ROSEMONT, Ill. — NFL owners have been briefed on discussions for a new collective bargaining agreement that would net the players just under 50 percent of total revenues. Next up: more talks with the players.
Several people with knowledge of the negotiations told The Associated Press that Commissioner Roger Goodell and his labor committee will meet with players association chief DeMaurice Smith on Wednesday and Thursday in Boston. The owners spent five hours Tuesday getting updated on various CBA issues. The people spoke on condition of anonymity because the negotiations are supposed to be confidential.
"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.
One person told the AP that the players' share would approach the 50 percent the NFLPA has said it has received throughout the last decade. But the 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, the person said. Instead, the players would share from the entire pie, which they project will grow significantly over the course of the new CBA, which is expected to run anywhere from six to 10 years. So if they are taking 48 percent or more of a much higher revenue stream — without the initial NFL deduction for operating expenses — the players still would receive far more money than they got under the previous agreement.
A salary floor keeping teams within 90 percent of the cap also would be included. The players have been concerned that some teams whose revenue streams don't match up with the richer clubs would try to hold down salary spending.
"It was a good day in the sense of we had a full discussion on the issues," Goodell said. "Ownership is united and determined to reach an agreement and have a full 2011 season."
Several owners were expected to have objections to some of the proposals. Goodell was asked if there was a consensus among owners, to which he replied that "is a little deceiving because we don't have an agreement" with the players.
But both sides appear eager to find common ground for a new collective bargaining agreement rather than going back into court. A U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is considering the league's appeal of a lower-court injunction that originally blocked the lockout.
"This is the season to get a deal," Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay said. "I think the logic that you're pushing on both sides is saying why get a deal Oct. 1, or whenever, when you could have had July 7, or whatever."
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