Following are key dates on the revised 2011 League Calendar, contingent upon ratification of the agreement by the players prior to these dates: JULY
July 23: Voluntary training, conditioning and classroom instruction permitted until first day of clubs' preseason training camps. July 23: Pre-2011 League Year Period commences. 2011 Free Agency List to be issued and will become effective on the first day of the 2011 League Year (July 27). Clubs/players may begin to renegotiate contracts. Clubs may begin to sign Drafted Rookies and their own UFAs, RFAs, Exclusive Rights Players and Franchise Players. July 23: Waivers begin for the 2011 League Year. July 23: Starting at 2:00 PM ET, clubs may negotiate with, but not sign, Undrafted Rookie Free Agents, free agents, and other clubs' UFAs, RFAs, and Franchise Players. July 24: Starting at 2:00 PM ET, clubs may begin to sign undrafted rookie free agents. July 27: 2011 League Year commences at 2:00 PM ET, provided NFLPA has ratified CBA. Free Agency Signing Period begins. Clubs may sign free agents and other clubs' Unrestricted Free Agents. Clubs may sign Offer Sheets. Trading period begins. All Clubs must be under the Salary Cap. Top 51 rule applies. July 27: Expand rosters to 90-man limit. July 27: Training Camps open for all clubs, provided NFLPA has ratified CBA. Day One activities limited to physicals, meetings, and conditioning. No pads permitted on Day Two or Day Three. AUGUST
Aug. 9: Deadline for players under contract to report to their clubs to earn an Accrued Season for free agency. Aug. 11-15: First Preseason Weekend Aug. 12: Deadline for signing of Offer Sheets by Restricted Free Agents. (17-day period concludes) Aug. 12: Deadline for June 1 Tender to Unrestricted Free Agents. If the player has not signed a Player Contract with a Club by August 26, he may negotiate or sign a Player Contract from August 26 until the Tuesday following the tenth week of the regular season, at 4:00 PM ET, only with his Prior Club. Aug. 12: Deadline: if a Drafted Rookie has not signed a Player Contract by this date, he cannot be traded during his initial League Year and may sign a Player Contract only with the drafting Club until the day of the Draft in the next League Year. Aug. 13-17: Each Club has until five days prior to its second preseason game to provide any tendered but unsigned Exclusive Rights Player or Restricted Free Agent with written notice of the Club's intent to place the player on the Exempt List if the player fails to report at least the day before the Club's second preseason game. Aug. 16: Deadline for Prior Club to exercise Right of First Refusal to Restricted Free Agents. (Four-day matching period concludes) Aug. 17: Deadline for June 1 Tender to Restricted Free Agents who have received a Qualifying Offer for a Right of First Refusal Only. Aug. 18-22: Second Preseason Weekend. Aug. 25-28: Third Preseason Weekend. Aug. 26: Signing Period ends for Unrestricted Free Agents who received the June 1 Tender. Aug. 29: Deadline for June 15 Tender to Restricted Free Agents. If player's Qualifying Offer is greater than 110% of the player's prior year's Paragraph 5 Salary (with all other terms of his prior year contract carried forward unchanged), the Club may withdraw the Qualifying Offer on August 29 and retain its exclusive negotiating rights to the player, so long as the Club immediately tenders the player a one-year Player Contract of at least 110% of his prior year's Paragraph 5 Salary, with all the terms of his prior year's contract carried forward unchanged. Aug. 30: Clubs reduce rosters from 90 players to 75 players. SEPTEMBER
Sept. 1-2: Fourth Preseason Weekend. Sept. 3: Clubs reduce rosters to 53 players. Sept. 8-12: First Regular-Season Weekend. Sept. 18-19: Second Regular-Season Weekend. Sept. 20: Deadline at 4:00 PM ET for any Club that designated a Franchise Player to sign such player to a multi-year contract or extension.
If approved by the players, the new collective bargaining agreement will include the following key terms: TERM:
» The fixed term of the agreement covers the 2011 through 2020 seasons and includes the 2021 draft. PLAYER HEALTH AND SAFETY:
» Immediate implementation of changes to promote player health and safety by:
» Reducing the off-season program by five weeks, reducing OTAs from 14 to 10;
» Limiting on-field practice time and contact;
» Limiting full-contact practices in the preseason and regular season;
» Increasing number of days off for players.
» Opportunity for current players to remain in the player medical plan for life.
