With the NFL owners’ “slumber party” wrapping up in Chicago yesterday, all eyes now turn to an undisclosed location outside of Boston where various sources are reporting labor negotiations are continuing between the owners and players.
A lot of info seems to be leaking out of yesterday’s slumber party meeting and most of it is positive. We are hearing that the negotiating team presented some of the basic points of the proposed new CBA to the other owners and that there was almost no objection.
The big issue at the center of this whole mess has always been money. For about 20 years, the players and owners split revenue 50/50. When negotiating the new CBA, there were reportedly some owners that wanted the players to take a pay cut all the way down to 40%. What we are hearing now, from ESPN’s Christ Mortenson is that the owners are prepared to now bump that figure all the way to 48%. Once the revenue issues are settled, all the other dominoes (free agency, rookie salary cap, benefits, 18-game season, TV contracts) are likely to fall rather quickly.
Both sides are still issuing caution but the over all feeling is optimistic. It is evident that both camps have decided they would rather settle things themselves rather than have the courts make a ruling. It appears as if they are working hard to wrap up a deal by early to mid July so that no preseason games have to be canceled.
If they get it done, we are about to be in store for one of the most hectic free agency periods ever. After a horribly boring offseason, we will certainly welcome that around here.
One other quick note. Just before the previous CBA expired, the Chiefs placed the franchise tag on OLB Tamba Hali. The two sides admitted that they were working toward a long-term deal but that they just hadn’t gotten there yet. The Chiefs seemed to put the tag on Hali, not for the season, but to just keep safe from free agency until a longer deal could be agreed upon. We wondered if the tag would matter, considering the it fell under the old CBA, which is now expired. The word coming out of the slumber party, however, is that the franchise tag is expected to stay. That means when a new deal is reached, Hali will be safe.