Yesterday Jason Cole of Yahoo! Sports reported that the NFL and the NFLPA had agreed on the basic terms of a new rookie wage scale. Cole sited two unnamed sources to backup his report.
Good news, right? Not so fast.
Later in the day, a couple more reports popped up claiming that no deal had been reached. The guys at Pro Football Talk reached out to Cole via email and they report that Cole is standing by his claim.
Whether or not a deal for a rookie wage scale has been agreed upon at this point is kind of irrelevant. A deal on a wage scale will be reached because it will benefit both the owners and the players in the long run. Teams won’t be stuck paying draft busts for years after it becomes apparent that they are flops and for the players, more money will go to proven veterans.
On another front, we got word from NFLPA rep DeMaurice Smith that the union will be saying no to an 18-game schedule. Smith spoke yesterday from the union’s Washington offices in an event jointly scheduled with 106.7 the Fan.
“First of all, the league has never presented a formal proposal for 18 games,” Smith said. “But more importantly, it’s something that our players don’t want. Eighteen games is not in the best interest of our players’ safety, so we’re not doing it.”
Pretty cut and dry, eh?
I agree with Smith here. An 18 game schedule is a terrible idea. I love football and I am not going to lie, the prospect of MORE football initially excited me but upon further review, I think things should be left as they are. 18 games are too many. It won’t make the sport any more exciting and in fact, it very well might water it down. The season feels just about right at 16 games to me.
The NFL claims that the fans want 18 games and that is such a big, fat load of spin it makes me dizzy. What the fans actually want is not to have to pay for crappy, boring preseason games when they are buying their regular season tickets. They also don’t want their team’s stars blowing out their knee in a stupid game in August. Basically the fans want quality, not quantity. The NFL regular season is so compelling that the four preseason games (and the Pro Bowl) are excruciatingly boring to watch.
I personally like the preseason games because I am always excited to get a look at the rookies and undrafted free agents in action, however, two games of that would be plenty for me. The NFL is just trying to spin the negative reaction to the preseason into a way to make more money, with complete disregard to the health and safety of their players or the wishes of their fans.
Anyway, it sounds like the union is going to take a hard line on this for now but that doesn’t mean they won’t change their minds down the line. This strong stance on the 18-game schedule could just be a ruse that the NFLPA is keeping in it’s back pocket for later when it has to show it is compromising on something with the league. For instance, when the two sides start to get the money worked out, the union can tell the league that if they give them the cut they want, they’ll give back by agreeing to 18-games.
The chess match continues. The deadline is Friday.