It seems almost unheard of that the NFL could some how screw things up, but from the rhetoric surrounding the labor talks, we know that anything is possible. The owner and the players are apparently far apart on the issues and that in itself, even if they ever make a deal, seems ludicrous. I’m well aware of what kind of public face negotiations take on, but how can either side look at what they’ve got and say somehow it’s bad? There are millions if not billions of dollars to go around.
The owners have a lucrative television deal and many partnerships with cities with sweetheart deals allowing them long-term, favorable leases on stadiums.
The players have free agency; the owners have a salary cap.
The owners have year-to-year contracts; the players have up-front bonus money.
Everybody’s making money, with the owners raking it in (not to mention the increase in the value of the teams) and the players peddling their skill to the highest bidder.
If there’s one thing that could be fixed in the league, it’s the nature of the have’s and have-nots on the rosters. Because of the salary cap, veteran players are squeezed out if they’re not top-flight starters in favor of cheaper rookies and younger players. But that’s beside the point. Figuring out how the revenue can be distributed among the players and the owners can’t be that hard.
The 32 owners are a notorious bunch of businessmen, all getting to be where they are by being shrewd and tough. Most of them have other businesses with football as an ancillary part of their conglomerate. The players need a union to work for them, to protect them as a whole, but there’s got to be a point where the players say to the union leadership, “Get this done!”
That might come sooner rather than later.
If there’s no agreement this weekend, there will be a massive dumping of high dollar players, and there will be very few teams with the available money to sign them. Some guys, in the prime of their careers, will find themselves on the street. That’s the worse case scenario for the players and for the league.
I know a lot of teams use the salary cap excuse to get rid of players who still have value but are too expensive, but this is a different situation. Without an agreement, the league will look very different for one year. Teams will sign star players to a one-year deal hoping to get to the Super Bowl. After that, the big market teams will dominate and the league will never be the same.
And nobody wants that.