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Wild and crazy day

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Chronology of events:

  • This morning, the NFL owners met in New York and unanimously rejected the NFLPA's proposal and broke off talks with the player's union.
  • After the meeting, NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue holds a press conference and calls the NFL's labor situation "dire."
  • Later on, Gene Upshaw states that the NFLPA will hold firm, stating their desire for 60% of the league revenue for players. The owners are offering 56%. Upshaw tells reporters the players will listen to no offer "unless it starts with a 6."
  • As a result, teams like the Kansas City Chiefs assume the worst and cut veterans Eric Warfield, Dexter McCleon, Shawn Barber, and Gary Stills.
Everyone seems poised to witness massive player cuts in preparation for the midnight deadline, establishing a new NFL season with a cap set at $94.5 million.

But then...

Now, the next few pieces of info come from ProFootballTalk.com, which has an excellent "Rumor Mill Talk" section written by editor Mike Florio:

As a result of the extension to 12:01 AM on Monday, all the player cuts issued today were undone (2nd entry down). This means Warfield, McCleon, Barber, and Stills are not cut. The NFL and the NFLPA have the weekend to come up with a deal. Mind you, the request for this extension came from the owners.

This was a stare down, folks. And the owners blinked. They balked at the NFLPA's request in the morning, and came back to them in the evening asking for more time.

Unreal.

The owners know they will have to gut their teams if the cap is $94.5 million. The players know that if the cap is $94.5 million, it all but guarantees the free agent market will be cheap, cheap, cheap and the prizes second-rate. Clubs can barely keep the rosters they have, and have no space to sign free agents. Along with this, one of the main sticking points between the owners is the proposal to expand shared revenue. Five clubs are bitterly against expanding shared revenue (12th entry down). They are led by Jerry Jones of the Cowboys, Dan Snyder of the Redskins, Malcolm Glazer of the Buccaneers, Joe Banner of the Eagles, and Jonathan Kraft of the Patriots.

Gee, what a shocker.

Five rich, fat cat owners that stand to gain a lot if there is an uncapped year in 2007 are opposed. Yet, despite the efforts of these greedy, billionare nit-wits who care more about themselves than the good of the league, it seems that 27 teams will indeed vote to expand revenue sharing (24 are required to pass the vote). Should that pass, the next step is the NFLPA proposal.

So, we have 72 hours to watch and blog this circus. So far, it has been a rollercoaster. Every fan of every team has a stake in this. For the Colts, if there is no CBA, Edgerrin James is gone. There also could be issues with Peyton Manning's and Marvin Harrison's contracts. For the Patriots, Adam Vinatieri might be a goner is there is no CBA (but that doesn't seem to bother the Kraft family). Denver has already gutted its roster.

Keep an eye here and on the other SBNation football blog sites for information on the talks. Though I hate their team owners with a fiery passion right now, InBradyWeTrust at PatPulpit and Grizz at BloggingTheBoys are on top of this CBA thing, and are blogging like maniacs. If you don't see CBA info here, check out thier sites for updated CBA info.

Here's to the hope that the NFL and the NFLPA will find a common ground that allows expanded revenue sharing, salary caps, small market competition, and the promise that any team can beat any other team on any given Sunday... despite the efforts of greedy pigs like Jerry Jones and the Kraft family to influence otherwise. Long live football!

Update [2006-3-2 22:6:45 by BigBlueShoe]: The NFL insider master John Clayton has some great stuff on his blog regarding the Colts. Apparently, the issues with Manning's and Harrison's are not that bad, and the Colts stand to save.

In other news, the Colts offered contract tenders to restricted free agents Cato June- LB and Robert Mathis- DE. June led the team in tackles and had a Pro Bowl season in just his third year. Mathis led the team in sacks, and is a force off the edge on passing downs.