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New Collective Bargaining Agreement Taking Shape

Not sure what these limo drivers are protesting, but they should make their picket signs bigger.
Not sure what these limo drivers are protesting, but they should make their picket signs bigger.

Last week, we wrote that meetings between the owners and players were starting to bear fruit, and that a deal could be reached as early as mid-July. Now, sources have begun to leak details of the terms of the new Collective Bargaining Agreement being negotiated between the owners and players. The new arrangement is expected to mirror the previous one, with some fairly significant changes.

Revenue Sharing

Old: The players received about 60% of total revenue, but "total revenue" wasn't calculated until after the owners took $1 billion up front for costs.

New: Players will now receive approximately 48% of total revenue, a number which will vary but never dip below 46.5%. The owners will no longer receive $1 billion off the top before division, but they will still get various expense credits to fund building new stadiums and the like. This will greatly simplify accounting and audits that needed to be done under the old regime.

Rookie Wages

Old: There were no controls over how much new draft picks could receive. It was simply whatever the market would bear.

New: There will be a rookie wage scale in the new agreement, though exact details have not yet been finalized.


Game Schedule

Old: We're all familiar with the old schedule formula, correct?

New: No additional regular season games are mandated by the new agreement. Both sides are keeping an 18-game schedule as an item open to negotiation, but not necessary for a new CBA to be finalized. What WILL be new, however, is a full-season Thursday Night Football slate. These additional prime time games will help produce additional revenue to pay for the changes in how the money is eventually split.


Salary Cap

Old: Through the 2009 season, teams had a maximum and minimum they could spend on player payroll. For the 2010 season, there was no cap or floor at all.

New: Under the proposed new deal, the salary cap will return, however the floor will be increased, such that teams will be mandated to spend close to 100% of the cap. This will prevent teams from spending the least possible and pocketing the difference.


Free Agency

Old: As we are all well aware, the 2010 season saw players require 6 years of service time before becoming unrestricted free agents. We are also all well aware of what the consequences were.

New: The service time requirements for free agency will return to 4 years, as it was before 2010. That means players such as Eric Weddle and Malcom Floyd will be unrestricted free agents.


In all, these terms seem like a nice series of compromises. Both the owners and players have given ground, each mollified by the promise of even greater future revenues to make up for what they are surrendering. There is also talk that this deal could have a ten year term, meaning that if this deal does happen, we could see a long, uninterrupted period of labor peace in the NFL.