They Aren’t Done Yet

The NFL owners moved the labor football off the spot where it had been stuck for several days by voting 31-0 to approve an agreement with the league’s players.

That vote went down Thursday evening in Atlanta with all teams that voted going for the agreement. The Oakland Raiders abstained from the vote, something that Al Davis normally does in these type of league matters.

But the vote did not end the lockout of the players. The 2011 season will not move forward until the players re-certify their union, the NFL Players Association. That would take a vote of the entire NFLPA membership, with a simple majority leading to the recreation of the association as representatives of the players. Without that, the league would be open to further anti-trust legal action from individual players.

Speaking afterwards, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said team facilities will open up to players on Saturday. The league has tentatively scheduled the start of the league season for Wednesday, July 27, but that’s only if there is a recertified NFLPA. They must do that by Tuesday, July 26th.

Here’s what we know about what the NFL owners agreed to on Thursday:

  • 10-year agreement running through the 2020 season and the 2021 NFL Draft.
  • There are no opt-out options in the deal. It’s for 10 years, making it the longest such deal in pro football history.
  • Ownership approved a new supplementary revenue sharing system that was not detailed. 
  • All legal disputes between the players and owners will be settled as part of the agreement.
  • Players will receive 48 percent of the league revenue in the first years of the deal. The players share must average at least 47 percent over the 10 years.
  • The salary cap for the 2011 will be $120.375 million in salary and bonuses. Teams will spend another $22 million per club on benefits.
  • The salary cap for the 2012-13 seasons will be no lower than the 2011 amount.
  • The owners have committed to spending 99 percent of the salary cap in the 2011 and 2012 seasons. The owners have also committed to collectively spending at least 95 percent of the cap money in cash in the 2013 through 2016 seasons.
  • Teams will have to spend 89 percent of the salary cap in cash in the 2011 season.
  • Procedures have been set up to allow teams to borrow from the salary cap in future seasons.
  • Minimum salaries based on years of service will increase 10 percent each year.
  • The NFL Draft will remain at seven rounds with teams receiving compensatory picks based on free agency losses.
  • Players will get unrestricted free agency after four seasons in the league.
  • Rookie draft choice contracts will be four years, with the teams holding an option for a fifth-year. Undrafted rookies will sign 3-year contracts.
  • There will be a cap on rookie spending.
  • No change on the 4 pre-season and 16 regular season games through 2013; any change at that point would have to be bargained with the players.
  • OTA sessions in the off-season have been dropped from a maximum of 14 to a maximum of 10.
  • There cannot be two-a-day practices in the pre-season with physical contact in each session.
  • Limit on full physical contact in regular season practices.
  • Players will be able to remain in the league’s medical plan for the rest of their life.
  • The 2011 Hall of Fame Game between the Chicago Bears and St. Louis Rams has been cancelled.

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