» An enhanced injury protection benefit of up to $1 million of a player's salary for the contract year after his injury and up to $500,000 in the second year after his injury.
» No change to the 16-4 season format until at least 2013; any subsequent increase in the number of regular-season games must be made by agreement with the NFL Players Association.
» $50 million per year joint fund for medical research, healthcare programs, and NFL Charities, including NFLPA-related charities. RETIRED PLAYER BENEFITS:
» Over the next 10 years, additional funding for retiree benefits of between $900 million and $1 billion. The largest single amount, $620 million, will be used for a new "Legacy Fund," which will be devoted to increasing pensions for pre-1993 retirees.
» Other improvements will be made to post-career medical options, the disability plan, the 88 Plan, career transition and degree completion programs, and the Player Care Plan. DRAFT/FREE AGENCY SYSTEM:
» An annual Draft of seven rounds plus compensatory picks for teams which lose free agents.
» Unrestricted free agency for players after four accrued seasons;
» Restricted free agency for players with three accrued seasons.
» Free agency exceptions (franchise and transition players). ENTRY LEVEL COMPENSATION SYSTEM:
New entry-level compensation system including the following elements:
» All drafted players sign four-year contracts.
» Undrafted free agents sign three-year contracts.
» Maximum total compensation per draft class.
» Limited contract terms.
» Strong anti-holdout rules.
» Clubs have option to extend the contract of a first-round draftee for a fifth year, based on agreed-upon tender amounts.
» Creation of new fund to redistribute, beginning in 2012, savings from new rookie pay system to current and retired player benefits and a veteran player performance pool. ECONOMICS:
» Salary cap plus benefits of $142.4 million per club in 2011 ($120.375 million for salary and bonus) and at least that amount in 2012 and 2013.
» Beginning in 2012, salary cap to be set based on a combined share of "all revenue," a new model differentiated by revenue source with no expense reductions. Players will receive 55 percent of national media revenue, 45 percent of NFL Ventures revenue, and 40 percent of local club revenue.
» Beginning in 2012, annual "true up" to reflect revenue increases or decreases versus projections.
» Clubs receive credit for actual stadium investment and up to 1.5 percent of revenue each year.
» Player share must average at least 47 percent for the 10-year term of the agreement.
» League-wide commitment to cash spending of 99 percent of the cap in 2011 and 2012.
» For the 2013-2016 seasons, and again for the 2017-2020 seasons, the clubs collectively will commit to cash spending of at least 95 percent of the cap.
» Each club committed to cash spending of 89 percent of the cap from 2013-2016 and 2017-2020.
» Increases to minimum salaries of 10 percent in Year 1 with continuing increases each year of the agreement. 2011-2012 TRANSITION RULES:
» Special transition rules to protect veteran players in 2011. All teams will have approximately $3.5 million in what would otherwise be performance-based pay available to fund veteran player salaries.
» Each club may "borrow" up to $3 million in cap room from a future year, which may be used to support veteran player costs.
» In 2012, each club may "borrow" up to $1.5 million in cap room from a future year. Both these amounts would be repaid in future years. OTHER:
» No judicial oversight of the agreement. Neutral arbitrators jointly appointed by the NFL and NFLPA will resolve disputes as appropriate.
» Settlement of all pending litigation.
Well the owners have done their part and as I write this at 6:30 MDT the players reps have already begun their conference call to discuss this offer to settle on the part of the owners and how to recertify the NFLPA as a union. The vote was unanimous at 31-0 with who else but Al Davis abstaining.
Although time constraints have forced the cancellation of the HOF Game it appears that if all goes well teams will begin to open their facilties to their players on Saturday. Then on Wednesday next the league will officially open for business. Teams will then have a three day window in which to sign there own UFA's before the beginning of the FA period which will commence on Saturday next if I'm correct.
If there's anything more to report this evening I'll attach it to this thread and suggest to all of you that you do the same so that we have one place to go to for current info. If the staff will be so kind, please leave this in this forum until the CBA Agreement has been made official and we know that it's all a go.
Whoopeeeee!!!! Football at last.
I'm getting to that age where a lifetime warranty just doesn't mean as much to me anymore as an afternoon nap.
Honey Badger Don't Care. Honey Badger Don't Give a Shit.
