If there are three things that have defined this lockout, they are:
1. More ups and downs then a rollercoaster
2. NFL beat writers trying to break down a case like a legal expert
3. Albert Breer of NFL Network and Mike Silver of Yahoo Sports somehow doing just that at a high level
Mike Silver, who has been doing an outstanding job during this whole ordeal, posted an excellent article this morning breaking down what the current status of the NFL talks are.
Albert Breer is reporting that the 15 hour marathon style negotiation process that the NFL & NFLPA embarked on last night had its fair share of tense moments. But ultimately, when the two sides left the table at 1am, the overall feeling was a sense of optimism.
What does all of it mean? Here is a some what simplistic break down of what you need to know regarding the labor situation going into the weekend.
The fact that the two sides left the talks last night with a feeling of optimism was a major change from earlier in the evening, when Silver reported that talks nearly broke down. Silver reports that at the heart of the dispute was a feeling that each side was trying to “bait and switch” the other into taking a deal. That sentiment is a far cry from where the sides were last week, when the feeling of genuine trust between the two was starting to build. Silver says that while no deal was struck, a “verbal handshake” of some sort was felt to have been made.
The reported “verbal handshake” revolved around a proposal from the players that focused on a near 50-50 split, without the owners taking a one billion dollar “expense credit” off of the top of the revenue, before the spilt. That is compared to the last model used, where the owners took 1 billion off the top for “expense credits”, with the players then receiving 58 percent of the remaining revenue.
The players then offered, according to Silver, to take only 48 percent of the revenue (without the 1 billion dollar expense credit going to the owners). In exchange, the players asked for certain rules to be placed around the salary cap- such as each team committing to spend more on players. The players even offered to have that share drop to 46.5 if the total revenue continued to grow and exceeded expectations. Silver reports this was a proposal the owners were in favor of, and optimism was running high.
But as talks continued, the “bait and switch” happened. The owners wanted to include an “expense credit”, that amounted to several hundred million dollars. The owners felt this was understood- the players did not.
Where do the talks stand now?
The two sides met this morning, but talks are reportedly already over for the day. The sides will take the three day weekend off, and resume talks on Tuesday. Breer reports that breakthroughs were made last night, and that optimism is once again high. Silver points out that if the two sides want the Hall of Fame preseason game to be played on August 7th, a deal would need to be struck very soon- like within the next two weeks.
Once preseason games are missed, the revenue pool with go down an estimated 700 million dollars. This will make each percentage point more valuable, and make the need to fight for that final point more critical.
A few weeks ago, their were hops of making an announcement on July 4th. But it now appears that will not happen. Many NFL experts see July 15th as a possible date where a deal will be done by.
Until then, we are all left to wait and dissect the case like a pre-law student, hoping to soon be breaking down game film instead.