Most fans had been expecting that the NFL lockout would have been over, but the events of Thursday have people a bit worried. The owners voted 31-0 to ratify the proposed agreement and then passed the agreement on to the players to ratify, but the players, after a conference call, decided not to vote for it, causing a delay in the process.
Some of the keys of the agreement included:
- It is 10-year agreement with no opt-out clause
- Revenue split between 46 and 48 percent
- 99 percent salary floor (teams must pay 99 percent of salary cap) for first two years, 95 percent thereafter
- Rookie wage scale that would pay this year's top draftees half of what previous draftees were paid.
- Increased retirement benefits
- More player safety measures (less practices with contact or pads)
- Lifetime health benefit option
After the owners voted (the Raiders abstained), commissioner Roger Goodell explained that the league would open team facilities on Saturday, begin the signing of rookie free agents on Sunday and begin the league year (trades, free agency, training camps) on Wednesday. There were two conditions.
One was that the players had to ratify the agreement and then they had to recertify as a union.
The players were not happy. They believe that the owners made changes to the proposal that the players never agreed to. They also believe that the owners made a move with the vote to put pressure on the players and turn fans against them, as if they do not vote, it will be seen as the players' fault that the lockout continues.
Well played, owners. They have done just that, whether intended or not.
The players then decided not to vote on the proposal as expected Thursday evening and there is some question as to whether a vote will even happen on Friday.
There is even talk of legal matters again -- this time with an accusation that the owners are coercing the players to form a union, something that is illegal.
However, most reporters believe that a vote will happen on Friday that it will be approved. The players just seek a little patience because ten years is a long time to agree to something.
At this point, it just needs to get done. It would be rather disingenuous to add things not agreed to in the proposal if it happened and it is equally disingenuous for the cold feet the players are having if there was nothing added.
In any case, football should be around the corner.