Posted by Gregg Rosenthal on July 21, 2011, 8:40 PM EDT It looks like we won’t have a labor agreement before the end of the night. Jay Glazer of FOX reports that players do not expect to vote on Thursday night. A report surfaced that the players “rejected” the owner’s proposal, but that proved premature. They can’t reject something they haven’t voted on. We’re hesitant to say anything is set in stone considering the nature of these talks, but this much is clear: The players have notreacted well to the owners’ ratification Thursday.
Source: NFLPA* remains optimistic a deal can be reached
Posted by Mike Florio on July 21, 2011, 8:18 PM EDT
Despite a pair of sphincter-tightening e-mails that are making the rounds in the wake of the NFL’s decision to agree . . . with itself regarding a new labor deal, which has sparked a potential pissing match between the players and the owners, a high-ranking NFLPA* official expressed optimism that the situation will be resolved. That said, the belief within the NFLPA* is that the owners shouldn’t have done what they did. Meanwhile, it would be wise for the NFL to not let general counsel Jeff Pash (pictured) talk publicly until this matter is signed, sealed, and delivered. The players don’t like Pash, and even if he’s saying exactly what the players need to hear, they don’t want to hear it from him.
NFL owners voted overwhelmingly in favor of a tentative 10-year agreement to end the four-month-old lockout Thursday, pending player approval. The vote was 31-0 with the Oakland Raiders abstaining from the ratification, which came after a full day of meetings at an Atlanta-area hotel. "We had profound philosophical differences of a football and an economic nature," Raiders CEO Amy Trask told NFL Network reporter Albert Breer. " ... We voted the way we thought was appropriate."
Players still had to sign off on the deal -- and they must re-establish their union, the NFL said. Players didn't vote on a full pact Wednesday because there were issues that hadn't been resolved. They planned to have a conference call later Thursday.
"Hopefully, we can all work quickly, expeditiously, to get this agreement done," NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said. "It is time to get back to football. That's what everybody here wants to do."
The lockout is the NFL's first work stoppage since 1987. One casualty was the first game on the preseason schedule -- the Aug. 7 Hall of Fame game between the Chicago Bears and St. Louis Rams was canceled Thursday. "The time was just too tight," Goodell said. "Unfortunately, we're not going to be able to play the game this year."
Team facilities will open Saturday, and the new league year will begin Wednesday, Goodell said -- assuming the players approve the agreement, too.
After the owners approved their proposal, NFL Players Association executive director DeMaurice Smith sent the following email to the players before their conference call: "As you know the Owners have ratifified 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 owners locked out the players March 12. During that time, teams weren't allowed to communicate with current NFL players; players -- including those drafted in April -- couldn't be signed; and teams didn't pay for players' health insurance.
» An agreement that covers the 2011 through 2020 seasons, including the 2021 draft.
» Reducing the offseason program by five weeks and reducing organized team activities from 14 to 10; limiting full-contact practices in the preseason and regular season, and increasing number of days off for players.
» Rookie wage scale to include four-year contracts for all drafted players (option for five years on first-rounders), three-year contracts for undrafted free agents, and strong anti-holdout rules.
» Creation of a new fund to redistribute, beginning in 2012, savings from new rookie pay system to current and retired player benefits and a veteran player performance pool.
» Unrestricted free agency for players after four accrued seasons; restricted free agency for players with three accrued seasons.
» Over the next 10 years, additional funding for retiree benefits between $900 million and $1 billion. The largest single amount, $620 million, will be used for a new "Legacy Fund," which will be devoted to increasing pensions for pre-1993 retirees.
» Salary cap plus benefits of $142.4 million per club in 2011 and at least that amount in 2012 and 2013.
NFL.com senior writer Steve Wyche reported that a football operations meeting will start Friday at 8 a.m. ET, according to a league source, to brief teams on the new rules. Importance of recertification Now that owners have ratified a proposal to end the lockout, NFL Network legal analyst Gabe Feldman explains the importance of the NFLPA recertifying. More...
Now it's up to the players. Earlier Thursday, Smith said recertification is a serious issue that the players will consider individually. "I certainly remember comments from some of the owners about how we may not even be a real union," Smith said. "Well, guess what? The decision to decertify was important because at the time we were a real union. And the decision for our players, as men, to come back as a union is going to be an equally serious and sober one that they have to make."
One of the things being discussed in terms of a settlement is how and when the NFLPA would recertify as a union. Player sources indicated to NFL Network insider Jason La Canfora that the NFLPA wants to use a system of signed cards and follow certain bylaws in order to recertify.
