|03-08-2006, 02:59 PM||#1|
Ring of Famer
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Somewhere in Jersey
ESPN: NFL owners still searching for consensus
Doesn't look good for a deal or does it? A lot of rhetoric going both ways.
Updated: March 8, 2006, 3:17 PM ET
NFL owners still searching for consensus
ESPN.com news services
GRAPEVINE, Texas -- NFL owners meetings continued Wednesday afternoon, with owners taking a lunch break at around 1:30 p.m. ET after 4½ hours of meetings on revenue sharing.
There is a Pittsburgh model being pushed by Dan and Art Rooney of the Steelers. That plan would have each team put 25 percent of local revenues into a pool that would be distributed to teams in the lower end of the revenue stream.
There is a New England Patriots-New York Jets model that expands an already existing local revenue sharing plan. Currently, $40 million of local revenue is being shared. The Patriot-Jet model expands that number significantly.
At this stage, though, no system has the 24 votes needed to pass.
During the break, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones told ESPN's Ed Werder the owners weren't making much progress.
"I don't think we're progressing. I think it will go to the last minute. I think we've probably had a step back today," Jones said.
That contradicts at least one other owner, who told Werder that progress has been made and he expects that ultimately, the owners will adopt a new revenue-sharing plan and accept the NFL Players Association proposal to extend the current CBA another six years.
Earlier Wednesday, owners returned to an airport-area hotel for a second day of meetings. The NFL has until 8 p.m. ET to accept the NFL Players Association proposal for a six-year labor extension, or face a final year of the current agreement with a salary cap, followed by an uncapped year.
"We're not even close to a consensus yet," said Jim Irsay, owner of the Indianapolis Colts.
That assessment came a day after commissioner Paul Tagliabue tried to build consensus with a speech to the owners, reminding them of the labor strife that culminated in strikes in 1982 and 1987.
But the good feeling that engendered seemed to wane as the owners discussed expanded revenue sharing. Irsay suggested they needed a consensus builder like the late Wellington Mara of the New York Giants, the last of the NFL's founding generation, who died last October.
"We need the ghost of St. Wellington to appear with some of the forefathers," he said.
The owners were operating under an 8 p.m. ET deadline to get a deal done before the start of free agency. Free agency, twice delayed, is scheduled to begin Thursday if owners turn down the union's offer. If they approve it, free agency will start Friday.
The Tuesday meeting ended at 10:15 p.m. ET, completing more than eight hours of talks, Clayton reported. No vote was taken, and most of the evening was spent discussing at least three different revenue sharing plans, plans that have been discussed for years.
Raiders owner Al Davis joked that a lot of people were in the room "giving money away." While the discussion was good, no revenue sharing deal was close to settled. "Whenever you discuss revenue sharing, it's like Groundhog Day," Colts owner Jim Irsay said.
Steelers owner Dan Rooney was asked if there was any progress as the meeting ended. "Nothing worth talking about," he said.
As Tuesday's meeting broke up, most of the participants acknowledged there was a long way to go.
"I love my country and I love my league," said Oakland's Davis, the NFL's most consistent maverick for decades but now, according to those in the meeting, a strong Tagliabue supporter. "People who have been through this in the past want something good to come of it. What's good is another question."
That will be the major discussion when the owners begin real debate on the important issue of expanded revenue sharing, which has divided teams into "haves" and "have-nots." Gene Upshaw, the executive director of the NFL Players Association, has insisted throughout more than a year of negotiations that division must be resolved before agreement can be reached on a contract extension.
There are three plans on the table and each has different supporters and different opponents. To get it done, 24 of the 32 teams will have to support one of them.
It is anything but a sure thing that the owners will agree by the deadline to the union's proposal. There was doubt among many owners that any of the plans could get the three-quarters support to pass, according to those in the meetings.
If there is no agreement, it doesn't mean there will be a work stoppage -- at least not for the next two years.
But it would keep the salary cap at $94.5 million rather than as much as $10 million more. It would put a number of veterans on the street and it would also limit the amount available for other free agents. And it would lead to an uncapped year in 2007, which would allow some teams to spend almost at will and keep others from spending at all.
The revenue debate involves low-income teams such as Buffalo, Cincinnati and Indianapolis who say high-revenue teams -- Dallas, Washington and Philadelphia, for instance -- should contribute proportionately to the player pool because they can earn far more in non-football income such as advertising and local radio rights.
Those high-revenue teams might contribute only 10 percent of their outside money compared with 50 percent or more for low-revenue teams.
It's difficult to anticipate how the vote may go, especially with the negotiations that have had daily twists and turns. But Jones, one of the leaders of the high-revenue teams, indicated even before the meeting began that his viewpoint might lose.
