New proposal not hostile to players

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New proposal not hostile to players

By Tom E. Curran
CSNNE.com Patriots Insider Follow @tomecurran
With the suddenly accelerating NFL labor talks moving to an undisclosed location here in Massachusetts on Wednesday,here are afew quick hits on what we've learned so far: 1. It's important to remember that the players are the ones giving something back here. The ownersfelt - rightly - that they got taken to the cleaners in 2006 and wanted the CBA reopened so that they could reshape the percentage of total revenue the players get. So the very fact that there will be some change in the owners' favor makes them "winners." But as the outline of the proposal comes into focus, it seems the players are not going to get beaten about the head and face in the new deal. 2. We've had so many numbers and percentages floated at us since the process began - 60-40, 50-50, 58-42 - it's hard to keep track of what exactly the numbers are. Here's the simplest explanation: The NFL reaps 9 billion in revenue. In the past, credits to the owners for spending on game growth totaling about 1 billion were taken off the top. Of the remaining 8 billion, the players took about 60 percent, the owners 40 percent. That meant the players got about 4.8 billion. That's 53 percent of the 9 billion. In the new proposed model, the players will get 48 percent. The foolish "1 billion off the top then start doing the math" is being tossed. If the revenue were still 9 billion, the players would get 4.3 billion. Yes, that's 500 million less, but remember, at the outset, the players said they'd take a 50-50 split. So the 48 percent works. Why? Read on. 3. ESPN seemed to be the first with the details of the proposal owners discussed on Tuesday. And one of the most beneficial to the players is that teams will be compelled to pay nearly to the salary cap. Previously, there was a "floor" that was significantly lower than the cap. For instance, in 2009, the salary cap was almost 128 million, but the floor was 112.1 million. In the new proposal, even if the salary cap drops to pre-2009 totals - say 120 million (by the way, owners wanted to make it 114 million in 2011 in their final proposal before the lockout), even the poor-mouth teams will be forced to pay close to the cap. The actual numbers aren't yet known. 4. The rising salary floor - and the fact the cap will likely remain in the 120 million range (and continue to rise) - could mean trouble for the lower-revenue teams like Cincinnati and Buffalo. Yes, all teams share in the lucrative TV deals and there will be a windfall when they are next renegotiated but the fiscal realities for places like Buffalo remain unchanged. They don't have a lucrative market to mine like the Patriots, Jets, Giants, Redskins and Cowboys.According to a Forbes study of team valuations in 2010, theCowboys had more than twice the total revenue of the Lions (420 million to 210 million).The cap gobbles up significantly more for those low-income teams, preventing them from realizing the same opportunities to improve their infrastructure, hire more employees, spend more on coaching and scouting. So the playing field will continue to tilt. And if the market isn't going to change in a place like Buffalo, it may be time to change markets. (Los Angeles?) 5. The fact that free agency will be granted after four years is no surprise. It's always been four years. The six-year free agency we saw in the uncapped year was a penalty to the players that was put into the last CBA to force negotiation before the CBA entered its walk year. Why would the owners expect the players to take a penal version of free agency in the new deal? I was surprised people were surprised by that news. 6. Good friend Don Banks of SI.com reported that the meetings in Chicago were short on specifics. Why? It seems that, while some aspects of the deal are locked down, many are still being hashed out and they didn't want factions to form among the owners over things that were still in the womb, so to speak. 7. In order for the proposal to pass with the owners, 24 of the 32 need to be in favor. For the players, it's a simple majority. 8. Prediction? Deal announced by July 8. Free agency begins July 12. Camps open on time.

