By Tom E. Curran
CSNNE.com Patriots InsiderFollow @tomecurran
ATLANTA - NFL owners voted Thursday night to end the lockout they began on March 11. With the clubs voting 31-0 to settle all litigation and ratify a 10-year collective bargaining agreement (the Oakland Raiders abstained), the mood at the Atlanta Gateway Marriott was jubilant. But the owners may have only succeeding in inciting the locked-out players who feel the owners went too far in ratifying a CBA they hadn't seen in full. It was anticipated that owners would merely vote in favor of settling all pending litigation with the players. Theso-called "global settlement" would bring to an end the Brady vs. The NFL case and settle the "lockout insurance case." Once that was agreed upon, the players were expecting to agree to the settlement and then the ratification of the CBA could begin with the union presumably re-forming. Instead, the owners essentially said, "The bus is leaving. You're on it or you're not."The NFL's timeline calls for players to begin reporting Saturday and the league year to begin next Wednesday. But the players balked at even having a vote Thursday night. On a conference call between NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith and the player reps, nothing was decided. And agitation over the owner's move was evident.
In an e-mail sent to players from the NFLPA's executive director Smith stated:
"As you know the Owners have ratified their proposal to settle our differences. It is my understanding that they are forwarding it to us. As you may have heard, they apparently approved a supplemental revenue sharing proposal. Obviously, we have not been a part of those discussions. As you know from yesterday, issues that need to be collectively bargained remain open, other issues such as workers compensation, economic issues and end of deal terms remain unresolved. There is no agreement between the NFL and the Players at this time. I look forward to our call tonight."
The player component is critical. Without the players recertifying their union and agreeing to the proposal, the lockout remains in place.
It is a power play by the owners and it puts the onus squarely on the players now.
"We have gotten a lot done here in the past two days," said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. "We will be prepared to open training facilities this Saturday. We are prepared to start the new league year next Wednesday subject to the full membership of the players ratifying the agreement."
The Hall of Fame Game, scheduled for August 7 has been cancelled.
"It's important that all 32 teams operate with the same time and dates," Goodell said about the cancellation of the game. "The ceremonies will still go on."
"It's time to get back to football," said Goodell. "That is what everyone here wants to do."
Asked what the ramifications would be if the players weren't able to come up with a rapid approval, Goodell answered, "We want to have a full preseason and we're up against the wall asI think you can see by the cancellation of the Hall of Fame Game."
Goodell had several conversations with Smith as the day progressed.Goodell said that, after the final call, Smith was "going to take care of his business". As it stands now, there's a lot of business left to take care of.
Some details of the deal, as reported by ESPN:
-Players receive 48-percent of revenue
-120M salary cap, team minimum 89M as long as league spends 99-percent (3.8B)
-Four-year rookie contracts with team option for a 5th year.
-Lower rookie salaries, with cap on team spending for rookies
-Later training camps, no full-contact two-a-days
-OTA's reduced from 14 to nine games
-Veterans earn free agency after 4th season
Things will move fast if the players agree to reform the union and ratify the agreement. After a long, slow summer, that's a good thing.