Tom E. Curran feels that the new proposal will not be seen as hostile to the players, and gives us an update on what's been learned so far. Here are a few of them:
1. It's important to remember that the players are the ones giving something back here. The owners felt - rightly - that they got taken to the cleaners in 2006 and wanted the CBA reopened so that they could reshape the percentage of total revenue the players get. So the very fact that there will be some change in the owners' favor makes them "winners." But as the outline of the proposal comes into focus, it seems the players are not going to get beaten about the head and face in the new deal.
2. We've had so many numbers and percentages floated at us since the process began - 60-40, 50-50, 58-42 - it's hard to keep track of what exactly the numbers are. Here's the simplest explanation: The NFL reaps $9 billion in revenue. In the past, credits to the owners for spending on game growth totaling about $1 billion were taken off the top. Of the remaining $8 billion, the players took about 60 percent, the owners 40 percent. That meant the players got about $4.8 billion. That's 53 percent of the $9 billion. In the new proposed model, the players will get 48 percent. The foolish "$1 billion off the top then start doing the math" is being tossed. If the revenue were still $9 billion, the players would get $4.3 billion. Yes, that's $500 million less, but remember, at the outset, the players said they'd take a 50-50 split. So the 48 percent works. Why? Read on.
3. ESPN seemed to be the first with the details of the proposal owners discussed on Tuesday. And one of the most beneficial to the players is that teams will be compelled to pay nearly to the salary cap. Previously, there was a "floor" that was significantly lower than the cap. For instance, in 2009, the salary cap was almost $128 million, but the floor was $112.1 million. In the new proposal, even if the salary cap drops to pre-2009 totals - say $120 million (by the way, owners wanted to make it $114 million in 2011 in their final proposal before the lockout), even the poor-mouth teams will be forced to pay close to the cap. The actual numbers aren't yet known.
Jack Bechta (Nat'l Football Post) Five changes brought on by the lockout. Here are the first two:
1. The longer the lockout continues; we will see more aging vets on Sunday. With limited time to prepare rookies and even second year players coming off the practice squad, teams committed to winning now will keep and/or sign older players like S Darren Sharper, CB Al Harris, SS Tyrone Carter, WR Derrick Mason and OL Matt Light. Coaches want players they can trust and depend on to execute their schemes. Experienced vets can excel in situations where preparation time has been limited. Offensive linemen will be especially appreciated to protect premium quarterbacks. Defensive backs and receivers will also benefit.
2. We will most likely see the biggest signing bonuses ever for undrafted free agents. The average signing bonus for an undrafted free agent is usually about $5k with the occasional highs ranging in the $20k to $30k ranges. With teams having the time to watch more film and dig deeper on their evaluations of the players who were overlooked in the 2011 draft, they will focus in on a few that they feel that they just have to have. This will most likely result in the highest signing bonuses we have ever seen for the undrafted free agent market.
- PFW ranks the greatest jersey numbers in Patriots history.
- Erik Scalavino talks about how the PFW crew came up with their "Laundry List".
- Jason La Canfora (NFLN) Fourth-year players would make free-agent class worthwhile.
Jenn Brown spends a day in the country with Ty Warren as he spends the lockout on his ranch in Texas. (3 min. video). Asked if he's at 100%, he replies "fresh as a daisy". Good to hear.
- Ian Rapoport reports the NFL owners and players continued their 'secret' talks in the Boston area.
- Mike Rodak looks at which player has been hurt most by the lockout.
- Tom E. Curran talks about the secrecy behind the current labor talks. (3.16 min. video)
- ESPNBoston introduces fans to Director of Football/Head Coach Administration Berj Najarian, with the Patriots since 2000.
- Christopher Price notes Pro Football Focus examines missed tackles for linebackers and comes up with some interesting numbers.
- Ian Rapoport posts a video of Ron Brace becoming emotional at the outpouring of support for the tornado victims in Springfield. (4.47 min. video)
- NFL Total Access (NFLN) AFC East team needs (5.30 min. video).
- Jonathan Comey (Cold Hard Football Facts) Thursday Night Football: A brief history.
- Leigh Steinberg (Nat'l Football Post) A season of unpredictability.
- Matt Bowen (Nat'l Football Post) Should we give rookies 'a pass' in 2011?
- Len Pasquarelli (Fox Sports) New CBA could open up free-agent pool.
- Bart Hubbuch (NY Post) NFL talks focus on free agents.
- Michael David Smith (ProFootballTalk) Terrell Suggs: Rookies should have to earn their money.
- Michael David Smith (ProFootblalTalk) Ed Reed: I'd retire before having Peyton Manning's neck surgeries.
- Tim Graham (ESPN) Video: Timetable for a new NFL labor deal. (1.41 min. clip)
- Sal Paolantonio (ESPN) Source: NFL talks in the 'right direction'.
- Mike Florio (ProFootballTalk) Report: Wednesday talks were "very fruitful".
- Howard Balzer (Fox Sports) NFL owners finally make real progress.
- Judy Battista (NY Times) NFL set to proceed toward deal with players.
- Galen Moore (Nashville business Journal) NFL, players seen likely to hash revenue & drug tests in Boston meeting.
- Mike Freeman (CBS Sports) Players like CBA deal...so far.
- Mike Florio (ProFootballTalk) New CBA without revenue-sharing changes could be bad news for small markets.
- Mike Freeman (CBS Sports) 18-game season: deader than Richard Nixon.
- Mike Florio (ProFootballTalk) League still not giving in on judicial oversight.
- Greg Couch (Sporting News) NFL fans should feel used in this labor dispute.