Compromise the Key to Labor Dispute

When it comes to the NFL and the current CBA negotiations, numbers get boring.  One Billion here, another billion there.  A 24 hour extension that might turn into 7 or 10 days.  Let’s just end this thing right now and get on with business as usual.

Many believe the NFL owners presented the players with a proposal interesting enough to make the NFLPA delay their decertification plans for one day.  The players deny a new proposal was given, others say the offer was just a ploy by the owners to delay court action.  Then rumors emerged there could be another extension for at least a week.  Mediator George Cohen apparently has convinced the players to accept the extension; the owners have yet to do so.

There are 4 sticking points in the negotiations.  How to split $9 Billion, Pension Benefits, Rookie Salary cap and length of season.  Let’s play NLRB mediator George Cohen with power, take the items one at a time and fix it.

First is the $9 billion split.  This is where it get’s boring.  The Union reportedly offered the owners $2 billion right off the top and a 60/40 split on the other $7 billion.  Let’s offer a compromise.  Give the owners the first $1.5 Billion, and the other $7.5 Billion get’s split with the players 50/50.  25% of the player’s portion would go to Pension Benefits and Health benefits for retired players to help solve that problem.  The salary cap would be increased to $69 million per team, $10 million higher than last year.  It would also increase the high contract to $13 million for a player per season, up from $11 last year.

The rookies are easy for both sides.  Each one agrees unproven players are overpaid and untested.  So let’s cap the rookie’s new contracts at 3 years for $15 million and slot from there.  The club would have an option for a 4th year at 25% higher than the original contract.  After 4 years the club can allow the player to become a “Franchise” free agent.  Which means signing with another team would cost that team a First round pick.  Or they can just allow him to leave.

Meanwhile the 18 game season.  This is the toughest of all problems.  But a solution is possible.  Let’s increase the season to 18 games.  Start with the players contracts.  All contracts will be pro rated by two games at their existing salary.  The player’s problems have always been around an extra two games and the injuries that will be incurred.  First, a reduction in the pre season to two games, one each at home and away.  Ticket process would be offered at HALF price of regular season games.  The players don’t get paid for those games anyway.  Give the fans a break.  But to help the coaches, two scrimmages will be permitted during training camp.

But here is the compromise.  The 17th game profits will go to the owners, the 18th game to the players.  50% of all proceeds in both games going to the retired players Pension and Health Benefits fund.  This has long been an issue with retired players and it’s time they were taken care of.  This new plan does it on several ways.

Barbs are traded, insults hurled and egos abound in the negotiating room and on the street.  But these problems are workable when level heads prevail.  Are their any in the room?

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