NFL Labor Talks Extended For 24 hours
The owners and the players' union agreed to a 24-hour extension Thursday of the current collective bargaining agreement, giving both sides an extra day to negotiate. Without the extension, the CBA would have expired Thursday night at midnight, effectively shutting down all football operations.
The main argument between the two sides is how to spl league revenues, which are estimated at roughly $9 billion a year. Team owners currently receive more than $1 billion off the top of the revenue pool under the current agreement, while players receive roughly 60 percent of the rest of the money. Owners want a billion dollars more off the top, which they argue could be used for revenue generating reinvestment. Players, however, want the revenue splitted 50-50.
Some of the other sticking points include retirement and health benefits, extending the season from 16 to 18 games and a rookie pay scale.
Both sides have said little about the negotiations, although Washington Redskins defensive end and player representative Vonnie Holliday said that the players have not been given a formal proposal, and that the two sides "are not in the same ballpark."
"I don't see how we can be that close right now unless somebody is going to pull a rabbit out of the hat; I just don't see it," Holliday said.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said of the negotiations "we're working as hard as we can."
Jeff Pash, the NFL's lead negotiator, told reporters last month at the Super Bowl that a deadline extension was an option.
"If you're making progress, you can stop the clock," Pash said.
The 24-hour extension gives both sides time to figure out what the next step. Options include another extension, more negotiations, a lockout or decertification.
If there is a lockout and the NFL Players Association decertifies, its players could file an antitrust suit against the league. Reports have indicated that three of the plaintiffs will be star quarterbacks Peyton Manning of the Colts, Tom Brady of the Patriots and Drew Brees of the Saints.
There are reportedly no plans so far for players and owners to meet on Friday, although ESPN reported that federal mediator George Cohen will meet independently with each side to discuss their differences.
The extension expires at 11:59 p.m. EST Friday.