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

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

By TomE. Curran
CSNNE.com
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 tcurran@comcastsportsnet.com.Follow Tom on Twitter at http:twitter.comtomecurran

Report: 3 owners unhappy with Kraft's amicus brief on behalf of Brady

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Report: 3 owners unhappy with Kraft's amicus brief on behalf of Brady

Three NFL owners have expressed “extreme disappointment” in Robert Kraft and the Patriots filing an amicus brief on behalf of Tom Brady in the quarterback’s appeal of the Second Circuit Court’s reinstatement of his Deflategate suspension, according to Jason Cole of Bleacher Report. 

The Patriots filed the brief on Wednesday. 

The owners see the move as a publicity stunt done to appease Brady and the Patriots fans, Cole said, and they don’t believe Kraft did it any seriousness because the issue speaks to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell’s ability to punish players and undermines the league’s collective bargaining agreement with the players.

If Kraft thought it mattered, he wouldn't have done it, Cole said one owner told him. 
 

Collins, Hightower mum on contract talks

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Collins, Hightower mum on contract talks

FOXBORO – A fleet of Patriots have expiring contracts after this season but Dont'a Hightower and Jamie Collins are the two most prominent on that list.

With the sport being the way it is – a nearly 100-percent casualty rate every season – it’s never comfortable for a player to enter a contract year without knowing his long-term future. And it’s especially uncomfortable for players whose first contracts are expiring because the second NFL contract is usually the bonanza.

Both Hightower and Collins can entertain thoughts of contracts worth more than $50M if good fortune sticks with them.

The question as it pertains to both of these players is whether they get contract extensions this summer or whether they go into the year with contract pressure bearing down and ultimately become free agents.

Neither player was very forthcoming after their OTA practice Thursday.

With Collins, that’s often the case. He’s never been expansive with media. It was very uncharacteristic for Hightower to be so clipped in his answers, though.

Every question posed to Hightower was met with a variation of, “I’m just trying to get better.”

Asked about his contract, Hightower replied, “I ain’t got nothing to do with none of that. I’m just out here trying to get better with my teammates.”

When it was pointed out that Hightower does indeed have say on his contract, he answered, “That might be. But there’s a time and place for everything and I’m just out here trying to get better.

“If I get better I feel like that’ll take care of everything else,” he added. “If I get better each and every day that’s all I can ask for.”

Asked whether he’s at all focused on his deal, Collins replied, “No, I come out here and I handle my business and I let the rest speak for itself … My first priority is me. So I’m gonna handle me."