More Talks and More Progress

We are almost there after almost four months of the lockout. More discussions were held in Minnesota earlier this week. A new CBA deal is expected very soon and negotiations have been held frequently.  More talks, more progress, more football.

Unlocking the NFL Lockout

:: The NFL doesn’t have much to do with Social Media other than their marketing efforts, but today some big news was reached within the NFL’s owners and players.

Many articles and posts say that the NFL players were on defense the entire time while trying to reach a deal, while NFL owners knew that regardless of the outcome they would come out smelling like a rose.

Here’s a great article from Greg Rosenthal with NBC Sports recapping “The CBA in a nutshell” where they have “Broken down the deal” as Rosenthal would say.

The league over all is benefiting as many factors such as Minimum Salaries of new players in the league, Bank Accounts of NFL Owners, Small Market Teams and how they spend their revenue.

Things have been adjusted to simply improve the National Football League today.

Here, The Winners, losers from the NFL lockout are also broken down by NBC sports columist Greg Rosenthal.

The good news is we’ll be free of labor challenges, issues and problems for at least the next 10 years.

Aaaahh, our Sunday afternoons and Monday evenings are saved! 

Nachos anyone?
The King has returned to his throne!

Peter King has returned to SI to bring us details on the end of the NFL lockout as well as free agency, injury protection money, no restricted free agency, and 10 years of labor peace is not true at all!  We could revisit this scenario in 6 years!

In addition to Kings “Monday Morning QB” here is another SI article on the end of the NFL Lockout. SI

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Connection Failure

Since there is a lockout right now, the players and coaches and front office workers can’t have any communication with each other. That means that players who need help - financially, legally, etc. - can’t get it from their coaches and front office workers. Players have been getting into a lot of legal trouble this offseason.

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Since March 12, the day the lockout happened, 10 players have been arrested. Among those 10 are Cowboys WR Dez Bryant, Chiefs LB Mike Vrabel, and Buccaneers CB Aqib Talib. On Friday, Dolphins WR Brandon Marshall was stabbed by his wife in the stomach unfortunately. Marshall will be okay in two to three weeks, thankfully, and he can see the team’s doctor. But the coaches and front office workers can’t help him in any way.

Photo: Marshall getting tackled by a Ravens defender. Photo by Larry French/Getty Images.

Although the non-players can’t help the players, the players can help the players. Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald said he is willing to help out his teammates financially. Players who help their teammates would make a huge difference for them. 

Players can get help from other ways than front office workers and coaches. But since front office workers and coaches are the main source of help, it makes the situation worse for both sides. The NFL needs a new CBA as soon as they can so they can get back to talking to these players.

You Got Locked The **** Out!

So here we are. There’s no NFL football and it’s already March. Wait a minute. THERE’S NO FOOTBALL IN MARCH! Ah yes, but there is now also no free agency in March. There’s no off-season workouts in April. Apparently, the new players are not even going to attend the NFL Draft in April. So what right? So what indeed.

The main thing I ask myself is “how do I feel about this situation?” I ask that of myself because I honestly don’t know the answer. I feel somewhat angry as a fan who plunks down quite a few bucks on NFL products throughout the year. They are after all, arguing over OUR money. This isn’t foreign capital from overseas investors they’re fighting over. It’s Joe Sixpack’s semi-disposable income. OUR MONEY.

Not that it’s a terrible thing. I love the NFL and I’m happy to to pay for a product that I enjoy. That’s a basic economic principle. But I feel like I’m getting mugged here. The NFL and the NFLPA are going to go to war over how to split up OUR money. But none of it really has anything to do with US, the fans. Even as the owners argue for player salary rollbacks, not a word is uttered about slashing the insane ticket prices most NFL teams charge.

We’re at another fundamental economic principle here. Growth. Profitability. Sustainability. These are the NFL’s “buzzwords”. What they really want is to continue to increase their profits each year, with no end in sight. The problem is, that’s simply not possible. This is still football, not oxygen, water or the cure for the common cold. Not everybody in the world is a football fan and it’s not possible to convert a lot of these people. So once the NFL has maxed out it’s TV deals, Internet outlets, the NFL Network, NFL Merchandise and whatever else they can think of, where will these future increases in profits come from? Here’s lookin at you kid.

Last time this happened the NFL had some answers. They started their own TV network. They got a jump on the competition in the move to digital media, a major Internet presence and in the social media arena. They built new stadiums to increase both seating capacity and the ever important number of luxury boxes. Get used to that word, luxury. Because that’s the way the NFL is trending. In 10 years, the costs of attending a game will skyrocket even higher than their current ridiculous levels. And Joe Sixpack is gonna wave the white flag and watch from home. On his insane 60 inch, 3D, HD, Super-TV. While wearing a knock off NFL jersey he got for $40 bucks on the Internet. Can’t hardly tell it from the real McCoy. And he’ll enjoy some cold adult beverages and some snacks. All for less than $20. Why pay $200 for a ticket, $25 for parking, $10 per beer and $5 for a hot dog?

