As a long stalemate has been all but settled between the NFL Players Association and the owners, the NFL is preparing to face a lock-out scenario after the current 2010 season.
The owners and players are very far apart on terms of where the revenue should go.
While many things appear very wrong with the current collective bargaining agreement, are the owners and NFLPA treading in unchartered waters?
Do the Players Make Too Much?
The obvious answer to this question is, for many, yes. Players sign multi-million-dollar deals for playing a simple game of football.
But here is the point that not many consider: Who else would get the money?
The NFL as a business is growing exponentially, as the once national league has turned into an international interest.
Games are being played every year overseas and in Canada.
With the increased revenue from the increased exposure, either the owners or players would be making more money.
There is really no solution to giving the players less money, because then the owners would be getting an even larger cut while the players, who make everything happen, would be making less money.
It really isn't about what amount of money the players or owners make, it is about how they make it (which will be touched on in the next section).
The NFL also donates millions of dollars to organizations like the United Way.
This extends off of the above point that there is really no way to control what players make, but how they make it.
The biggest example would be the contracts of first-round picks. Who knows how this could have been passed over or pushed aside, but how in the world are unproven rookie players making more than seasoned veterans?
This is one of the biggest problems in the financial debate about players' contracts. Top-ten picks are making $60 million guaranteed, while a 12-year veteran is making $1 million a year with even less than that guaranteed.
The NFL needs to compensate the players who have been through their share of training camps, rather than putting this ludicrous investment into young, naive, and unproven players.
Just ask Adam "Pacman" Jones how this goes. Jones received a large contract and signing bonus, and then proceeded to take $81,000 in dollar bills to a strip club to "make it rain."
JaMarcus Russell also signed a rookie contract worth $68 million. Russell is currently enjoying his "purple drink", or codeine syrup mixture, as a free agent after being released by the Oakland Raiders.
It shouldn't even be debatable. The current system for paying rookies completely disregards any inkling of financial prowess that the NFL has. This change is almost inevitable.
Responsibility of the Owners
One of the reasons a deal is so far apart is because of the money the owners want in their pockets.
Do the owners deserve this extra pocket change? Yes and no. They are already making an incredible amount of money, but after Roger Goodell's antics of stadium upgrades, the owners will have to spend a lot of that money on renovations.
Goodell recently told the Miami Dolphins that they would no loner be competitive in hosting Super Bowls if their stadium did not undergo extensive renovations. In 2007, over $250 million was put into renovations at Dolphins' Stadium (now Sun Life Stadium).
Due to recent economic implications, it might be a little difficult for the owners to come up with hundreds of millions of dollars just to renovate their stadium, which will need to be renovated again as soon as the current renovations get done.
Not to knock on Goodell's decision-making process, but now isn't the time to go balls to the wall spending money.
That being said, the owners do have reason to ask for more money in the upcoming negotiations.
The NFL needs to get this deal done for football fans everywhere. It would be a sad set of circumstances having to watch baseball on supposed football Sundays.