NFL Enters Third ‘Deadline Day’ Over New CBA with Union

March 11, 2011

The National Football League (NFL) and its players’ union have given little indication with regards to the progression over collective bargaining agreement (CBA) talks after a 15th day of mediated discussions with a third ‘deadline’ approaching at midnight ET tonight, March 11.

Owners did not meet with players in yesterday’s talks, instead meeting with union representatives and league officials in Washington, while owners convened with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and attorneys for their own discussions.

The NFL and its union are struggling to agree on how to split up US$9 billion in annual revenue with the expiration of the current CBA occurring last Thursday, March 3. Since then the deadline for an agreement to be made was pushed back 24 hours before delaying the talks for another week meaning that, assuming no further adjustments to the deadline are made, the league could face a lock out of its player’s next season. In turn the union may stop representing its members, allowing individual players to sue the league, citing antitrust violations.

Jeff Pash, the NFL’s lead negotiator, told reporters as he left talks yesterday: “If both sides have an equal commitment to getting this done, it will get done. Things can come together quickly and they can fall apart quickly.”

The sides return today to the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service for more talks under the supervision of mediator George H. Cohen, head of the government agency.

Numerous NFL writer’s have been speculating as to whether an agreement is imminent with social media network Twitter hosting a barrage of opinions. NFL Network’s Albert Beet posted: “So the 9 labor committee members are here, which means lunch is about to end. Heard things should heat up late afternoon.”

ESPN’s Andrew Brandt revealed what he believed to be the details of the discussions as they stand, tweeting: “On 9B (US$9bn) revenue split, players still asking for 50/50: 4.5B. ($4.5bn) Owners offering roughly 43%: 3.9B ($3.9bn). Gap of approx. $600m and shrinking.”