Labor Update – Yes On Rookie Wage Scale

Reports Wednesday afternoon out of the offices of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service in Washington indicate that the NFL and its players have had it up to here with each other. After 13 negotiating sessions, both sides are tired of dealing with egos on the other side.

The breaking point appears to be the information that players have asked the league to deliver. Reportedly, the league has produced some of its records, but not enough to satisfy the interests of the union.  Apparently the labor reps were upset by comments made Wednesday morning by the NFL’s chief negotiator Jeff Pash.

As he entered the FMCS building, Pash said the issue of financial transparency “really should be behind us.

“We’ve made more information available in the course of this negotiation than has ever been made available in decades of collective bargaining with the NFLPA. Far more information. And we’ve offered to make even more information available, including information that we do not disclose to our own clubs.”

On the plus side, reports out of the meeting indicate that the league and players have agreed on a compromise for a new rookie wage scale.

This new agreement limits the length of draft choice contracts, guaranteed money and signing bonuses. First-round choices can sign a contract for a maximum of four years. All other draft picks cannot sign for more than three years.

The union likes the limit of three and four-year deals, as it will give players a chance to get to free agency faster. Right now, the first 16 players selected could sign for up to six years and the next 16 in the first round could sign for five years. The owners reportedly backed off severe cutbacks in the total value of the contracts and the guaranteed money.

It’s an indication that the sides plan to return to the previous system of free agency, where a player reached restricted status after three seasons in the league and unrestricted after four years. In the 2010 season without a salary cap, the line between unrestricted free agency and restricted free agency was six years in the league.

Chiefs chairman Clark Hunt was taking part in the negotiations for the second consecutive day.

One Response to “Labor Update – Yes On Rookie Wage Scale”

  • March 10, 2011  - RW says:

    Excellent reporting Bob. Especially in view of the earlier announced news blackout but then again, people like to talk and word does filter out of these executive session events.

    I think the mediator or so-called neutral referee in the room will have to play an important role in getting this entire CBA issue moved forward. Otherwise it seems more angst and finger pointing will build to the point of a genuine impasse with both sides hunkering down for nuclear winter.

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