This is me, the fan, Joe Sixpack calling my shot. Everybody makes too much money in the NFL (Except the refs, seriously). The players, the coaches, the owners and even the owner’s kids on the payroll for a couple hundred k each year. We, the fans, fund this debacle. And we do it with smiles on our faces. Is it any wonder the NFL doesn’t want to open their books? It’s really a two-fold reason. Part of it is the fact that exactly ZERO NFL teams are failing to turn a profit. The other part is how much money these franchises piss away. How much dead money do some of these teams have on their books? Not only for “no-show” jobs, but for players long since departed and coaches long since fired? How overpaid are the executives? The NFL doesn’t want the fans to know these things anymore than they want the players to know.

Here’s the thing with the NFL and the NFLPA. They had to go to court to make a deal. It’s not a unique occurrence in the world of high-level negotiations. In this case, not only to both sides believe that they are actually correct, but also morally correct. They both feel that they have the high ground and the other side is trying to screw them as hard as possible. Unfortunately they’re both either completely right or completely wrong depending how you look at it. With both sides so entrenched in their respective positions, a good long-term deal wasn’t going to happen organically. One side would have to give too much (which is what happened last time) and we’ll be right back here in 24-36 months. Neither side can afford to make a deal where they feel that they got the worst of it. Putting the legal gun to everybody’s heads is only way to go.

If that was the anger, here’s the sadness. Whatever deal the NFL and the NFLPA arrive at, it’s basically going to be the same deal it would’ve been today. Here’s what will happen, be it next week or next year.

  1. The NFL and the NFLPA will find a common ground in dividing the revenue. Let’s go with the NFL gets half of what they wanted. $500 million instead of $1 billion in additional revenue “off of the top”.
  2. There will be a rookie salary scale that controls the salaries of players drafted in the 1st round. The money the owners save will be diverted to players health and long-term care.
  3. The salary cap will return, with the salary floor ensuring teams spend at least X dollars on players each year.
  4. Players will again be unrestricted free agents after 4 years, as opposed to 6.
  5. The franchise tag stays, all other tags go.
  6. An independent party is selected to arbitrate all player conduct disputes, suspensions and penalties.
  7. Players will be given larger injury protections (monetarily and physically) along with shorter off-season programs and less overall hitting.

That’s not perfect, but I can guarantee these are all in the new CBA. The main difference could be how they choose to whack up the revenue pie, but it will wind up with the owners getting more money, but quite a bit less then they had hoped.

Ultimately, we the fans are kind of screwed. Say we got the dream deal for the fans. A 50% rollback. On everything. Player’s salaries, owners profits and most importantly, ticket prices and merchandise. $40 tickets to games! $5 parking! $50 jerseys! Can’t happen. The owners determination to build these new stadiums and the current economic climate would make it almost impossible for the NFL NOT to try to rape their fans for the maximum dollar amount possible. Unless…..

The fans used their nuclear option. I know this won’t happen. I’m not sure I would have to fortitude to do it. But we the fans do have our own nuke. Most of us carry it in our back pocket or our purse. Mostly ladies with the purses, we hope. Our wallets. That’s what makes the NFL go. Say a new CBA is reached. The season starts as normal. To stadiums only filled to 25% capacity and TV viewship plummets 50%. Nobody is buying new jerseys. Nobody is going to The NFL Network is struggling to beat the CW. We hold strong through September. And October. And then? In mid-November all NFL teams announce that they are slashing ticket prices, merchandise prices and scaling back the insane number of commercials on during every NFL game. And then maybe we have a deal. Because the players can strike against the owners. Because the owners can lockout the players. Because the fans buy the stadiums for the owners, then fill those stadiums to pay the players.

Why do we need rich guy NFL owners again? I forget.

Former 'Phins QB White To Play In UFL

According to the UFL Virginia Destroyer’s official Twitter page, former Dolphins QB and former minor league baseball player Pat White is coming close to reaching a deal with the team. White is a versatile QB, much like a Wildcat specialist. His style didn’t translate to the NFL, but with the UFL being not as big, White can utilize his talents more.

White’s NFL career may be over even though he’s 25, but that does not mean his football career is over. He has explosive speed, and strived in the spread option offense. He also isn’t the biggest Quarterback at 6'0", so the somewhat UFL is a better fit for White.

Several Undrafted College Free Agents are now playing in the UFL because they can’t sign with any team because of the Lockout. Former Texas A&M QB Jerrod Johnson was selected first overall in this year’s UFL draft. His style is very alike White’s.

Time For Change In Minnesota?

The Vikings made breaking news when trading for QB Donovan McNabb. Breaking news? Yes. Surprising? No.

They drafted QB Christian Ponder with the 12th Overall Pick in the draft this year, but like many teams in the Lockout situation, they went out to get a veteran for insurance and to help develop the rookie.

