National Football League owners, players and their respective legal teams met this week in an attempt to save this year’s pre-season.
After seven weeks of labor negotiations with little progress, rookie pay scale has become the major issue discussed during this week’s proceedings.
While months of labor disputes in reshaping a new collective bargaining agreement have fueled talks of a canceled 2011-2012 football season, it seems both owners and players have agreed that rookie contracts need to be altered.
According to the NFL, owners and players have been making progress towards splitting revenue in an amicable way for both parties. However, a rookie salary system and benefits for league retirees are two issues that may make the new collective bargaining agreement difficult to reconstruct.
The main issue at hand when the lockout began in March was the new CBA featuring team owners’ increase in money received from the league’s revenue pool. Under the old agreement, owners received $1 billion from a $9 billion revenue pool.
However, owners were pushing for a $2.4 billion credit in the upcoming season. This increase for owners would lead to an 18 percent decrease in the players’ share in the revenue pool.
The new CBA also outlined a 51-49 split of overall earnings between owners and players. However, the NFL Players’ Association has been pushing for a 50-50 split.
Joe Linta, an NFL agent who represents 50 players, said owners need to create an agreement that benefits players.
"There has to be a trade-off if the owners are pushing on (less) guaranteed money," agent Joe Linta said. "Players need less onerous restrictions on the length of their contracts. The bottom line is that the owners cannot have it both ways."
The football pre-season is scheduled to begin on Aug 7. The NFL reports that their internal deadline to reach some type of agreement will be July 15.