NFL Reportedly Withheld Millions in Shared Revenue from Players

Scott PolacekFeatured ColumnistFebruary 22, 2016

A general view of an NFL logo on the 50-yard line prior to an NFL football game between the Cleveland Browns and the Baltimore Ravens Monday, Nov. 30, 2015, in Cleveland. Baltimore won 33-27. (AP Photo/David Richard)
David Richard/Associated Press

The NFL reportedly kept a significant amount of money from the NFL Players Association, according to Matthew Futterman of the Wall Street Journal.

Citing Futterman, Frank Schwab of Yahoo Sports noted that "arbitrator Stephen Burbank ruled last week that the NFL withheld about $120 million in ticket revenue from a shared pool, which the report said kept about $50 million in salary from players."

Continuing to cite the Wall Street Journal, Schwab wrote that "the dispute came from a provision in the collective bargaining agreement that allows teams to exclude money from the shared pool from personal seat licenses, premium seating and naming rights to stadiums."

That income is frequently used to finance new stadiums, and the NFLPA discovered the withheld money during an audit of the NFL's finances.

"They created an exemption out of a fiction, and they got caught," NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith said, per Futterman.

NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said the issues arose from a "technical accounting issue under the CBA involving the funding of stadium construction and renovation projects," per Futterman.

Schwab noted the Wall Street Journal reported the revenue the league returns to the shared pool will "add about $1.5 million to the 2016 salary cap for each NFL team."

While that is not much when it comes to player salaries, it will be helpful for squads looking to make additions when free agency opens at 4 p.m. ET March 9. If nothing else, it gives teams extra flexibility as they look to add difference-makers and provides players with the opportunity to make slightly more money on upcoming contracts.