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Packers News: NFL Lockout Deal Coming?

Posted: 22 Jun 2011 04:34 AM PDT

Legendary senior writer jclombardi highlights NFL lockout & potential deal news.

Owners See Deal Coming: Not every owner is on board, but minimal opposition was found during Tuesday's expanded meetings. Owners and team management personnel, in attendance to help outline a schedule for free agency, collectively created momentum toward a new CBA with little dissent.

The proposed CBA would provide players with 48 percent of all revenues. It would do away with “designated revenue” income and remove the $1 billion in credits that owners currently take off the top of the $9 billion-plus in revenues generated by the league. Under the terms presented Tuesday, players would actually share in a bigger pie. Also key is that franchises would be required to spend 100 percent, or close to it, of that year’s salary cap, in terms of real cash expenditures. The salary cap essentially is a bookkeeping number, one that can be massaged up or down with several of the mechanisms available to teams, and there have been several clubs whose “real” payrolls have fallen short of the cap number. Players would qualify for unrestricted free agency after four accrued seasons, which basically turns back the clock to pre-2010 levels. Last season, as a function of the “uncapped” year, players needed six seasons for unrestricted free agency. The league would market a new 1-game Thursday night schedule, beginning in 2012. Bidding on the Thursday night schedule would be one cornerstone of what the NFL and players agree could be skyrocketing revenues in the next decade. It is generally assumed a rookie wage scale will be part of a CBA, but that is one of several elements still being negotiated.

NFL owners, players meet again Wednesday: The next time NFL owners meet over labor, there is hope it will be to ratify a new collective bargaining agreement with the players. Optimism is in the air, for sure. That doesn't mean the end of the lockout is at hand. Owners were briefed Tuesday on discussions for a new CBA that would net the players just under 50 percent of total revenues. Next up: more talks with the players in the Boston area. Several people with knowledge of the negotiations told The Associated Press that Commissioner Roger Goodell and his labor committee will meet with players association chief DeMaurice Smith on Wednesday and Thursday. The owners spent five hours Tuesday getting updated on various CBA issues. The people spoke on condition of anonymity because the negotiations are supposed to be confidential.

Proposed CBA deal details pitched to NFL owners: • Players get 48 percent of “all revenue.” • Players’ share will never dip below 46.5 percent, under new formula being negotiated. • Teams required to spend close to 100 percent of the salary cap. • Rookie wage scale part of deal but still being “tweaked.” • Four years needed for unrestricted free-agent status. Certain tags will be retained, but still being discussed. • 18-game regular season designated only as negotiable item and at no point is mandated in deal. • Full 16-game Thursday night TV package beginning in 2014. • Owners still will get some expense credits that will allow funding for new stadiums. • Retirees to benefit from improved health care, pension benefits as revenue projected to double to $18 million by 2016.

Full-Season Thursday Night Package Part of the New CBA

Posted: 22 Jun 2011 02:52 AM PDT

A new 16-game Thursday night TV package beginning in 2012 will be the source of new revenue for the NFL.

It is assumed that all or part of the Thursday night packet may go out to bid to various networks. Currently 8 games have been carried on the NFL Network. In a competitive bidding situation the NFL could realize over $1 billion in TV rights for these games. Recently ESPN paid close to $2 billion for Monday Night Football rights through 2023.

It is unclear whether NFL Network would retain any of the Thursday night games. Having a game on Thursday night for 16 weeks would mean there are NFL games on Thursday, Sunday and Monday, and come December, Thursday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday.

Jaguars RB Jones-Drew Says Garrard Deserves More Time as Starting QB

Posted: 21 Jun 2011 07:48 PM PDT

Maurice Jones-Drew, who has rushed for over 1,300 yards in back-to-back seasons, said Monday on “NFL Total Access” that the offense needed more time to develop, not a new face of the franchise.

“I just feel like what we needed as an offense wasn’t a new quarterback, we just needed another year amongst each other because we had a lot of new players come in,” Jones-Drew said. “You see a team like the Patriots or the Steelers or the Colts, those guys (have) been in the same system for the 10, 12 years together, and so that’s what we’re trying to grow right now.”

Jones-Drew — a fan of current Jaguars quarterback David Garrard — admitted he was “very shocked” that the Jags used their first pick on a QB. Jones-Drew said team officials explained to him that Garrard would benefit from competition in the same way he did back in 2007 when he unseated Byron Leftwich as starter.

