Owners Approve New Football Labor Deal; Players Yet to Vote

The NFL made progression in ending the four-month lockout on Thursday when its owners voted 31-0 in favor of a proposed labor agreement. NFL players, however, have yet to vote on the deal.

NFL owners ratified a 10-year collective bargaining agreement that now requires the players in the leagues vote to re-establish their union and agree to a labor settlement.

The Oakland Raiders was the only team to abstain from the vote. Amy Trask, the Raiders' chief executive claims they had "profound philosophical differences on a number of issues - both of a football and an economic nature," according to the Los Angeles Times.

If the NFL players union agrees with the proposed deal, they will be eligible to return to their team facilities Saturday and free agency will begin Wednesday.

NFL players could have voted on the deal as early as Friday but a decision may have to wait until the weekend. The National Football League Players Association said the proposed deal is still be reviewed by the players.

"Player leadership is discussing the most recent written proposal with the NFL, which includes a settlement agreement, deal terms and the right process for addressing recertification," NFLPA president Kevin Mawae said in a statement Friday.

"There will not be any further NFLPA statements today out of respect for the Kraft family while they mourn the loss of Myra Kraft."

Many NFL owners and the union chief are in Boston Friday to attend the funeral of the wife of New England Patriots owner Bob Kraft. Mrs. Kraft died Wednesday after a battle with cancer.

While the Hall of Fame game - the annual first exhibition football game - has been canceled, officials hope a deal could be reached so the NFL can have a full 2011 season.

"Hopefully, we can all work quickly, expeditiously and get this agreement done. It is time to get back to football. That is what everybody here wants to do," said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.

The proposed 10-year deal by NFL owners would feature new changes that include a new compensation system for rookies that would pay top draft picks significantly less, LA Times reported. It would also assure players of an average of 47 percent of total revenue over the life of the agreement.

Under the new agreement, players with expired contracts would be eligible for unrestricted free agency after four seasons, as opposed to six seasons that the former labor agreement entailed.

The Denver Post reported the salary cap also changed, as the new cap for 2011 will be $120.4 million per team, down from $128 million in 2009.

The NFL regular season will remain at 16 games, and several measures would be put in place to limit off-season workouts and the amount of practices in helmets and pads throughout the season.

Although the sides are thought to be in agreement on most of the major economic components of a deal, a few issues still linger that might derail the players from agreeing to the settlement.

NFL players are reportedly seeking $320 million in unpaid benefits from last year, according to LA Times.