NFLPA Memo to agents and NFL's own counter-arguments

Thanks to chikmagnet_565 for getting a FanShot up about this.  For those who missed it, NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith circulated a memo to all NFL agents on Tuesday regarding the collective bargaining agreement (and lack there of) and issues of the potential uncapped year fast approaching in a week and a half.  I didn't have time to move the FanShot up front, so I thought I'd elaborate a bit more on what Smith had to say to the agents.  Given the potential for the uncapped year, and more importantly, a lockout in 2011, labor updates are going to be a necessary (and potentially frequent) posting topic here at Niners Nation.

Collective Bargaining Agreement
The big news is that the NFL and NFLPA will meet today at the NFL Combine for a general bargaining session.  According to Smith, the two parties have had 30 overall bargaining sessions over the last six months, with twelve general bargaining sessions discussing issues relating to the proposed terms of a new CBA.  I'll be honest: I'm not sure what the difference is between an "overall bargaining session" and a general bargaining session.  I'm guessing the difference is made up of sessions for setting ground rules, and maybe bargaining sessions about specific subsets of topics.  However, that is mostly just speculation on my part.

In the memo, Smith claims "while we have made progress in some areas, we continue to have significant disagreement with the NFL over their desire to have players take an 18% reduction in their share of revenues..."  Naturally the NFL has its own counter over at NFLLabor.com.  Apparently you can email questions to the site through NFLlabor@nfl.com.  They had one Q&A that was in response to this 18% figure:

Do you agree with DeMaurice Smith that the owners’ current proposal would reduce veteran salaries by 18% and the players’ share of revenues from 59% to 41%? 

Those numbers that Mr. Smith used at his Super Bowl press conference are inaccurate. No current player needs to take a pay-cut as a result of our proposal. Our goal is to generate a pool of resources in order to have continued investment and continued growth. This will lead to higher salaries and higher benefits for players.

In reading over the NFL's comment, I wonder if they're just getting cut with words.  They say no current player would need to take a pay-cut as a result of their proposal.  Well, if I'm a current player with an existing contract I'm arguably in ok shape.  However, if I'm a free agent under this new deal, then there's less of the pie for me.  Is this just the NFL trying to spin this in their favor?

Uncapped Year and Agents
With the uncapped year becoming more and more likely, Smith pointed to this as a chance for a potential increase in player spending:

Remember also that the uncapped year provides just that -- no cap or limit on the amount of money a club may spend on player salaries. The last time there was an uncapped season in the NFL was in 1993, and in that season clubs spent collectively over 70% of league revenue on player costs. While we cannot predict what will happen in 2010, we suspect that it will be dependent on the individual player and team. Given the projected increases in NFL revenues for 2010, more money should be available for player salaries than ever before. In addition, keep in mind that each NFL club will be saving approximately $10 million in benefit costs as a result of their not having to fund certain benefits in the uncapped year. That money can and should be used for player salaries.

As smileyman pointed out in the FanShot, funding for specific benefit programs does not need to be met in the uncapped year.  I don't know how much of a difference this will make in the end.  While collusion is not allowed, one has to wonder if the owners are on the same page as far as this uncapped year is concerned, particularly with a potential lockout looming in 2011.

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