Scoring the NFL CBA Negotiations Fight

The word around the water cooler is that the players and owners are making progress towards a new agreement that would end the NFL lockout, and bring us football on schedule.

And as usual, it looks like the owners got the better of the players.

At this point the details are hazy, but here’s a quick list of agreements the two sides are apparently coming to terms on:

$1 billion slice eliminated
Previously when dividing up league revenue, the first thing the owners would do was skim a billion bucks off the top and just divide it amongst themselves. They’d chuckle and call this “an expense credit.” After which there was still around $8 billion to play with, so the players and everyone else would still get paid. None the less, the slice was the icing on the cake for those lucky enough to own an NFL team.

Can you imagine? You and 31 of your buddies sitting in some fancy room, smoking cigars, throwing million dollar stacks of cash in each other’s laughing faces. Swimming in Ducktails style vaults of cash. Eating cash sandwiches.

The extra $1-billion is out too
The owners actually came in wanting more money for their cash orgy, but gave it up. These first two points would be wins for the players except…

The players percentage has also been cut
After the owner’s would dip in, the players then used to receive around 60% of the revenue still on the table. Under this new agreement that percentage might be reduced to under 50%. I am no math whiz, so we could just call the whole thing even; both parties made concessions (apparently) in favor of creating a more healthy and adjusted money pile.

However, I am compelled to call NOT being financially brutalized a token win for the players.

Players with four, five, and six years of service are unrestricted free agents
Win for the players, all that qualify can now jump into the open market earlier. Plus if this goes through, any tender offered to a restricted free agent with five years experience prior to the lockout would now be void. This would apply to Evan Moore, and Eric Wright of the Browns. D’Qwell Jackson was offered a second-round tender too, but then signed a one year contract so he’ll be back.

That’s about it for anything that could be considered a win for the players.

18-game schedule is out
The players will say this was a win for them, but I’ll never buy it. This was a calculated ruse to sidetrack the players into giving up something else they didn’t have to. The owners thus won something below for free, by conceding an issue they just pretend to care about. Brilliant. I award them full points, and may god have mercy on their souls.

Thursday games
Win for the owners; it gives them a chance to make new money. Win for the fans? We’ll have to see. If it’s just normal football on Thursday night I could dig that. If it’s special rich-man’s football requiring some snazzy cable package to watch, then I don’t. Plus, Thursday games do make it harder to manage your fantasy football rosters.

Oh yeah, that reminds me: Fantasy football is NOT canceled next year! Win for the fans.

Franchise tags will remain
This is a nice win for the owners and the fans. The players have long despised being forced to remain with certain teams, even though they are paid handsomely for receiving a tag. Giving small markets the chance to hold onto their marketable star players gives the league more good teams overall, and that’s good for competitive balance. That’s why football is great.

For example, Colts fans and ownership now won’t have to sweat out a decision-like free agency death race for Peyton Manning, who was tagged prior to the lockout. Phil Dawson will also be a Brown.

Health benefits for players will be improved
Surprise, I am going to score this one in the owner’s column too. Sure on the surface it’s a win for the players. They need collision insurance and pensions and now they have it. But this is America not some 3rd world country, they never should have NOT had these benefits in the first place. This is the way it should be. Tricking the players into buying back something that was stolen from them is a win for the owners.

A new rookie wage scale is sliding towards probably
Everyone knew this was coming, a layup for the owners. For the players this must have felt like defending that over-the-top drunk friend we all have. Sure you defend them, as a friend you have to, but deep down you can see how their sloppy, disgusting, inebriation annoys everyone.

There is more to come, but for now I am going to score this:

Owners – 7
Players – 2.5

The players get the benefit of the doubt for withstanding the owner’s financial anaconda squeeze (a feat in itself), but I’ll only award them half points for the 3 revenue categories above since what they really did was play the owners to a draw. That’s 1.5 points, plus a point for winning the restricted free agency battle. = 2.5

The owners meanwhile won the rookie wage scale, franchise tag, and Thursday game scenarios; 3 points and the win right there. But, they also get double points for losing the health benefits and 18-game schedule battles on purpose. Thus, 4 additional points for juking the players on those 2 categories. = 7

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