Working out details is a major chore in CBA talks


Working out details is a major chore in CBA talks

By Tom E. Curran
So we got an extension to the extension and my prediction (uttered on Mike Florio's Pro Football Talk Live the day after the Super Bowl and resurrected today) lives!Good news? Yes. The tenor of the talks has been described to me as courteous and a lot got accomplished when the owners were present on Thursday which, of course, led to the initial extension that paved the way for today's. The details are the difficult thing to hammer out. For instance, if the players concede to a give up a couple of percentage points of their share of the "pie" the salary cap will drop. It was at about 128 million in 2009, the last year of the cap. If the cap drops to 124 million, for instance, that puts players' jobs at risk. The last thing the NFLPA wants is to see veteran players getting thrown overboard after the new agreement is reached because the cap drops. Another thing for the sides to consider is how to deal with the new rookie salary scale. For instance, Sam Bradford signed a 78 million deal with 50 million guaranteed last year. When his salaries start to escalate in the second, third and fourth years of his contract and get into the 14 and 15 million range, he'll be consuming more than 10 percent of the cap all by his lonesome. Can those exorbitant deals be somehow excised from the cap, grandfathered into the system so they don't result - again - in lost jobs for veterans? And where exactly will the money saved from the new rookie wage scale be allocated? Retired players? Current players? It's details like those that will take a significant amount of time to hammer out next week as the next deadline approaches. With the respective sides bunkering down for the weekend, they'll both be putting together proposals to have in hand when they return to the table Monday. Realistic proposals hatched in the next two days will help ease the negotiations when they get back to bargaining. .AOLWebSuite .AOLPicturesFullSizeLink height: 1px; width: 1px; overflow: hidden; .AOLWebSuite a color:blue; text-decoration: underline; cursor: pointer .AOLWebSuite a.hsSig cursor:
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Steelers descending into disarray?

Steelers descending into disarray?

Less than 48 hours removed from openly wondering if the AFC Championship Game stage was “too big” for some of his young teammates, Ben Roethlisberger has decided to play the latter-day Hamlet/Brett Favre game.

Speaking on Pittsburgh’s 93.7 The Fan on Tuesday, Roethlisberger hinted at retirement.

“I’m going to take this offseason to evaluate, to consider all options,” Roethlisberger said. “To consider health, and family and things like that and just kind of take some time away to evaluate next season, if there’s going to be a next season. All those things. I think at this point in my career, at my age, that’s the prudent and smart thing to do every year.”

The soon-to-be-35-year-old Roethlisberger is a likely Hall of Famer who’s still arguably one of the top five quarterbacks in the NFL. But for whatever reason, he’s got an insatiable need for people to register concern about his status. Whether it be limping around the field, lamenting injuries or this, few quarterbacks in the league go through the same histrionics Roethlisberger does in order to get those, “Attaboy, Ben!” backslaps.

I remember being at Steelers training camp in 2009 in Latrobe, Pennsylvania, and having veteran Steelers writers roll their eyes as Roethlisberger started hopping around like he was on hot coals after a throw. The quarterback having an owie act was a daily tradition.

Roethlisberger’s also got a passive aggressive side in which he’ll deftly twist the knife on coaches and teammates but leave himself enough room for plausible deniability.

In addition to openly wondering if his young teammates took the AFC Championship Game seriously enough, Roethlisberger gave the “just running the plays as I’m told” answer when asked about the Steelers resistance to running a quarterback sneak when they were at the Patriots goal line before halftime. Roethlisberger could have taken offensive coordinator Todd Haley off the hook there – he’s lobbied for Haley to get a head coaching shot after the two had a bad relationship when Haley arrived. But he opted not to.

Similarly, earlier this year, Roethlisberger’s critiques of the way head coach Mike Tomlin was running the team were aired. 

So, this could be part of a Roethlisberger power play aimed at the Steelers bowing to his wishes.

That wasn’t the only tidbit from Pittsburgh that looked bad for the AFC finalists. Linebacker Bud Dupree said the Steelers were surprised by the Patriots using an up-tempo offense earlier in the game. 

Do they not have electricity or internet access in the Steelers facility? Up-tempo is a staple part of the Patriots offensive diet. You can see it on the television or the internet through your smart phone.

While there’s no doubt that defensive coordinator Keith Butler – and defensive minded head coach Tomlin – were aware and talked about the Patriots going no-huddle, the fact Dupree (and his teammates) were unable to recall the preparation or adequately fall into an emergency plan to address it does fall on the coaches.

Need more? It’s also being leaked out of the building that Antonio Brown cares too much about his statistics. He made clear last week how much he cares about advancing his personal brand at the expense of Tomlin and the team with his Facebook Live video. 

If there’s an upside for anyone in all this, it would have to be Joey Porter. Nobody’s even talking about his off-field fracas anymore.

As this season ably demonstrated, the Patriots have plum run out of authentic rivals in the AFC. That the team they just pulverized is steamrolling into an offseason of dysfunction and uncertainty isn't good if you like parity. But it's terrific if you couldn't care less.