Curran: NFLPA's 50-50 offer isn't what it seems


Curran: NFLPA's 50-50 offer isn't what it seems

By TomE. Curran
NFL owners walked away from the bargaining table on Wednesday, balking at the 50-50 split of "all revenue" that the NFL Players Association offered. The stomp-away cut short Wednesday's scheduled nine-hour meeting, prompted cancellation of Thursday's bargaining session, and has resulted also in a cancellation of next week's planned meeting at which owners were going to be briefed on progress. The NFLPA is looking pretty good. The owners? Demonized. The truth? Not as cut and dried as the NFLPA will have you believe. The 50-50 split is, in essence, what the players already enjoy. What about the 60 percent that players supposedly were already taking? Isn't the 50 percent a 10 percent giveback? Actually, the NFLPA has moved the goalposts on everyone. And - because of the complexity of the negotiations - it's hard for fans and the media to realize that. Bear with me. Currently, the total revenue generated by the NFL is about 9 billion. The amount of money the NFL has been allowed to take as a credit to "grow the business" amounts to about 1 billion. That money goes to stadium building, market expansion, funding team stores within stadiums that sell merchandise that benefit the owners and players, etc. So that leaves 8 billion. The players get about 59.5 percent of that money. The NFL gets the remaining 41.5. Again, that's AFTER the 1 billion that comes off the top for game growth. So that amounts to about 4.8 billion which goes to the players. The NFLPA has always operated without including that 1 billion in their estimations of how much they make. They always signed off on the notion that they were getting 60 percent of the 8 billion. It was a landmark accomplishment when Gene Upshaw, the now-deceased head of the NFLPA, got close to that 60 percent mark in 2006. In reality, the players have ALWAYS (or at least since the new CBA was ratified in 2006) been getting 4.8 of the 9 billion in total revenues. That's a smidge over 50 percent. But nobody included that 1 billion because it wasn't going to owners or players, just being reinvested in the game. Now, though, the players are working off that 9 billion figure. And that's where the math has gotten fuzzy. For them to come to the table on Wednesday and say, "We'll take 50 percent of 'all revenue' instead of 'total revenue' " is no concession. (Really, someone needs to tell me what the difference between "total" and "all" is.) That is about what they're currently getting. The owners want the players to kick more money back in to grow the game. An amount that will come out to about another 1 billion. Add that to the billion the players and owners already agreed to put into the kitty to "grow the game" (build stadiums, fund the NFL Network, expand overseas) and you have the 2 billion credit you're hearing about. So the money the players will draw their dough from is now shrunk to 7 billion instead of the 8 billion they're drawing from now. TheNFLPA's math now includes that 2 billion "grow the game" stipend.So,while the ownersare asking the players to take less than the 60 percent of 8billionthey already enjoy, the players areusing 9 billion as their starting point. Sixty percent? The players say they're not getting that. Even though that's the number they beat their chests over in 2006. Moving the goalposts from the 8 billion they were happy to use as a starting point previouslyup to 9 billion now makes the NFL's proposed cut down to 7 billion seem drastic. But it really isn't. Who's right? Who's wrong? There are cases to be made on both sides. But the fact the players have always signed off on the math the way it was done - a billion off the top and then 60 percent of the 8 billion - and are now changing their talking points to include the billion being used to grow the game is a little disingenuous. And it confuses the conversation immensely. Tom E. Curran canbe reached at Tom on Twitter at http:twitter.comtomecurran

Not a lot of talk about Cannon this season, and that's a good thing for Patriots


Not a lot of talk about Cannon this season, and that's a good thing for Patriots

Marcus Cannon has had his run as a piñata. The Patriots offensive lineman is a frequent target when things go wrong up front and, usually, he’s deserved it.

A bit of anecdotal evidence? 

Sunday, I tweeted that every time I watched Cannon, he was making another good play.

On cue, about 10 tweets came back at me with variations of “Keep watching him!”

I asked Bill Belichick if he agreed with the layman’s assessment that Cannon’s playing well.

“I think Marcus [Cannon] has done a good job for us for quite a while,” Belichick began. “I mean he’s stepped in for Sebastian [Vollmer] and then last year when Nate [Solder] was out [and he substituted] for Nate. He has played a lot of good football for us.

“We extended our agreement with him off of his rookie contract which I think speaks to the fact that we want him on the team and we like what he’s doing and so forth and he’s continued to I’d say show with his performance [that he has] validated the confidence that we have in him.”

Cannon’s ending to 2015 – a poor performance (along with the rest of the line) against the Broncos in the AFC Championship Game was followed by a performance against the Cardinals that was marred by late-game holding calls.

But with Sebastian Vollmer injured (and still injured) it was sink or swim with Cannon which had plenty of people rolling their eyes.

But – as I said – every time I see Cannon, he’s either holding off a defensive end in pass protection, steamrolling downfield in the running game or making really athletic second-level or cut blocks in the screen game.

“Like every player, as they gain more experience they do get better,” said Belichick. “I think our offensive line’s certainly improved over the course of the year and playing with more consistency than we did last year. But there’s always room for improvement and the continuity that we’ve had there since (right guard) Shaq [Mason] has gotten in the last few weeks – we had Shaq over on the right side a little bit at the end of the season last year and then this year most all of the year except when Shaq was out for a few weeks there at the end of training camp and the start of the season – but our overall consistency and communication on the offensive line has been better because we’ve had more continuity there so that helps everybody.”

It can’t hurt that the lineman whisperer, Dante Scranecchia, has returned to coach the group. Cannon’s conditioning and physique looks better. He just appears more athletic and explosive. And he’s seemed more relaxed in the limited time the media’s in the locker room.

All off that added up equals nobody really talking about Marcus Cannon.
“Like any lineman, the less you call his name probably the better he’s doing,” said Belichick. “It’s probably a good thing when you guys don’t talk about him. Then that probably means they’re not doing something too noticeably wrong, right?”