Finally some good news out of the NFL labor negotiations. The two sides, NFL owners and the now-defunct-but-still-oddly-functioning-like-a players union have agreed in principle to the financial side of things, and now the lawyers simply must hammer out the rest. In the deal, the sides agreed on a revenue split, a rookie wage cap and a whole slew of other financial considerations aimed at helping retired players and stadium initiatives.
However, everyone close to the talks also made note of the fact that a number of obstacles still remain, beyond the financial aspects of the deal. Things such as off-season workout restrictions, free agency and a slew of other issues. Things are moving in the right direction but a finalized deal still isn’t here. The likelihood that the lockout ends next week is high, but far from certain.
Players are still trying to get free agency rules back to what they were in 2009 when any player with four years of experience was considered an unrestricted free agent, while the owners want to get rookie salaries down and prevent situations where unproven players are the highest paid at their position before ever taking a snap (Jake Long, Sam Bradford, JaMarcus Russell).
Under the system discussed Thursday, people told the AP, clubs will have an option for a fifth year on a rookie’s contract for a predetermined amount based on the player’s performance during the previous years of the deal.
We’ll have all the specifics once a deal is finalized.