Details of NFL deal emerging: Thursday prime time games and true-ups

So much for a total information clampdown. Details of the proposed labor settlement between NFL owners and players have emerged out of today's owners meeting in Chicago. The details, according to early reports, look different from the proposal floated by owners in the hours before the lockout.

Gone from that initial offer is the hard cap, aka the fixed salary cap that left players' share of NFL revenues the same, regardless of how much league revenues grow. That's what will be commonly referred to as "true ups" in the slang. Under the proposal players will receive 48 percent of total league revenues. Under the old CBA they received 60 percent, but that was after owners took $1 billion off the top for expenses like stadiums, etc. The NFLPA estimated that players really received about 53 percent of total league revenues under the old deal. So owners are getting an increased, majority share of the revenue pie under this deal. 

(Read more about why the players were so dead set against a fixed cap - it took lots of money out of their pockets - in this post following DeMaurice Smith's conference call with SBNation writers). 

So why would players be willing to take a reduced cut of the loot? A stipulation in the agreement establishes a salary floor for teams, requiring each franchise to spend a minimum of 90-93 percent of the total salary cap. 

A new source of revenue will also be established via a 16-game Thursday night television package. That will start in 2012. That Thursday night package won't necessarily be on the NFL Network either. Instead, the league will sell it to the highest bidder on the open market. That prime time package could be worth another billion dollars. Details on that are sketchy and changing as we speak

Another detail emerging: 4-, 5- and 6-year players will be eligible for unrestricted free agency. Just when that orgy of cash begins depends on how quickly a deal is reached. 

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