I know, I know, another boring update on the NFL lockout. I've been doing these rather irregularly, but wanted to keep those at Bucs Nation apprised of how the lockout is progressing. But rather than the same old mundane information, there may be some good news on the horizon.
The NFL and the players reps have been meeting for a few weeks now in unscheduled talks. That alone is a good thing. Progress can't be made unless both sides are willing to sit down and talk. Better yet, these new talks have started to show signs of progress as both sides have been said to be in "the mood to make a deal." That's all fine and well, but both sides have to be in the mood to compromise before anything gets done.
We all know at the heart of this is money. Without agreeing on revenue sharing and percentage the players and owners get, this new CBA will never get done. Well, the good news is, it seems like we are getting closer. The players wanted to keep the roughly 59% they previously got under the 2006 CBA. This was after the owners took a chunk (I don't know the exact figure) off the top. The new model would have no money taken off the top and the players would get a flat percentage. The owners are pitching 44% and the players are pitching 50%. My personal opinion is they'll end up around 48%.
The players are also pushing for a pegged cap for player salary per team. Think salary cap. I'm not quite sure of the difference at this point to be honest. The cap would be raised every year (as it is now), so without more details I;m hesitant to speculate on what this means.
No word on benefits for active or retired players, guaranteed contracts, or length of season, and rightfully so. Until the money is hammered out, why discuss those things?
Many are saying a framework is being laid and mid-July could be a target date. This coincides with a fanshot I posted a while back saying in order to keep a full regular season (and preseason), mid-July was the deadline. It looks like now that we're getting to be in jeopardy of missing actual games, the urgency picks up. And that's how it was always viewed. Until something tangible and meaningful was in danger, why rush?
On a personal note, I have no idea why the players don't agree to take a bit less money but guarantee their contracts. This would penalize teams for making stupid long-term deals and allow injury risk to be mitigated. Baseball and basketball have guaranteed deals. Those players get paid whether they are on the team or not. Football is much different. There is guaranteed money (which isn't always guaranteed) and contract money which is rarely guaranteed. Why not take a bit less money, but guarantee it across the board. If the owners don't like it, maybe they'll put some thought into these contracts before they sign players.
Hopefully the next update I have for you is an actual agreement on a new CBA.