Owner-Approved NFL Collective Bargaining Agreement Details

Yesterday afternoon things got a bit hectic as the NFL owners voted to ratify a collective bargaining agreement followed by the players questioning the propriety of the agreement and the vote. There is a lot of work to be done in regards to a final global settlement, but in looking over the terms voted on by the owners, much of the deal is actually done. To be more clear, the terms and working conditions affecting the economics of the game over the next ten years are mostly done.

As it currently stands, the two sides are dealing with issues like recertification and a global settlement of the various accompanying lawsuits. There are other issues like drug testing that owners want to deal with after reformation of the union, which would allow time for collective bargaining. This is one of the big issues related to the whole reformation issue because of concerns over how much time there will be to negotiate these new terms before submitting the deal to the court.

Shortly after the NFL owners voted on and announced ratification of the deal, the NFL PR department sent out a press release breaking down the terms of the deal. While some of these might be subject to a bit of change, I think a lot of it won't change since it deals more with the direct economics that were hammered out last week for the most part. However, for now after the jump you can check out owner-approved details awaiting player approval.

Whether there are changes or not to these details, we'll work to breakdown the many aspects of the new CBA.

TERM
1. The fixed term of the agreement covers the 2011 through 2020 seasons and includes the 2021 draft. 

PLAYER HEALTH AND SAFETY
1. Immediate implementation of changes to promote player health and safety by: 
    A. Reducing the off-season program by five weeks, reducing OTAs from 14 to 10; 
    B. Limiting on-field practice time and contact; 
    C. Limiting full-contact practices in the preseason and regular season; 
    D. Increasing number of days off for players. 

2. Opportunity for current players to remain in the player medical plan for life. 

3. An enhanced injury protection benefit of up to $1 million of a player's salary for the contract year after his injury and up to $500,000 in the second year after his injury. 

4. No change to the 16-4 season format until at least 2013; any subsequent increase in the number of regular-season games must be made by agreement with the NFL Players Association. 

5. $50 million per year joint fund for medical research, healthcare programs, and NFL Charities, including NFLPA-related charities. 

RETIRED PLAYER BENEFITS
1. Over the next 10 years, additional funding for retiree benefits of between $900 million and $1 billion. The largest single amount, $620 million, will be used for a new "Legacy Fund," which will be devoted to increasing pensions for pre-1993 retirees.

2. Other improvements will be made to post-career medical options, the disability plan, the 88 Plan, career transition and degree completion programs, and the Player Care Plan. 

DRAFT/FREE AGENCY SYSTEM
1. An annual Draft of seven rounds plus compensatory picks for teams which lose free agents. 

2. Unrestricted free agency for players after four accrued seasons; restricted free agency for players with three accrued seasons. 

3. Free agency exceptions (franchise and transition players). 

ENTRY LEVEL COMPENSATION SYSTEM
1. New entry-level compensation system including the following elements: 
    A. All drafted players sign four-year contracts. 
    B. Undrafted free agents sign three-year contracts. 
    C. Maximum total compensation per draft class. 
    D. Limited contract terms. 
    E. Strong anti-holdout rules. 
    F. Clubs have option to extend the contract of a first-round draftee for a fifth year, based on agreed-upon tender amounts. 

2. Creation of new fund to redistribute, beginning in 2012, savings from new rookie pay system to current and retired player benefits and a veteran player performance pool. 

ECONOMICS
1. Salary cap plus benefits of $142.4 million per club in 2011 ($120.375 million for salary and bonus) and at least that amount in 2012 and 2013.

2. Beginning in 2012, salary cap to be set based on a combined share of "all revenue," a new model differentiated by revenue source with no expense reductions. Players will receive 55 percent of national media revenue, 45 percent of NFL Ventures revenue, and 40 percent of local club revenue. 

3. Beginning in 2012, annual "true up" to reflect revenue increases or decreases versus projections. 

4. Clubs receive credit for actual stadium investment and up to 1.5 percent of revenue each year. 

5. Player share must average at least 47 percent for the 10-year term of the agreement. 

6. League-wide commitment to cash spending of 99 percent of the cap in 2011 and 2012. 

7. For the 2013-2016 seasons, and again for the 2017-2020 seasons, the clubs collectively will commit to cash spending of at least 95 percent of the cap. 

8. Each club committed to cash spending of 89 percent of the cap from 2013-2016 and 2017-2020. 

9. Increases to minimum salaries of 10 percent in Year 1 with continuing increases each year of the agreement. 

2011-2012 TRANSITION RULES
1. Special transition rules to protect veteran players in 2011. All teams will have approximately $3.5 million in what would otherwise be performance-based pay available to fund veteran player salaries. 

2. Each club may "borrow" up to $3 million in cap room from a future year, which may be used to support veteran player costs. 

3. In 2012, each club may "borrow" up to $1.5 million in cap room from a future year. Both these amounts would be repaid in future years.

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