"We want to play football," Jones said. "We have an obligation to everyone, particularly our fans.
"My gut is we're going to come up with something, but it's still up in the air. It's going to be long and drawn out and tough."
Later, Jones said: "We've had a good dialogue. Very productive."
Beyond that, some of the higher-revenue teams that entered the meeting undecided have owners who have traditionally been "league" people who regularly sacrifice for the good of the league.
They include the Denver Broncos, owned by Pat Bowlen, and the New York Giants, run by John Mara, son of the late Wellington Mara, who more than 40 years ago was one of three major-market owners who agreed to share television money. The senior Mara was elected to the Hall of Fame in part because of that decision.
Another fence-sitter is the New York Jets. Traditionally, the Jets have followed the Giants' lead, although that happened more often when Leon Hess, a close friend of Wellington Mara's, owned the team. The current Jets owner is Woody Johnson.
In any event, Tuesday's meeting was reportedly amicable.
"We haven't punched anyone yet," Rooney said.
That could change Wednesday.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.
|03-08-2006, 03:07 PM||#3|
Anybody want a peanut?
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Ceti Alpha V
I predict there will be no deal but they'll delay free agency "just three more days" to talk about it some more.
|03-08-2006, 03:16 PM||#5|
Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: Folsom Prison
on a positive note, I bet this is bugging TO.
|03-08-2006, 03:25 PM||#6|
Ring of Famer
Join Date: Sep 2003
Mort on ESPN Radio (Live) right now........says the Jerry Jones quote is more like him having a step back
Arthur Blank (Falcons) thinks it will get done.
His opinion is it will get done.
His opinion is no more extensions.......if it gets shot down, FA starts tonight, if it gets passed FA starts tomorrow night.
Thinks owners are less divided now than where they were last week.
Biggest in favor of blowing it up-Jerry Jones
Small Market against-Bills Owner
Last edited by ND Bronco Fan; 03-08-2006 at 03:28 PM..
|03-08-2006, 06:30 PM||#10|
King of the Ants
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: Paradise lost
Time crawls: NFL delays deadline until 11 p.m.
March 8, 2006
CBS SportsLine.com wire reports
GRAPEVINE, Texas -- The NFL delayed another deadline on Wednesday.
A little more than two hours before the latest deadline to accept or turn down the NFL Players Association's offer to extend the labor agreement, the owners pushed it back again. This time they extended the deadline for teams to get under the salary cap by two hours, from 9 p.m. EST until 11 p.m.
With that, the owners kept talking as they tried to resolve the sticky issue of expanded revenue sharing that has tied them up for two years. The additional money it would generate is considered the best way the owners can accede to the union's request for just less than 60 percent of the league's total revenues.
NFL spokesman Joe Browne, in announcing the deadline change, said it was made to give additional time to reach agreement on the complicated plans on which they are working. The 8 p.m. EST deadline for informing the union whether the owners accept or reject their proposal stands, although there was some question whether the league might be switching time zones -- Gene Upshaw, the executive director of the players union was in Hawaii, where 8 p.m. would be 1 a.m EST.
The owners' marathon meeting started Tuesday and ended with labor peace nowhere in sight.
Earlier Wednesday, there was still clearly no consensus.
Jerry Jones of Dallas, the leader of the group opposing revenue sharing, said he was dismayed by developments. Indianapolis' Jim Irsay, one of the spokesmen for the low-revenue teams that want help from the richer teams suggested the league needed a consensus builder like the late Wellington Mara of the New York Giants, the last of the NFL's founding generation, who died last October.
"We need the ghost of St. Wellington to appear with some of the forefathers," Irsay said.
Despite the latest delay, free agency, twice delayed, is still scheduled to begin Thursday at 12:01 a.m. EST if owners turn down the union's offer. If they approve it, free agency will start Friday.
Meanwhile, there was as much lobbying going on as discussion.
At the lunch break, Mara's son John, along with Jerry Richardson of Carolina and Pat Bowlen of Denver met with commissioner Paul Tagliabue in an attempt to find a way to build a consensus. All three are considered "league" men, owners who will do what they think is best for the league, something Tagliabue urged during Tuesday's session.
They seemed to be aligned, somewhat surprisingly, with Oakland's Al Davis, a maverick with a long history of court fights with the league. "I love my country and I love my league," Davis said repeatedly.
The Associated Press News Service
Copyright 2005-2006, The Associated Press, All Rights Reserved
|03-08-2006, 06:36 PM||#11|
Ring of Famer
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Somewhere in Jersey
Who ever thought Al Davis and Pat Bowlen would team up.
I want them to tell the fans and everyone else one way or another.
This has dragged on long enough.