There isn’t a deal done yet, but it sounds like the two sides are once again getting closer. A report leaked today by a source illustrates some of the details of a proposed deal that was presented to the owners by Commissioner Roger Goodell at meetings in Chicago. According to the report, the players would get 48% of “all revenue”. In the previous agreement, the players got 53-60% (depending on who you ask) of revenue minus $1 billion taken off the top that went to the owners. So, while the players are losing here compared to the previous agreement, it actually won’t be much because of the billion back in the total. It sounds like a pretty good deal for both sides considering what was previously being discussed at the beginning of this thing.
Also, teams will be required to spend nearly all the way up to the salary cap under this proposed agreement. That means that small-market teams won’t be able to cheap out on payroll to save money. In the previous agreement, the total payroll floor was less than 90% of the cap, so this should force teams to spend their money, making the competitive balance even better in a league that is already in pretty good shape in that aspect. Several other issues, such as TV deals and the rookie wage scale are also featured in the deal, but those have yet to be ironed out.
So, overall this looks like a major step forward in discussions. Now that these details are out there, it will be tough for either side to hold off on these point due to public opinion. Neither side wants to be the “bad guy” in these negotiations, so I can’t imagine either holding up a deal. I have heard numerous insiders who believe that we could have agreement in principle in the next 7-10 days, and if that happens, it’s only a matter of time before a final deal is agreed upon. This isn’t to say that this thing is completely finished by any means, and we have seen this turn bad several times already. I will say that I think this is as close as we have been, and I’m confident that the 2011 NFL season will take place on time.