“They’re just trying to get that competitive thing going again and, I mean, it’s going to be fun to watch,” Jones-Drew said. “But I know David will win. He’s a fighter, that’s what he does.”

Goodell: “Players and Owners are Talking to One another”

Posted: 21 Jun 2011 06:44 PM PDT

In his press conference after the NFL owners meetings, Commissioner Roger Goodell said he believes the owners are determined to get a deal done with the players.

“We have a very strong view of the priorities, a very strong view of what we need to continue to accomplish in the negotiations, and a determination to get there,” Goodell said. I think the ownership is unified on that basis.”

“The ownership has a better idea of the framework (for an agreement),” Goodell continued. “It was a good day in that we had a full discussion of the issues.”

But Goodell cautioned that there is a lot of work still to be done.

“The agreement that we are focusing on has to address several issues. Those issues are complex. And it needs to be done in a way that’s fair to the players, fair to the clubs, and most importantly allows us to continue to have that full 2011 season.”

"I think it's a tremendous positive that the principles are talking," Goodell said. "Players and owners are talking to one another, negotiating, and I think that's a positive step. Hopefully we'll be successful in reaching an agreement that's fair and balanced for everybody."

Steve Smith, Ochocinco, and Haynesworth Headline Post-Lockout Trades

Posted: 21 Jun 2011 03:54 PM PDT

Once the lockout is over, free agency will be pandemonium, as will the trades. These are trade possibilities.

Patriots 3rd Round Pick to the Bengals for Chad Ochocinco
Why it makes sense:
Even if the Jets lose several of their playmakers, the Patriots don’t have a big play receiver like Brandon Marshall, Santonio Holmes or Steve Johnson for any division shootouts and they haven’t had the success replenishing the corps in the draft the way the Steelers and Colts have.
Who wins:
I give a slight edge to the Patriots. Ochocinco is getting old but – then again – so are many on the Patriots offense and they could use him as a 2-3 year rental and have him locked in across from Branch with Welker in the slot, developing back-ups Brandon Tate and Julian Endelman each season. If Ochocinco really caused discord in the locker room, then the Bengals win for getting a 3rd rounder for him as they charge forward with a youth movement. Ultimately, though, the Pats have more than one 3rd round pick, so it doesn’t mess up their draft if Ochocinco gets hurt.

Eagles 2012 4th round pick to the Redskins for Albert Haynesworth
Why it makes sense: Albert hates playing nose in the 3-4 and has exchanged words through the media with his defensive coordinator. He always played hard for Jim Washburn, Haynesworth’s former defensive line coach who wants him “badly” to be an Eagle like he is now.
Who wins: The Eagles.
I’m firm believer that players only ruin locker rooms if there are no leaders, so Philly would gain more than the Redskins would.

Chargers 2012 4th round pick to the Panthers for Steve Smith
Why it makes sense: This would be a sweetheart deal, like when the Eagles let McNabb have input on where he would be traded, or when the Chiefs sent Gonzalez to the Falcons so he would have an opportunity to win a title or when Roger Goodell stepped in to try to make the Packers trade good ‘ol #4. Steve Smith is one of those great players who did a lot for an organization and one could argue he deserves a better fate than spending the end of his career on a team that will be a project. The Chargers have franchised Vincent Jackson but I don’t think they feel confident in Malcolm Floyd as a #2. A spectacular aerial display could bring fans into Qualcomm Stadium and prevent a move to LA.
Who wins: The Chargers.
It’s clear from how much Cam Newton desires him to stay that he can still be a great number 1 receiver.

The Raiders’ Stanford Routt for the Cowboys’ Terence Newman
Why it makes sense: Newman is likely to be cut, Routt just slammed his team’s defense.
Who wins: The Cowboys. Newman’s skills have gone down hill. This trade is unlikely, but I don’t know how new head coach Hue Jackson will deal with the criticism.

Dolphins 2012 1st round pick for the Eagles’ Kevin Kolb
Why it makes sense: The Eagles don’t need three good quarterbacks, and – since it appears they believe in Mike Kafka – Kolb would fetch them at least a second round pick. The Dolphins are desperate not to let their 2010 acquisitions and stout, young defense go to waste with Chad Henne making bad throws.
Who wins: The Dolphins, and Marshall and Bess fantasy owners.
Also, – while the Cowboys getting Rob Ryan, the Redskins getting Atogwe and great rookies and the Bucs upgrading their pass rush will effect those respective fantasy defenses – fantasy defenses will be most affected by the wide receivers mentioned earlier, Plaxico Burress, and Kevin Kolb. Kolb to the Dolphins would have incredible ripple effects in fantasy football.

