Representatives for the NFL Players Association and NFL team owners met on Wednesday at an undisclosed location in Washington DC. Talks about a new collective bargaining agreement began in the morning, and were set to end at 7 pm EST. A second meeting is set for Thursday to try and get a deal in place.
Before Super Bowl XLV in Dallas, the owners and the NFLPA met together to set up two more meetings for this week, and to start discussions on the new collective bargaining agreement. Roger Goodell stated to ESPN that the meetings were "beneficial."
Everybody involved in the negotiations knows that a deal has to be made by Mar. 4, but the NFL and the owners are trying to get a CBA in place as soon as they can, as they want the 2011-2012 season to move along as planned, as it always has.
DeMaurice Smith of the NFLPA said that it is probably best for both parties if the conversations are not publicized, therefore, fans are almost completely left in the dark while waiting hopelessly to hear that there will be football next season.
The major issues include how to divide about $9 billion in annual revenues, the owners' push to expand the regular season from 16 games to 18 while reducing the preseason by two games, a rookie wage scale and benefits for retired players.
The deal for 2012 was in place in 2006, but owners exercised the opt-out clause in 2008. If an agreement isn't met by early March, the NFL could lose up to $120 million, $350 million if it isn't in place by August, $1 billion by September. The NFL also reports that if regular-season games are lost for 2011, the league could lose up to $400 million per week.
As fans, we don't care what happens in Washington, as long as we get our fair share of football in 2011. But if a deal isn't made soon, and especially if it isn't made by March, this could get dragged out even further, and the NFL could find itself in a bad situation.