Player reps for the NFL's 32 teams voted 32-0 to approve a new collective bargaining agreement. In essence, the lockout has ended. All of the court procedures and bad blood can finally come to an end.
The collective bargaining agreement is a 10 year deal in which neither side (the players or the owners) can opt out, as the owners did in 2008. What this means is that the NFL is not in the current state that the NBA is in. Football will be played for the next 10 years without a stoppage.
Owners with the edge
The owners have agreed to share the $9.3 billion annual revenue with the players. The owners come up with the a victory on this, they get 53% compared to the players getting 47%. The old deal was closer to 50-50.
Player adjustments and results
The anti-trust lawsuit filed by players such as Drew Brees, Tom Brady, and Peyton Manning on March 11th is dropped by the new agreement.
The players also disbanded the union and will be looking to recertify. The recertification needs a vote and then the collective bargaining agreement can get a vote for approval. This all needs to be done by August 4th to make everything official. Everything is expected to go as planned. Only once the union has returned can the NFLPA finish the contract. The contract covers issues such as drug testing, player discipline, disability programs, and pensions.
Adjusted schedule for training camps and free agency
Tuesday July 26th, 10am ET
-Finally the club facilities open and players may report for physicals and strength and conditioning
-Rosters are expanded to 90 men
-Clubs may negotiate and sign with their own drafted rookies and undrafted rookies
-Clubs can negotiate with franchise players and all free agents
Wednesday, July 27th
Training Camp starts for Broncos, Cardinals, Cowboys, Chargers, Eagles, Jaguars, Patriots, Raiders, Ravens, Seahawks.
Thursday, July 28th
Training Camp starts for 49ers, Bengals, Buccaneers, Chiefs, Dolphins, Falcons, Lions, Redskins, Saints, and Steelers.
Friday, July 29th
Training camps begins for Bears, Bills, Browns, Colts, Giants, Packers, Panthers, Rams, Titans, Vikings.
Sunday, July 31th
Camp begins for Jets and Texans.
*August 4th, 4pm ET
- First day (of football) for 2011 League Year begins
- All teams must be within the salary cap
- All contracts signed on or after July 26th become effective
Highlighted ssues in the agreement
A salary system to rein in spending on first round draft picks and unrestricted free agents after four seasons. I'll give you an example of this. Cam Newton is not going to be signed to the same amount of money as a number 1 pick before this agreement, like Sam Bradford.
Dividing revenue; a per club cap of about $120 million for salary and bonuses in 2011 and at least that in 2012 and 2013- plus about $22 million for benefits.
Amount of games played
The owners wanted 18 games to be played instead of the current 16. The NFL will remain a 16 game schedule and they'll revisit this in 2013.
Health is an issue
There will be limited practice time and contact, a cut to 14 padded practices, limited full-contact practices, and more days off to recover. Players can remain in the medical plan for life and $50 million will be put to medical research and healthcare programs. Retirees will finally benefit from funds that were in the rookie pool that will now go towards the veterans and retirees. $900 million to $1 billion earmarked for retired player benefits over the next decade with $620 million ticketed for pre-1993 retirees.
Compromise has finally taken over as this is a sport in which the owners need to get their fair share and the players need to be compensated for putting their bodies on the line. Football is a sport that can affect a player physically after their careers and it was mandatory that this issue be addressed. With the basketball season being "up in the air", fans need something to look forward to and thanks to the owners and the players of the National Football League, it looks like we're headed for a great season. Are you ready for some football? I know that I am.