WASHINGTON (CBS4) -A member of the player’s negotiating team has revealed the NFL Players Association and the NFL have agreed to a 24-hour extension in labor talks. It puts the clock on hold before the current collective bargaining agreement ends and the first work stoppage in the NFL since 1987 begins.
The talks between the two sides were scheduled to end at 1 p.m., but both sides are still working on a deal.
The players are awaiting answers on some of the core issues in question before they make the move to extend the talks beyond the midnight expiration date on the current collective bargaining agreement.
The reason the current CBA is expiring is because owners gave up too much in the last CBA and now want it back.
The NFL owners and players are locked in a dispute over just how much money each side will receive. The owners want the players to give back around $1 billion from the player’s salary pool. The players are hesitant to do this and want a smaller amount to be given back.
The owners also want to put together and 18-game season and a rookie-wage scale to avoid giving guaranteed contracts worth upwards of $50 million to rookies who haven’t taken a snap in the NFL.
Thursday’s meeting comes less than 48 hours after the owners were given a humbling ruling by a judge that forbid them from accessing nearly $4 billion in television revenue that would be paid regardless of whether or not games would be played.
For owners like Jerry Jones, who has a new $1 billion stadium that he has to pay the rent on, losing that much revenue access would put him and other owners at risk of defaulting on their loan responsibilities.
The two sides didn’t start seriously negotiating until a little more than a week ago. At that point, both sides sat down with a federal mediator to try and get through the new deal. But, it was only after the judge cut off the revenue stream that owners got serious and began showing up en masse to negotiate.
If the two sides can’t come to an agreement, there are several things that could happen. First, the owners would likely begin a lockout of the players that would continue until a new collective bargaining agreement is reached.
Or, the union could decertify. This would mean the union would no longer represent the players, who in turn would be giving up their rights under labor law. At that point, the players would take the owners to court under antitrust law.
Late Thursday afternoon, Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Peyton Manning, and Logan Mankins agreed to be lead plaintiffs in the antitrust suit the players would file if the union decertifies.
But, there is a deadline of early Thursday evening if the players are to decertify. If they don’t do it by then, they will have to wait six months before they could decertify and file suit.
The NFL brings in roughly $9 billion a year, but the majority of that is from television contracts. The league anticipated a work stoppage and began renegotiating TV deals that would allow them to survive a lockout.
However, without that revenue stream, the owners are now in the same position as the players. Both sides need the money to continue coming in to meet their fiscal requirements. Without it, the players would definitely suffer, but now, the owners will suffer as well.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said that both sides are “working hard.” But so far, the owners have refused to give an inch in their demands. Until they do, or at least work on some flexibility, no deal is imminent.
The negotiations could last late into Thursday night, but if no news comes out by midnight, the NFL owners and players would put America’s most popular sport on ice for an indefinite period of time.