NFL owners' proposal: Project low, pocket overflow


NFL owners' proposal: Project low, pocket overflow

By Tom E. Curran

Still head-scratching over why the players wouldn't take the NFL's final offer on Friday? Blame the NFLPA for that. The owners have painted themselves as the most magnanimous set of billionaires a person could ever encounter in the past few days and the players haven't ably shown why, in actuality, they aren't. On Saturday, I asked former player Pete Kendall - who was in the three weeks of negotiations - what the biggest problem was with the owners' offer. He said, to boil it down, the owners wanted to pocket 100 percent of the money any time they exceeded the league's projected revenue. And the owners were trying to project the revenue at artificially low levels. We're going to get into some complex stuff here, but before doing so I'll illustrate what Kendall explained to me as simply as I can. If the owners "pegged" revenue for 10 billion in a season and then exceeded that projection, they wanted all the money to go into their pockets. The players were willing to give them the first 1.5 percent free and clear (in the 10 billion case, 150 million). After that, they wanted a 50-50 split. Some more damning details? The NFL has grown in revenue at an average rate of 7.5 percent over the past five years. Yet the projected growth numbers the NFL wanted to work off of between now and 2014 were 4 percent, 4 percent, 2.5 percent and 2.5 percent. The NFL made about 9.3 billion in revenue in 2009. A4 percent gain over that is an additional 320 million. A 7.5 percent gain? That's 700 million. The owners proposal would have them pocketing all of the 380 million difference. Again, that 7.5 percent growth is the average. The owners were proposing to make it a 4 percent growth target and - later in the deal when TV contracts were being renewed and huge sums were flowing in as a result and revenue shot up, the owners were going to cut the projected revenue growth to 2.5 percent. And that was in addition to the salary cap rollbacks the owners wanted to impose. Their 2011 proposed cap was 114 million per team. The last time there was a cap in was nearly 129 million per team. That's a 330 million savings league-wide on salaries in 2011 alone. Our friend Mike Florio goes into greater detail and complexity over at on this and you'll find words like "peg" and "true up" that you can wow your friends with (or put them to sleep). But this plan for keeping the projected revenues artificially low and pegging the salary-cap numbers so that they were linked to the projected revenues and not the real revenue was a real killer for the players.

Tom E. Curran can be reached at Follow Tom on Twitter at http:twitter.comtomecurran

THURSDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL: Titans roll to 36-22 victory over Jaguars


THURSDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL: Titans roll to 36-22 victory over Jaguars

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - There's nothing like a visit from the Jacksonville Jaguars to make the Tennessee Titans remember how to protect their home field.

Marcus Mariota threw for 270 yards and two touchdowns to end his home struggles and the Titans had their highest point total of the season in a 36-22 victory over the Jaguars on Thursday night.

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Develin stays on top of tight end techniques in case he's next man up


Develin stays on top of tight end techniques in case he's next man up

FOXBORO -- Once the Patriots traded AJ Derby to the Broncos for a fifth-round pick earlier this week, they were left with just two tight ends on their roster. While those two tight ends -- Rob Gronkowski and Martellus Bennett -- have played as two of the best tight ends in football this season, it's a position group that has been considerably thinned. 

Until coach Bill Belichick adds another player at that spot, James Develin would be the logical "next man up." A position group unto himself as the team's lone active fullback -- the other fullback in the locker room is practice-squad player Glenn Gronkowski -- Develin meets with Patriots tight ends and coach Brian Daboll on a daily basis because the fullback and tight-end responsibilities in the Patriots offense are similar, particularly in the run game.

As much time as he spends with that group, Develin tries to absorb what he can when it comes to the nuances of the position. 

"I always kind of try to prepare, obviously, for my fullback role, but then in any other role that I might be called upon for," Develin said on Thursday. "A couple years ago, we had a bunch of injuries during the offseason program, during OTAs, and I filled in a little bit at tight end. I try to keep myself familiar with all those techniques and that tight end role so if the day were to come where I needed to go out there and do it, I'd be able to go out there and do it."

When the Patriots began the season relying more on the run, Develin was called upon to play a relatively significant role in the offense. He averaged 21.3 snaps per game through the first three games of the season, but that number has fallen to 13.6 since Tom Brady's return from a four-game suspension. Still, his role can be a critical one. 

The Patriots' running game faltered last season after both Blount and Dion Lewis went down with season-ending injuries. Having Develin in the mix as an extra blocker would not have guaranteed a more efficient attack, but it may have helped the team's running-game woes late in the year. 

Offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels now has the luxury of bringing Develin onto the field when he wants some added muscle for his blocking schemes, and should the Patriots need a tight end in a pinch, Develin could do that too.

"A lot of times, especially in the blocking game, really the only difference [between fullback and tight end] is that I'm five yards off the ball in the backfield and they're up on the line," Develin said. "The angles are a little bit different. But a lot of times the assignment is typcially the same thing. It's just the technique of getting there and the angles that you take.

"Then in the passing game, as a tight end, there's just a lot more routes and stuff like that. I try to work on that to help me as a fullback to be a little bit better in space . . . It's a sybiotic relationship." 

As it is, Develin will line up occasionally outside. Though not a threat as a receiver in that spot in the same way that Gronkowski or Bennett would be, he understands some of the different looks tight ends have to be comfortable with.

If an emergency arose and he was asked to fill that role, he wouldn't hesitate.

"There's a little bit of carry-over depending on what we're doing or whatever play we have called where I'll line up on the line," he said. "But that's kind of what a fullback has to do. You kind of have to be able to be thrown into whatever position on the field that you gotta do and you gotta just do your job."