I think we are only a couple of weeks away from ending the lockout. The tone from the owners and the reports have seemed much more optimistic as of late, including from this past Tuesday when more details of the proposed collective bargaining agreement were revealed to all of the owners. The meeting reportedly lasted five hours, with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell calling it a "good discussion" and Patriots owner Robert Kraft saying that "things are moving in the right direction."
Several reporters/columnists from ESPN were able to attain details that appear to be a part of the proposed CBA. Here is a summary of the major revelations:
- Revenue Share: The players would receive a maximum of 48 percent of "all revenue," and that figure will never dip below 46.5%. This seems to be the figure that the two sides have reached a good compromise on, so hopefully it sticks.
- Salary Cap / Rookie Wages: Teams will be required to spend almost 100% of their salary cap, a change that would raise the salary cap floor and possibly hurt teams with lower revenue. Something to address the "rookie wage scale" is expected to be included in the CBA too, but the specific details were not outlined by ESPN.
- Unrestricted Free Agents: If/When a new CBA is reached in a couple of weeks, all players who have expired contracts and four or more years of experience will become unrestricted free agents. Franchise tags are expected to carry over, so I think Phil Dawson should be set with us. The talent pool for free agency is expected to increase dramatically though, because the "tenders" that teams made before the lockout are expected to be meaningless; those "restricted free agents" will become unrestricted free agents.
- Thursday Night Changes: Don't worry about this one for the 2011 season; there will only be the same amount of Thursday Night games as there have been already. However, when TV contracts are set to be renegotiated in 2014, a 16-game (or, more appropriately, a full season worth) package of Thursday Night NFL games is expected to be available. This will generate a lot of extra revenue due to it being in prime time and could alleviate some of the pressure to move to an 18-game season for more money. 18 games are not mandated in the proposed CBA, but it can be revisited in the future.
Please share your thoughts on the CBA proposals.