ROSEMONT, Ill. — The next time NFL owners meet over labor, there is hope it will be to ratify a new collective bargaining agreement with the players.
But a deal is not imminent. Yes, optimism is in the air, but that doesn't mean the lockout's end is at hand.
Owners were briefed Tuesday on discussions for a new CBA that would net the players just under 50 percent of total revenues. Next up: more talks with the players in the Boston area.
The Associated Press reported that commissioner Roger Goodell and his labor committee will meet with players association chief DeMaurice Smith today and Thursday. The owners spent five hours Tuesday getting updated on CBA issues.
"We're going to meet with them soon and we're eager to accelerate the pace of the negotiations," said Jeff Pash, the league's chief negotiator.
"We have a lot of work to do and we've got to do it right," Goodell added. "The agreement has to focus on several issues and the issues are complex."
AP reported that the players' share of revenue would approach the 50 percent the NFLPA has said it has received throughout the last decade. Expense credits — about $1 billion last year — that the league takes off the top would disappear.
Also, there would no longer be "designated revenues" from which the players would share. Instead, players would share from the entire pie, which likely will grow significantly. So the players would receive far more money than under the previous agreement.
Teams would be required to spend at least 90 percent of the salary cap, which would concern lower-revenue teams that could be stretched thin but should please players.
"It was a good day … we had a full discussion on the issues," Goodell said. When asked if there was a consensus among owners, he replied that "is a little deceiving because we don't have an agreement" with players.
While there was a question entering Tuesday's meeting about the number of owners who might object to some parts of a new deal, the New York Times reported there would be nothing close to the nine votes needed to scuttle an agreement.
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