Goodell outlines NFL proposal to players in letter

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Goodell outlines NFL proposal to players in letter

By TomE. Curran
CSNNE.com

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell sent this letter to all NFL players Thursday, outlining the NFL's proposal to the players last week.

Dear NFL Player:

As you know, negotiations between the NFL Players Association and the clubs have not led to an agreement. Last Friday, the NFLPA walked out of the federal mediators offices in Washington, told us that it had abandoned its right to represent you as a union, and filed a lawsuit. Some hours later, the clubs instituted a lockout.

The clubs believe that there is only one way to resolve our differences, and that is through good faith collective bargaining in an atmosphere of mutual respect and open communication. We have said publicly, told the federal mediator, and say to you that we are prepared to resume those negotiations at any time.

We want you to understand the offer that we made to the NFLPA. The proposal was made to avoid a work stoppage. Each passing day puts our game and our shared economics further at risk. We believe the offer presented a strong and fair basis for continuing negotiations, allowing the new league year and free agency to begin, and growing our game in the years to come.

Here are the key elements of the proposal:

A salary cap for 2011 that would avoid a negative financial impact on veteran players. We offered to meet the Union at the mid-point between our previous offer and the Unions demand. Under our offer, 2011 salary and benefits would have been set at 141 million per club, and projected cash spending would have been as high or higher than in either 2009 or 2010. By 2014, salary and benefits would have been set at 161 million per club. In other words, player compensation would increase by as much as 20 million per club by 2014.

Free agency for players with four or more accrued seasons and reduced draft choice compensation for restricted free agents.

Extensive changes in offseason work requirements that would promote player health and safety, encourage players to continue their education, and promote second career opportunities. The offseason program would be reduced by five weeks, OTAs would be reduced from 14 to 10 days, helmets would be prohibited for the first five weeks of workouts, and rules prohibiting live on-field contact would be strictly enforced.

Changes in preseason and regular season practices and schedules that would reduce the number of padded practices, reduce the amount of contact, and increase the number of days off for you and other players.

Commit to retain the current 16-game regular season format for at least the next two seasons, and further commit not to change to an 18-game regular season without the Unions agreement.

Expand injury guarantees for players. The clubs offered to guarantee up to 1 million of a second year of your contract if you are injured and cannot return to play.

For the first time, players and families would be able to purchase continuing coverage in the player medical plan after retirement for life, and could use their health savings account benefit to do so.

Enhanced retirement benefits for pre-1993 players. More than 2,000 former players would have received an immediate increase in their pensions averaging nearly 60 percent, funded entirely by the owners.

A new entry-level compensation system that would make more than 300 million per draft class available for veterans pay and player benefits. The new system would preserve individual negotiations not a wage scale and would allow players drafted in rounds 2 through 7 to earn as much or more than they earn today.

Significant changes in disciplinary procedures, including a jointly-appointed neutral arbitrator to hear all drug and steroid appeals.

Working together, players and clubs have made the game great. Our fans want us to find common ground, settle our differences, and come to a fair agreement. I have met with many of you since becoming Commissioner. You know of my respect and admiration for you as men and as players. We need to come together, and soon.

In that spirit, we are prepared to negotiate a full agreement that would incorporate these features and other progressive changes that would benefit players, clubs, and fans. Only through collective bargaining will we reach that kind of agreement. Our goal is to make our league even better than it is today, with the benefits shared by all of us.

I hope you will encourage your Union to return to the bargaining table and conclude a new collective bargaining agreement.

Tom E. Curran canbe reached at tcurran@comcastsportsnet.com.Follow Tom on Twitter at http:twitter.comtomecurran

Kraft on possible Patriots reunion with Revis: 'I would love it'

Kraft on possible Patriots reunion with Revis: 'I would love it'

It was reported last week that multiple NFL executives are convinced that Darrelle Revis will return to the New England Patriots next season.

Talking with the New York Daily News, Patriots owner Robert Kraft said he’d be open to a reunion with the 31-year-old cornerback.

“I would love it,” Kraft said. “Speaking for myself, if he wanted to come back, he’s a great competitor, I’d welcome him if he wanted to come.”

Asked if the team has had discussions with Revis, Kraft said “ask my boy,” in reference to coach Bill Belichick.

Revis spent the 2014 season with the Patriots, helping them win Super Bowl XLIX. He bolted back to the New York Jets the next season, signing a five-year, $70 million contract ($39 million guaranteed).

The Jets released Revis earlier this month after the incident in Pittsburgh. A judge dismissed the charges.

Kraft says intention is not to trade Butler: 'We hope he's with us'

Kraft says intention is not to trade Butler: 'We hope he's with us'

PHOENIX -- The idea that Malcolm Butler could be traded by the Patriots before the start of the 2017 season has been floated for weeks. But if Robert Kraft had his way, he'd like for the hero of Super Bowl XLIX to stick around. 

At the Biltmore hotel on Day 2 of the league's annual meetings, Kraft was asked if he anticipated having Butler back in New England for next season.

"I sure hope so," he said. "We have [a first-round tender] out to him, and I know he has the ability to go out in the market and get someone to sign him, and then we either match it or get the first-round draft pick.

"I'm rooting, I hope, he's with us and signs his offer sheet and plays for us. I have a great affection for him. He was part of probably the greatest play in the history of our team, but there are a lot of people involved in that."

The Patriots can't trade any player who isn't under contract, and they can't talk about a trade for a player not on their roster. Therefore, even if the Patriots hoped to deal Butler and get something in return for the Pro Bowl-caliber corner before he hits unrestricted free agency in 2018, it's not something that the owner of the team would be at liberty to discuss with dozens of microphones in front of his face. 

The tender offer of $3.91 million for one season is still out there for Butler. He could sign it and play in New England. He could sign it and be traded. For now, Kraft says he's hoping for the former -- and insists that the Patriots didn't have designs on the latter all along.

"I don't want to, in any way, take away from his rights [as a restricted free agent]," he said, adding, "I want to be clear. I hope he's with us."