I gave the team receiving the vet the edge but it’s not based on the fact that you never know for sure what you have in a draft pick, even after you draft the player. I simply feel that – in each case – the team getting the vet is getting a great deal, other than the Miami trade. That one was really close. You gotta feel good if you are Philadelphia if they even get a 2nd-round pick for a player they don’t intend on playing.

Of all the trades, I think the Patriots one would be the most lopsided. A 3rd round pick is a big cost for most teams, a little more than what Baltimore gave up for Anquan Boldin. But, it would be so much harder for the Patriots to draft a guy or move a guy up on the depth chart and get the same level of moves, route-running and work ethic that Chad Ochocinco has. The Pats have so many picks in the upcoming draft that they can still get guys they want and trade for Ochocinco.

Former Giants Super Bowl Hero David Tyree Says He’d Give Back Catch to Stop Gay Marriage

Posted: 21 Jun 2011 11:42 AM PDT

The debate over same sex marriage in the state of New York has been a huge topic as of late, and now that debate is spreading over into the world of sports with a former Giants legend.

At least a legend for one play.

That one play of course comes from Super Bowl XLII hero David Tyree, who pulled in what some think is still the biggest and best play in Super Bowl history, holding a ball against his head and fighitng off Pats safety Rodney Harrison to eventually set up the game-winning score in the 17-14 win.

Tyree, who has since left the game, is a huge advocate against gay marriage, spoke to New York Daily News about the subject, saying he would be happy to give the catch back if he could stop gay marriage.

Tyree, who called the catch a “gift” he couldn’t repeat if he tried, said “there’s nothing worth more than [maintaining heterosexual marriage] right here for me.”

Asked if he’d give up the Super Bowl to stop gay marriage, Tyree said: “Honestly, I probably would.”

“Nothing means more to me than that my God would be honored,” he said. “Being the fact that I firmly believe that God created and ordained marriage between a man and a woman, I believe that that’s something that should be fought for at all costs.”

“So I’ll lay down everything I am to preserve the honor and integrity of the God that I serve.”

He said his new role as a gay marriage opponent sheds deeper meaning on his Super Bowl catch. “Perhaps God orchestrated that play to give me a platform for what I’m doing here today: To urge political leaders all over our nation to reject same-sex marriage,” he said.

Agree with Tyree or not, you have to give him credit for sticking up for what he believes in, and stating how he feels. Most players would never tackle such a hot topic, or more so would say they would give back the biggest play of their career for something they believe in.

There is a chance that a vote this week to legalize gay nuptials, advocates on both sides of the issue will take place. Tyree will continue to voice his opinion for what he believes in.

Details of Proposed NFL CBA Revealed

Posted: 21 Jun 2011 11:32 AM PDT

Chris Mortensen of ESPN reports among the details NFL commissioner Roger Goodell is revealing to owners Tuesday at the owners’ meeting in Rosemont, Ill., is that in the next proposed agreement players will receive a 48 percent share of “all revenue,” without the $1-billion-plus credit off the top that had been a point of contention in earlier negotiations, according to sources familiar with the presentation.

Under the new formula being negotiated, players will receive 48 percent of all revenue and will never dip below a 46.5 percent take of the money, sources said.

In the previous collective bargaining agreement, players received approximately 60 percent of “total revenue” but that did not include $1 billion that was designated as an expense credit off the top of the $9 billion revenue model. Owners initially were seeking another $1 billion in credit only to reduce that amount substantially before exercising the lockout on March 13.

Ultimately, the two sides have decided to simplify the formula, which will eliminate some tedious accounting audits of the credit the players have allowed in the previous deal. NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith has stated that players were actually receiving around 53 percent of all revenues instead of the much advertised 60 percent.

A rookie wage scale will be part of the new deal but is still being “tweaked,” and the much-discussed 18-game regular season will be designated only as a negotiable item with the players and at no point is mandated in a potential agreement. A new 16-game Thursday night TV package beginning in 2012 will be the source of new revenue.

Cautious expectations on the two sides reaching an agreement in principle are varied, ranging from one-to-three weeks with the hopes of beginning a new league year (free agency, etc.) by mid-July.

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