Owners ratify CBA, miffed players refuse to vote

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Owners ratify CBA, miffed players refuse to vote

By Tom E. Curran
CSNNE.com Patriots InsiderFollow @tomecurran
ATLANTA - NFL owners voted Thursday night to end the lockout they began on March 11. With the clubs voting 31-0 to settle all litigation and ratify a 10-year collective bargaining agreement (the Oakland Raiders abstained), the mood at the Atlanta Gateway Marriott was jubilant. But the owners may have only succeeding in inciting the locked-out players who feel the owners went too far in ratifying a CBA they hadn't seen in full. It was anticipated that owners would merely vote in favor of settling all pending litigation with the players. Theso-called "global settlement" would bring to an end the Brady vs. The NFL case and settle the "lockout insurance case." Once that was agreed upon, the players were expecting to agree to the settlement and then the ratification of the CBA could begin with the union presumably re-forming. Instead, the owners essentially said, "The bus is leaving. You're on it or you're not."The NFL's timeline calls for players to begin reporting Saturday and the league year to begin next Wednesday. But the players balked at even having a vote Thursday night. On a conference call between NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith and the player reps, nothing was decided. And agitation over the owner's move was evident.

In an e-mail sent to players from the NFLPA's executive director Smith stated:

"As you know the Owners have ratified their proposal to settle our differences. It is my understanding that they are forwarding it to us. As you may have heard, they apparently approved a supplemental revenue sharing proposal. Obviously, we have not been a part of those discussions. As you know from yesterday, issues that need to be collectively bargained remain open, other issues such as workers compensation, economic issues and end of deal terms remain unresolved. There is no agreement between the NFL and the Players at this time. I look forward to our call tonight."

The player component is critical. Without the players recertifying their union and agreeing to the proposal, the lockout remains in place.

It is a power play by the owners and it puts the onus squarely on the players now.

"We have gotten a lot done here in the past two days," said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. "We will be prepared to open training facilities this Saturday. We are prepared to start the new league year next Wednesday subject to the full membership of the players ratifying the agreement."

The Hall of Fame Game, scheduled for August 7 has been cancelled.

"It's important that all 32 teams operate with the same time and dates," Goodell said about the cancellation of the game. "The ceremonies will still go on."

"It's time to get back to football," said Goodell. "That is what everyone here wants to do."

Asked what the ramifications would be if the players weren't able to come up with a rapid approval, Goodell answered, "We want to have a full preseason and we're up against the wall asI think you can see by the cancellation of the Hall of Fame Game."

Goodell had several conversations with Smith as the day progressed.Goodell said that, after the final call, Smith was "going to take care of his business". As it stands now, there's a lot of business left to take care of.

Some details of the deal, as reported by ESPN:
-Players receive 48-percent of revenue
-120M salary cap, team minimum 89M as long as league spends 99-percent (3.8B)
-Four-year rookie contracts with team option for a 5th year.
-Lower rookie salaries, with cap on team spending for rookies
-Later training camps, no full-contact two-a-days
-OTA's reduced from 14 to nine games
-Veterans earn free agency after 4th season

Things will move fast if the players agree to reform the union and ratify the agreement. After a long, slow summer, that's a good thing.

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

Quick Slants the Podcast: Who's been better for the Patriots, Welker or Edelman?

Quick Slants the Podcast: Who's been better for the Patriots, Welker or Edelman?


Phil Perry and CSNNE.com Patriots Insider Tom E. Curran debate which receiver has been better for the Patriots: Wes Welker or Julian Edelman? It's part of this edition of Quick Slants The Podcast.

Hawkins says he passed up more lucrative deals to sign with Patriots

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Hawkins says he passed up more lucrative deals to sign with Patriots

The Patriots went into Wednesday with what could have passed as the deepest receiving group in team history, yet by lunchtime they had added another. 

Former Browns and Bengals wideout Andrew Hawkins announced on Twitter (via uSTADIUM) that he had chose to come to terms with New England. He explained that the opportunity to work with Tom Brady and Bill Belichick proved to be enough to convince him that he should pass up more lucrative offers from other clubs.

"After giving it a lot of though, I've decided that I'm going to join the New England Patriots," he said. "Super excited about the opportunity, man, to join the reigning football champions. In Cleveland, I said it was about joining a contender, and the Patriots are the contender, the reigning champs.

"The program is top-notch, and you get the opportunity to play with the best quarterback and the best coach in NFL history, man, so it's super exciting. It was never really about the money. To be honest, I passed up on deals that were probably double the compensation . . . but it was all about winning for me at this point, and putting myself in the best position to do so."

Hawkins (5-foot-7, 180 pounds) may be a familiar name to Patriots fans as he caught four passes for a season-high 56 yards and one touchdown against New England in Week 5 of last season. He finished the year with 33 catches for 324 yards and three scores. The 31-year-old has recently seen his name in the headlines as he completed his Sports Management degree at Columbia and graduated last week. 

The Patriots have receivers room that's currently pretty loaded with talent. Brandin Cooks, Julian Edelman, Chris Hogan, Danny Amendola and Malcolm Mitchell figure to make up the top end of the depth chart, while former practice-squad wideouts Devin Street, Devin Lucien and DeAndrew White figure to compete for playing time as do undrafted rookies Austin Carr and Cody Hollister.

"Nothing's for sure. I got my work cut out for me. It's an opportunity," Hawkins said. "That's how I'm approaching it. Going there and seeing how I stack up with the best and try to earn my keep and prove my worth. I'm jsust excited to get there, get to work, and hopefully I can be part of something special and kind of join that Patriot legacy."