When we last left the thrilling tale of the billionaires negotiating with the millionaires, the billionaires voted to ratify a new collective bargaining agreement that apparently wasn’t totally agreed on by millionaires. The players, justifiably in my opinion, were none too pleased with this pretty blatant attempt by the owners to “put the ball in the players’ court” in an attempt to make it look like the players were the greedy ones holding up the agreement.
So, where do we stand now? Could this move by the owners anger the players to the point that these negotiations are sunk?
Thankfully, it still appears that the players are willing to deal. Things looked somewhat dicey earlier in the day, when the NFLPA announced that its player reps would not meet until Monday, at which time the players would “discuss their options.” This sounded a bit like “we’ve decided to take this to the courts,” which obviously would have been a disaster for anyone who wanted to see football this season.
Fortunately, The NFLPA player reps will now supposedly “work through the weekend” going through the CBA the owners ratified line-by-line, making absolutely sure this is the deal the players want. If the players agree with the terms (or are able to work them out with the league’s lawyers), the players could vote on the new CBA as soon as this weekend.
Apparently, there are three somewhat major issues that are still a potential point of contention:
1) The players want to recertify as a union the same way they decertified – in person, at their respective team facilities. The owners want the players to use electronic signatures. I have no idea why this is a big deal to the owners. Because it would take longer I guess?
2) The players want an opt-out clause after the seventh year of what’s going to be a ten-year deal. The owners do not. I’m actually with the owners here. The longer this deal, the better. I don’t want to write about it again for a while.
3) Completely unshockingly, wide receiver/jackass Vincent Jackson is asking for some sort of special treatment in exchange for agreeing to settle his part of the players’ lawsuit against the league. Supposedly, despite his public denials of wanting anything, Jackson is demanding $10 million or a lifetime exemption from the franchise tag. Man, Jackson is a tool. Dude has a few decent seasons playing with a top-five quarterback and thinks he’s a superstar.
Those issues don’t seem huge roadblocks. I still think we’ll have football before long. But here’s the thing: the players aren’t in a hurry. What are they missing right now? Training camp and preseason? These are things that they don’t make a ton of money doing – but the owners do?. There’s certainly a reason the owners are starting to panic – preseason games are HUGE moneymakers for the owners. The players aren’t sweating much at the second.
We’ll see how it works out this weekend. Stay tuned.