate savings numbers from the reduction in
The deal guaranteed that no current players would get salary cuts due to the cap. It also guaranteed the money from the rookie wage scale would go back to the vets.
The approximate dollars in savings from the change in guaranteed money to the rookies amounted to 250 million dollars that would go tot he vets. So yes that cap is smaller but a large portion of that smaller cap would go to the vested vets.
So now we are arguing over 100 million dollars in money going to the vets. Again divide this by 32 and you get 3.1 million dollars in actual money reduced on a per team basis going to the players. I do not have the numbers but this makes me wonder how many teams were at least 3.1 million below the cap in the last operating year.
So the financial gap in the last offer made for vets was truly only 3.1 million per team.
Now let's move on to the other points.
2. implement new year-round health and safety rules
Sounds good on paper but not sure what this really means.
3. retain the current 16-4 season format for at least two years with any subsequent changes subject to the approval of the league and union
So the league dropped the 18 games the players did not want
4. Establish a new legacy fund for retired players ($82 million contributed by the owners over the next two years).
The players seem to be short sighted in considering this, this is 41 million per year over the next few years from that final 100 million going toward the retired players(which they will all be some day)
5. The expanded health and safety rules would include a reduction in offseason programs of five weeks (from 14 to nine) and of OTAs (Organized Team Activities) from 14 to 10; significant reductions in the amount of contact in practices; and other changes.
So less pay = less work. This makes sense and reduces the OTAs that the players wanted reduced.
I know this is just some summary items but WHAT are they really fighting over. This deal was negotiable but the players have yet to offer a single counter offer.
The ranks and file players will see almost no benefit from the old CBA and no financial hit from this offer. Even those few elite players eating up the cap money will see a pretty insignificant difference in their pay.
I believe that the real issue at this point is that the players have selected a litigator to represent them and not a negotiator. DeSmith's specialty is not going to be getting a CBA done but rather attempting to sue the league till they are on their knees and give back the old CBA.
With the recent win in the courts and a bleak outlook in the 8th circuit appeal the players need to re-think what they are really fighting for here and get to the table. They are not worlds apart on a deal, but they are worlds apart in their strategy and getting further.
The players seem willing to lose more money in game checks then they stand to gain in a new agreement even if halfway through the season they get the old CBA back. They need to think long and hard about what their goals are here and make their representatives work towards those goals and get to the table.
the only way we see a full season at this point is if the players begin the process of working on a deal and drop the pipe dream of extending a deal that is already gone.