Re: Players mad at Upshaw
I read dis on NFL.com, and it sounded like da article COJOMAY posted:
Veterans need to speak up in CBA talks
By Pat Kirwan
NFL.com Senior Analyst
(March 2, 2006) Ã¢â‚¬â€œ Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has talked about the status of the Collective Bargaining Agreement. Gene Upshaw, the NFL Players Association chief, is quoted every day about the bleak state of affairs. The owners seem to feel free about hinting at what they want in the revenue sharing department. But what about the veteran players?
The players know that not getting a new CBA will cook the "golden goose." There already has been a significant number of players released because the salary-cap situation looks bleak. I know the NFL rank and file players understand that revenue directed to players has gone from $1 billion gross salaries in 1992 to $3 billion in 2004. They also know the new television deal will inject even more money into the pool, yet there are problems getting a resolution. The question I have is, where are the veteran players? As one very prominent agent said to me while I was in Indianapolis for the Combine, "I hope the players understand they have a great deal and the good players are going to become wealthy."
Gene Upshaw has called the labor talks 'deadlocked.'
I wonder if the veterans understand that the league will continue to get younger and younger if the salary cap goes away because this group of vets just couldn't agree on a deal. The stress of a salary cap growing to $95 million instead of $105 million means there is $10 million less to spend on veteran contracts. The number of vets being cut is already at an alarming rate and it is going to intensify as the next few weeks come and go. Think about the teams that were not going to have to worry about the salary cap if a new CBA could be agreed upon, but without one they have to get the red pen out and slash the roster.
If the cap rose to $105 million because of a CBA extension, then the following teams could have stayed put and just improved their roster:
Indianapolis: The Colts would have been under the cap, but now they will be over, so the stress on being proactive about Edgerrin James means they have much less of a chance of retaining him without cutting players they wanted to keep.
Atlanta: The Falcons would be right on the edge of a larger cap, but now a team on the verge of the playoffs probably has to take a step backwards in the personnel business. My projections had the Falcons about $800,000 under if there were a new CBA. Instead, they are $10 million over and reworking Keith Brooking 's deal isn't enough to get under the cap.
Carolina: The Panthers have a terrific football team and could have built on a very good roster. But now they have already cut veterans Brentson Buckner, Stephen Davis and Rod Smart and still have work to do.
Miami: The Dolphins are another team that would have had room to spare but now it appears they have to move players just to qualify to open up the 2006 season. Sure, it looks like Reggie Howard, Damion McIntosh and Tebucky Jones were expendable, but Sam Madison also had to go for cap reasons. The talent and production of these four players has to be replaced before the team can even go forward.
Tampa Bay: The Bucs have rebuilt their football team over the past two seasons and seem ready to make a run back to the top of the NFC. If the CBA were extended, they could get a player or two to make a difference on a young talented roster. Instead, they need to create close to $9 million in salary-cap space to be in compliance with the 2006 cap. Terminating two players like Mike Alstott and Brian Griese would get the Bucs under the cap, but it doesn't give them enough room to replace the talent they had in 2005 or give them the flexibility to be aggressive with unrestricted free agent players.
Sam Madison was a salary-cap caualty after nine seasons in Miami.
I would guess that upwards of 60 veterans around the NFL will get a pink slip without a CBA extension. Some of them will get work on another team for a lot less money, but they will replace other veterans. In the long run, 60 to 80 veterans more than usual will be out of work next fall because there might not be a CBA extension. Mark my words: With at least 12 teams terminating good veteran players, it will be the rookies and young untested players that will benefit from the increased opportunities around the league.
I really think it is time for the smart NFL veterans to speak up and get a new CBA deal done. There is only one professional football league in the whole world that pays like the NFL. As another agent with lots of top players in his stable said, "These players have nowhere else to turn to and they better smarten up soon." I agree!
As for the teams that appear to benefit from a tighter salary-cap situation because they have cap space and the pool of available talent is growing, my answer is don't get to excited because those teams, for the most part, never take advantage of their situation. If the older veterans don't feel like speaking up with their backs to the wall, then how about the four- and five-year veterans that thought their contracts will expire after 2006 but will become restricted free agents instead if 2007 is an uncapped year?
Finally, with the volatility of these CBA negotiations, the posturing by both sides and the 11th hour mentality of both sides, that doesn't mean I believe there will not be an extension. I have great confidence that all of the concerned parties know the value of a CBA and I do not believe the owners, players or NFLPA officials will cook the golden goose. Why not keep talking until a deal is struck?
I negotiated hundreds of contracts, and even though they were less complicated then, the NFL Collective Bargaining Agreement talks the truth when there is a time element like there is now. Both sides have the best chance to get a reasonable deal done if they just keep talking and stop threatening to break off the discussions. The two things I learned negotiating player contracts was don't take things personally and never be the party to shut down the negotiations.
So far, I need to hear more from the players themselves and less from the parties who say that negotiations are at a standstill.
"From the fury of the Northmen, O Lord, save us!"
-- From a monestary in Ireland.