McNabb has the starting job, but the Vikings are 0-4. They have given up leads and lost in heartbreaking fashion. In Week 3 against the undefeated Detroit Lions, the Vikes had a 20-0 lead going into halftime. They lost 26-23 in overtime at home. This week, they were leading the abismal KC Chiefs, but lost to them 22-17.

The question is, “where do the problems start?”

It appears that McNabb is the problem.

He is past his prime, and has less than 700 yards passing this season. Sure, they lost WR Sidney Rice. They still have Pro Bowl RB Adrian Peterson. They have TE Visanthe Shiancoe and WR’s Percy Harvin and Bernard Berrian. Minnesota even went out of their way and signed WR Devin Aromashadu and drafted TE Kyle Rudolph, too.

Ponder ran out of a pro style system in college and is ready to take the reigns as starting Quarterback for the Vikings. They need change and excitement, and having a young QB can do just that.

Asomugha Watch

Once the new CBA deal is reached and free agency started, Raiders CB Nnamdi Asomugha will be on the free agent market. Chances are that the top-notch shut-down Corner won’t play for the Raiders again, and multiple teams will be trying to land him.

The Philadelphia Eagles have Pro Bowl CB Asante Samuel, but their DB core overall is weak. Asomugha and Samuel playing across from each other will certainly frustrate Quarterbacks, forcing the other team to run the ball. The Eagles could then focus in on the run game.

The Houston Texans selected CB Kareem Jackson in the first round of the 2010 NFL Draft, but he can’t fix an atrocious defense with few bright spots by himself. Asomugha would provide valuable experience and leadership along with helping the defense rebuild. The Texans selected several quality defensive players in this year’s draft, so if they land Asomugha watch out for their defense.

Asomugha is a huge bonus to any defense. Asomugha would be a great fit in almost any defensive scheme.

Lockout/CBA Update III

The NFL’s and the players’ lawyers coincided in front of three judges yesterday. It was located at the US 8th Circuit Court of Appeals. That court is in St. Louis. Those three judges are part of the 8th Circuit.

This meeting was one day after the secretive meetings in the Chicago area concluded. Those talks had no lawyers involved.

Commissioner Roger Goodell said the recent talks were positive. Indeed, recent talks have been beneficial. The fans get a sense that the NFL and players do want to get this new CBA deal done.

There were at least 20 former and current players, there was only one owner.

Says Panthers WR Steve Smith:

I think it was a great turnout because it shows where our jobs are right now, not caused by the players, but caused by the owners. It was important to them, important to myself, important to other players who couldn’t be here that have a responsibility as a player rep.

There may be somewhat of a blame-game going around, but that will happen in a situation like this.

Ben Leber, a free agent LB who last played for Minnesota, announced that the (now disolved) NFLPA hasn’t made a certain time that the deal must be done by.

NFLPA Recertifies

Yes, the lockout is done and football’s back. But the ongoing talks are still needed to settle the rest of the CBA deal.

The players are in favor of a recertification of being a union again, so talks can now continue. The CBA deal should be done expeditiously.

Football’s back, and fans don’t have much to worry about, but the deal isn’t all done, though. It is almost done, however, and should be finished in a short period of time.

"A Couple Of Weeks" More

Judge Nelson, the US District Court judge who is hearing the antitrust lawsuit against the NFL, says she needs a couple more weeks to make a ruling on the players’ desire to lift the enforced lockout. Additionally, Judge Nelson said the NFL and the NFL Players should still negotiate in a federal court. The league wants to return to Washington DC where they previously negotiated, though. 

If the NFL has a shortened season, this “couple weeks” could make that not happen. Everybody would love that at the least, especially the fans. While these two sides are arguing over $9 Billion, fans are just anxiously waiting for the final verdict is: Lockout or no Lockout. No season means no Super Bowl, and without it the city of Indianapolis would lose $200 Million.

This “couple of weeks” might ruin the chances of a shortened season because there will be not a lot of time to practice. This year’s rookies will want to work with the coaches to learn the systems but cannot as a result of a lockout.

Tagged with the Tag

The Franchise Tag is an effective way of keeping players on your roster. Today, the Patriots used a franchise tag on Guard Logan Mankins, who has had contract problems in the past. For those of you who do not know what the franchise tag is, it is as follows: a one-year contract that ensures that the player will likely stay on the team for the next season.

The money that they make is the average amount of money that the top five highest-paid players of that position make. Mankins is scheduled to make $10.1 million dollars. The Colts will likely put the tag on Peyton Manning because his contract expires and he is set to be an RFA, or Restricted Free Agent. He is definitely going to stay on the Colts, but the Colts want to have him locked up and negotiate a long-term deal after the CBA deal is reached.

The tag is a great way to keep a member or members of your team on your team. If there was no franchise tag in the NFL, more doubt would loom through teams.