WITH NFL DEAL IN SITE, BOTH SIDES CAN CLAIM GAINS
Excerpt: "N.F.L. owners and players closed in on an agreement in principle Tuesday night on an expected 10-year labor contract. It would ensure that the 16-game season starts on time, give owners a bigger portion of revenue and limit how much money rookies can make.
The deal, coming after four months of litigation and federally overseen negotiation, would end a sometimes rancorous fight that included the longest work stoppage in the league’s history.
The agreement would have a wide range of major changes for players and owners, according to a number of people briefed on the negotiations, including:
¶ A revenue split in which players are expected to receive between 46 and 48 percent of all revenue each year, below the 50-50 formula in the previous deal. Owners said that figure cut so deeply into their margins that it threatened to limit future investment in the game.
¶ A new rookie wage system in which even the top picks in the 2011 draft could sign contracts worth about half of what the top picks signed for in 2010, a concession by players.
¶ Strict limits on the number and intensity of off-season and training camp workouts, including a rule that would all but eliminate the traditional two-a-day practices in training camp — player-safety issues that were especially important to players.
¶ Nearly $1 billion for improved benefits for retired players, a flashpoint for a league that has been battered by criticism for failing to help ailing retired players.
No games would be missed this season. Training camps would open over the next week, and the regular season would start Sept. 8 at Green Bay.
Players and owners must still vote to ratify the agreement. Players, who will also re-form the union they dissolved when talks broke off in March, are expected to vote as soon as Wednesday; owners will do the same at a meeting in Atlanta on Thursday." Read more.