Whenever a deal is made between two people or two groups of people we always want to know who got the better deal. Who came out ahead and who gave up too much? Who's the one that had to bend over and...actually, forget that last part. The signing of the new CBA is no different. There were those who definitely benefited from this whole thing and others that would have been better off trying to work in MLB. So with everyone involved trying to milk this cash cow for every drop they can get, let's look at who won and who lost.
Just to review, this whole thing started because the owners wanted an extra $1 billion of the annual revenue pie, wanted to increase the size of the pie by adding two more games to the regular season, and wanted to limit what rookies could make. While the players decided since they were being forced to renegotiate, they might as well try to fight for a couple changes themselves, mainly the amount of practice they had to participate in and the retirement benefits given to former players. This is somewhat of an oversimplification, much like saying string theory is just the idea that all matter in the universe is made of microscopic vibrating rubber bands is an oversimplification, but you get the idea.
Everyone involved with the NFL: The players knew they were going to have to give up some of their revenue to the owners, that's kind of why they were being locked out to begin with, so in the end their percentage dropped from around 50% to 47%. But that's 47% of 9 BILLION DOLLARS! And that number figures to keep on going up. Seriously, just about the only way the NFL could mess things up is if they let Dan Snyder take over and I'm not even sure if he could screw this up.
Veteran players: Outside of the fact veteran players basically got the summer off, from now on they no longer have to worry about wearing pads for two different practices in the same day but instead will only have to wear them for one, they'll get at least five days off during their bye week, and the number of OTAs has been dropped from 14 days to 10. They also held firm on the 16 game schedule so they don't have to worry about playing two more games that could end in a concussion or some other career threatening injury that will plague them for the rest of their lives. Throw in less money for rookies and that means that money goes to the veterans. Plus Dan Snyder is still an owner so he's got plenty of money yet to throw at players who are past their prime, and yes, that's my second Dan Snyder reference.
The rest of the winners and losers after the jump...
Ex-players: They carry injuries they sustained during their playing days for the rest of their lives, and in many cases have a drastically reduced quality of life as a result, even if the quality of their bank account is better because they played. Now they have an extra $1 billion coming their way of which $620 million will be designated to increase the pensions of players who played before 1993. They may not have had the fat contracts that today's players have since their wasn't any true free agency but at least they're getting a little more in their golden years.
The players that mostly play on special teams: Almost half of all the players in the NFL earn the league minimum, and while the total amount of money going to the players will go down, the amount given to the guys who's last negotiating session was simply them being told what they'd be paid has gone up. The minimum salary has gone up by $50,000, and while that may not seem like much when compared to Albert Haynesworth's $100 million contract, at least they can feel good knowing they've earned what they're being paid.
Cam Newton and everyone else chosen in the first round: Last year Sam Bradford signed a six year $70 million contract with $50 million in guarantees. This years Cam Newton already knows what he'll be paid even before he negotiates. He'll get a four year $23 million contract with a fifth year team option. But maybe he can save some money by getting rid of his now superfluous agent. But the loss is mostly to those players chosen in the first round, and the top 10 in particular. Those chosen in rounds 2-7 are not likely to be affected much, if at all. Plus we won't have to endure a repeat of any Michael Crabtree scenarios where they were chosen in one spot but feel they should be paid as if they were chosen in a higher spot since the guy choosing the higher spot is watching his flesh slowly decay from his face and it's seriously effecting his thought process. That happens a lot, doesn't it?
Undrafted players: When a player signs as an undrafted free agent he already has a tough uphill battle to just make the team, but missing months of practice just makes it that much harder. They don't even have a play book to go over. Then the owners and players decided that wasn't enough so they threw in a $75,000 cap on what teams could pay those players in signing bonuses. Seriously, did one of them kick Jerry Jone's dog?
Miserly teams like the Bengals: The Bengals are notorious for cutting costs wherever they can, whether it's in their scouting department of facilities. They're also a team that routinely has a salary well under the cap. Now that's no longer an option. The cap may be dropping from around $128 million last year to just over $120 million this year, but the owners now have to pay at least 89% of it. That means every team in the NFL has to have a payroll somewhere between $107 million and $120 million. Sorry Bengals, you're going to have to start paying your players. No wonder Carson Palmer wants out of there.
Low level NFL employees: Several owners kept their staff and continued to pay their salaries even though their wasn't a whole lot for them to do. But others decided they needed to tighten the belt and save a few hundred thousand in salary by letting people go or giving them a pay cut all while flying around in their Learjet and trying to horde $4 billion in TV revenue. That must have been fun suddenly finding yourself without a job in a horribly depressed market. Just a tip to all Bengals employees, run while you still can.
The fans: Their treated like human ATM machines, charged seat licensing fees (whatever that is) in addition to their season ticket price, pay for parking, food, team paraphernalia, and milked for money in every other conceivable way. The players and owners split billions of dollars while a family of four has to pay a weeks salary just to go to the game. And they take us for granted because honestly, they know we just keep coming back. It's like a woman in an abusive relationship. He knocks her around silly but she keeps coming back because where else is she going to go? The NFL may treat me like crap sometimes but I'll keep coming back because it's the greatest sport in the world.