By Tom E. CurranThe NFL is going all-out to win the hearts of the public in this labor battle. Just as important - creating division among the players. To those two ends, the NFL released Friday night details of their proposal to the players. The first point in the proposal saying that the NFL accepted the NFLPA's proposed cap of 161 million in 2014 is sure to make the eyes of players not in the room widen a little bit. The salary cap in 2009 was 130 million. A source on the players side told me, however, that the owners proposed to roll the salary cap in 2011 back to the level of 2007 (109 million). Here's the NFL's summary. SUMMARY OF NFL PROPOSAL1. We more than split the economic difference between us, increasing our proposed cap for 2011 significantly and accepting the Unions proposed cap number for 2014 (161 million per club).2. An entry level compensation system based on the Unions rookie cap proposal, rather than the wage scale proposed by the clubs. Under the NFL proposal, players drafted in rounds 2-7 would be paid the same or more than they are paid today. Savings from the first round would be reallocated to veteran players and benefits.3. A guarantee of up to 1 million of a players salary for the contract year after his injury the first time that the clubs have offered a standard multi-year injury guarantee.4. Immediate implementation of changes to promote player health and safety bya. Reducing the off-season program by five weeks, reducing OTAs from 14 to 10, and limiting on-field practice time and contact;b. Limiting full-contact practices in the preseason and regular season; andc. Increasing number of days off for players.5. Commit that any change to an 18-game season will be made only by agreement and that the 2011 and 2012 seasons will be played under the current 16-game format.6. Owner funding of 82 million in 2011-12 to support additional benefits to former players, which would increase retirement benefits for more than 2000 former players by nearly 60 percent.7. Offer current players the opportunity to remain in the player medical plan for life.8. Third party arbitration for appeals in the drug and steroid programs.9. Improvements in the Mackey plan, disability plan, and degree completion bonus program.10. A per-club cash minimum spend of 90 percent of the salary cap over three seasons..AOLWebSuite .AOLPicturesFullSizeLink height: 1px; width: 1px; overflow: hidden; .AOLWebSuite a color:blue; text-decoration: underline; cursor: pointer .AOLWebSuite a.hsSig cursor: default
FOXBORO -- With NFL commissioner Roger Goodell in Atlanta for the NFC Championship game, his second visit to Atlanta in the last month, Patriots president Jonathan Kraft was posed an interesting question during his pre-game interview on 98.5 The Sports Hub.
Who would make it to a game at Gillette Stadium next: Goodell or Donald Trump?
The newly-elected president, of course, is a friend of the Krafts and a Patriots fan who has visited Foxboro for games on more than one occasion over the years.
"I'm gonna let you," Kraft said, "place the over-under on that . . . We're happy. Whoever wants to come can come. Donald has done this [radio] show before . . . He was great. He's a big Patriot fan."
Here are a few more quotes of note from Kraft during his interview with The Sports Hub's Marc Bertrand and Chris Gasper . . .
On the Colts firing general manager Ryan Grigson, who helped spark Deflategate: "Who? Yeah. You'd have to ask Jim Irsay about it. He'd be the one to ask. That game might've been Ryan's pinnacle, I don't know. Jimmy can talk about what's going on with the Colts. We're fortunately playing football today."
On Rob Gronkowski, who was a guest at Robert Kraft's home for a pre-AFC title game party Saturday: "He's doing great. He was funny. He was engaging with the crowd . . . He looks great . . . He didn't look like a guy who was hurting."
On if the Steelers called to apologize for Mike Tomlin's comments last weekend, calling the Patriots a-holes: "No, but we wouldn't have expected them. There was nothing to apologize for."
On his memories of the Kraft family's first postseason game (Sunday's is their 40th) as owners of the Patriots: "We went to Cleveland. It was Bill [Belichick]. Bill eviscerated us. It's nice to have him on our side this time."
FOXBORO -- The Patriots will go with four receivers against the Steelers as Michael Floyd has been listed as a healthy scratch for the AFC title game.
- Curran: Patriots already winning one battle vs. Steelers
- Tom E. Curran's game preview
- Fire alarm pulled at Steelers' hotel at 3:40 a.m.
- Game notes: Pats aim for record ninth Super Bowl berth
- Brady to fans, teammates, friends: I'm playing today for you
- Report: Bennett played most of season with cracked bone and bone chips in ankle
- Bruschi to serve as Pats' honorary captain
- Gallery: The pregame scene
The Patriots had all five of their wideouts -- Floyd, Julian Edelman, Chris Hogan, Malcolm Mitchell and Danny Amendola -- available to them for Sunday's matchup, but they're opted to use the four who are most experienced in the team's offense.
Hogan (thigh), Mitchell (knee) and Amendola (ankle) were all listed as questionable going into the weekend, but all have been deemed physically ready to play as their team vies for a Super Bowl berth.
Floyd had his worst game as a member of the Patriots last week in the Divisional Round against the Texans. On two routes, both slants, Floyd ran the pattern in such a way that there appeared to be some miscommunication between him and quarterback Tom Brady. One was picked off and the other was almost picked.
Floyd admitted as much last week, saying that there are still intricacies to the Patriots offense that he needs to pick up -- including exactly how Brady wants certain routes run.
Hogan suffered a thigh injury against the Texans last week but felt optimistic soon thereafter that he'd be good to go for the conference championship. Mitchell hasn't played since suffering a knee injury against the Jets in Week 16.
Other Patriots inactives for Sunday include quarterback Jacoby Brissett, running back DJ Foster, offensive lineman LaAdrian Waddle, safety Jordan Richards and corners Justin Coleman and Cyrus Jones.