The issue between the parties is mainly one of time, specifically how long it would take to collect approximately 1,900 signatures. Getting those signatures takes time, and the league obviously is looking to open for business as soon as possible. There is the possibility the National Labor Relations Board could help speed things up, even if the recertification process is done by actual signature.
The parties also could come to a compromise, according to a source, whereby the lockout is lifted before a full global settlement is reached -- which would have to include recertification in order to have a full CBA -- to allow players to report in the interim.
That would make it easier to collect signatures and cards of players currently under contract since they would be centrally located at team facilities. If that takes place, in theory, then the signatures needed could be obtained over weekend and allow the league year to begin next week.
Jacksonville Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew told NFL Network the conference call likely will be to educate players on the details of the proposed deal. Lockout coverage on NFL Network
Tune into to NFL Network for complete coverage as owners and players enter the final phase of labor negotiations to end the NFL lockout. Albert Breer, Steve Wyche, Scott Hanson and Jason La Canfora are providing live coverage from Atlanta and Washington, D.C.
"A lot of people have to understand, we're not extending the CBA from prior years or anything like that," Jones-Drew said. "This is 600 pages that we've created (through) negotiations with the owners. So we have to go through a lot of legal documents, a lot of things." Jones-Drew added: "I've always told people on my radio show, the closer we get, the harder it's going to be. I think both sides have moved very far from where we had our sticking points. Things should be happening here pretty closely, but you can't rush anything like this because it's going to affect the game for years to come, for a decade hopefully."
The six-year veteran preached patience to those eager to see football activities resume. "We understand fans want to see the game played, and as players, we want to see the game played as well. But we want everything to be correct," Jones-Drew said. "You don't want to rush anything like this, just because of the nature of the business, the money that's involved. A word like 'and,' and a word like 'or' can mean three different things and it could change the whole dynamic of the CBA. So we want to make sure everything is right, and one of the reasons we didn't vote (Wednesday) is because we had some issue that needed to be solved."
Actually, the player reps did vote Wednesday at NFLPA headquarters in Washington, D.C., but it wasn't the type of vote that was expected. Instead of simply approving the draft that lawyers and staff had been working on for the last month, the reps conditionally passed it to the Brady plaintiffs, sources told NFL Network reporter Albert Breer. In other words, the proposal will go to the 10 plaintiffs involved in the Brady antitrust case only if the league meets certain conditions in settling that piece of litigation, and also the TV rights fees case, in which players accused owners of setting up a $4 billion lockout-insurance fund.
The players also empowered Smith, their legal counsel and the 13-man executive committee to work out the remaining issues, according to sources. One is the players' pursuit of $320 million in benefits lost as part of the 2010 uncapped-year rules, which were negotiated in the 2006 labor deal.
Smith and Goodell have stayed in close, regular contact throughout negotiations, even at times when the parties weren't meeting. Throughout this week, for instance, Smith and Goodell have held after-hours discussions about the remaining issues, trying to bridge the remaining gaps and forge a global settlement, numerous sources told La Canfora.
The good news is that, outside of a few minor issues, the players are amenable to terms that would serve as a new labor deal, should the NFLPA re-certify as a union. The Brady plantiffs -- which include quarterbacks Tom Brady, Peyton Manning and Drew Brees -- also would have to sign off for any settlement to be reached.
The NFLPA executive committee will not recommend that player reps vote on any deal until both lawsuits are resolved, multiple sources told La Canfora, and it's unknown when that will be. Before Wednesday's meeting in Washington, NFLPA president Kevin Mawae cautioned not to assume the lockout will be over by the weekend, saying his group was "not tied" to a deadline for having a deal done by Thursday.
"We want to go back to work, but we will not agree to a deal unless it's the best deal for the players," Mawae said. "The players are not tied to a July 21 timeline," he added. "Our timeline is that which gives us the best deal for the players -- today, tomorrow or whatever it might be."
NFL Network reporter Albert Breer, NFL Network insider Jason La Canfora, NFL Network insider Michael Lombardi, NFL.com senior writer Steve Wyche and The Associated Press contributed to this report
I'm getting to that age where a lifetime warranty just doesn't mean as much to me anymore as an afternoon nap.
Honey Badger Don't Care. Honey Badger Don't Give a Shit.