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

Quick Slants The Column: On booing Goodell and overvaluing Jimmy G

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Quick Slants The Column: On booing Goodell and overvaluing Jimmy G

Big night, Philadelphia. How you gonna treat the man NFL owners pay $35 million to be their meat shield? The first round of the draft is one of the few Roger Goodell appearances the league can’t manage. Released from the protection of John Mara’s coat pocket, Goodell has to hear a voice vote from fans every time he approaches the mic. He can grin, bang nipples and backslap all he wants with the first-rounders and sling that “Welcome to the family!” line of BS. He can hit the stage with the ghosts of Reggie White, Buddy Ryan and Chuck Bednarik. Philly’s too smart to get caught watching the paint dry. 

Got into a brief and spirited debate on the topic of Jimmy Garoppolo this morning on our “Boston Sports Tonight” email chain. I opined that perhaps Garoppolo is a bit overrated. Overvalued may have been a better adjective. Here’s why. With a fleet of teams dying for a quarterback they can build around, the Patriots squelched all Jimmy G suitors by declaring him untouchable. We may ultimately find out it was all a ruse and the team winds up getting a boatload of picks in exchange for him but from everything I’ve been told since September that’s not happening. Garoppolo will stay a Patriot and the team will figure out later how to proceed with him once his contract is up in March.

If Garoppolo isn’t franchised and doesn’t sign an extension to back up Tom Brady until Brady either retires (not on the horizon) or is traded (gasp), then why did the team pass on the haul it could have had? The theory most often posited is that Garoppolo is Brady insurance. If Brady gets hurt in 2017 and Jacoby Brissett is the next-man-up, the team is cooked. But that reality has existed throughout Brady’s tenure whether he had Rohan Davey, Matt Gutierrez, Matt Cassel, Brian Hoyer or Ryan Mallett behind him. It didn’t faze them then. Garoppolo is better than all of them. Potentially. And that’s probably why the Patriots don’t want to make a decision on him before they have to. They look at all these forever .500 teams trying to find a quarterback answer and think, “There, but for the grace of God and the presence of Brady, go I.” Garoppolo isn’t going to be better than Brady. But he fits the suit better than anyone they’ve ever had and they like the fact they found him, developed him and were right about him. Clearly they believe he is a greater asset as a backup with a soon-to-expire contract and a complicated future than the collection of young players they’d be able to draft with whatever picks they got back in a deal. This, of course, runs counter to the way the team has traditionally done business. Bill Belichick and Nick Caserio have found innovative ways to acquire, stockpile and flip picks. The fact the team’s already got its 2017 draft haul of Brandin Cooks, Kony Ealy, Dwayne Allen and Mike Gillislee thanks to pick-flipping. Garoppolo could yield the next batch of picks the Patriots could use in the “rent-to-own” model they’ve shrewdly adopted. But Garoppolo is the extreme outlier. And the Brady-Garoppolo-what’ll-they-do dance is fascinating because it highlights the confluence of everything – draft, free agency, cap management, trades, potential vs. proven, old vs. young, icon vs. phenom – at the most important position in sports on the greatest franchise of this era. 

Which brings me to this: we’ll have former Patriots offensive coordinator Charlie Weis in studio tonight at 9pm on Boston Sports Tonight helping us through the first round of the draft. Looking forward to his insight on why Garoppolo is persona-non-tradeable. Put the over-under on “Tommys” at about 47.

Patriots seven-round mock draft: Shakeup in the secondary

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Patriots seven-round mock draft: Shakeup in the secondary

In order to shake things up a bit in our third and final mock draft of the pre-draft season -- you can find our first two here and here -- we went ahead and made a trade for the Patriots.

In a move silimar to the one they pulled off involving Chandler Jones last year, in this mock draft the Patriots dealt Malcolm Butler to the Saints in order to pick up some draft capital. But instead of receiving the No. 32 pick overall in return, Bill Belichick pulled in a haul of picks that provided nearly equal value: No. 42 overall (second round), No. 103 (third round) and No. 196 overall (sixth round). 

That deal bumped the total number of Patriots selections from six to nine, and by picking up a second-rounder they gave themselves an opportunity at a top-end talent.

Click here for the gallery.