I recently wrote an article about the NFL and the NFLPA and who people should side with during this labor dispute.
After reading the comments and giving the situation more thought, I realize that I may have been somewhat unfair in my approach to the article and not given what I believe is fair to the players.
In the article, I did state that the players would have to sacrifice some of the total money that was being paid, but there are other ways that the players checks would not be smaller and the game would be better for us, the fans.
The 60/40 Split
I said that I believed that the players should take less money and that a revenue split of 60/40, in favor of the owners, would be fair. I still believe that, but here is how the players could make more money.
If the players were to agree to the 40 percent, of the $250 million per year the NFL makes, it would make the salary cap $100 million dollars. Not a bad chunk of change, but less than the players want to make, which currently is around the $120 million range.
The NFL wants to add an additional two games to the schedule, which would bring in more revenue, and most of that money would go to the players. The NFL says they want to add the games because that is what the fans want? OK.
The players would receive all of the revenue of the extra two games, with the exception of operation expenses. Let's say that the operation expenses total to 25 percent. Each game in the NFL is worth $16 million dollars.
That would add another $24 million to the salary cap, bringing the total up to $124 million.
Yes, the players would have roughly the same amount of money that they currently have, while the owners would be able to give us fans the extra games we want.
The players on the teams that make the playoffs will also make more money, because they would split the 40 percent of revenue for each game of the playoffs.
Rookie Wage Scale
One of the things that the owners seem to be insistent on, and is in the best interest of the players, is a rookie wage scale. Far too often are teams that pick in the top 10 of the Draft saddled with an amazing contract for an unproven player.
My view of the rookie wage scale should go something like this.
Round 1: Every contract will be for a duration of three years, no more. The maximum value of the contract CANNOT exceed $9 million dollars. If the player out performs this contract and the team agrees, they can renegotiate the contract after the player's second season.
Round 2: Every contract will be for the duration of three years, no more. The maximum value of the contract CANNOT exceed $5 million dollars. Same rules apply as first-round players.
Round 3: Same rules apply as first and second-round picks, with a maximum value of $3 million.
Round 4: Every contract will be for a duration of no more than two years. The maximum value for the contract is $1.5 million.
Round 5: Same rules apply as fourth round, with a maximum value of $1 million.
Round 6/Round 7: Every contract will be for only one season. The team will pay the league minimum for that year.
Rookie free agents will also not be permitted to sign for more than league minimum, with a duration of one year.
Teams can retain players that become free agents prior to their third year by either re-signing them to a multi-year contract or offering them a tender at the next level up (fifth-round player paid as what a fourth-round player is making)
Restricted Free Agents
Every player that is drafted will become a restricted free agent after his third year in the league IF the team does not decide to re-sign him to a long term contract after his third year. To retain this free agent, the team will have to offer him a contract that is the average of the other 31 teams are paying the player in the same position.
If he is a starting QB, then the team will have to pay the player the average of what the other 31 teams are paying their starting QB. If he is a third down running back, they have to pay the average of what the other teams are paying their third down running backs.
After a player finishes his fourth season, he would be an unrestricted free agent. Teams would still be able to use the Franchise tag or Transition tag on one of these players. The Franchise tag would give the player a one year contract for the value of the top three players at his position. The transition tag would give the player the value of the top five players at his position.
After a player signs his second multi-year contract (his rookie season does count a multi-year contract), teams no longer have the right to use either the Franchise or Transition tag. This would require teams to pay these men before they become free agents.
For all players that have played in the NFL for five season, their contracts would become fully guaranteed. Teams that sign players to multi-year deals that are back loaded, only to make it look like they are paying top dollar when in fact they are not, would no longer be able to do so.
There would be exceptions, as if the player decided to retire without injury or were arrested, that would void the guarantee.
If at any point a player (regardless of what year they are in) is released, then they would not be available to sign with any other team until the beginning of the next league year. They would, however, be paid by the original team the balance owed to them from their previous team.
Extended Trade Deadline
One of the things that the NBA and MLB have that I believe is better than the NFL is trades. With the NFL trade deadline being after the sixth game of the season, many teams are reluctant to trade players because most teams still have a legitimate chance of making the playoffs.
If the trade deadline were to be moved until after Week 12, teams would know if they had a realistic shot at making the playoffs. If they do, they could trade players or future draft picks to acquire players that could help them make it to the Super Bowl.
In this situation, older players that have never played in a Super Bowl have the chance to move to a team that has a realistic chance of it.
As I stated in my previous article, ALL NFL players that play more than four seasons or suffer a career ending injury PRIOR to the start of their fourth season would be guaranteed health insurance for the remainder of their lives.
Currently, the NFL Rules Committee is made up of coaches, general managers and former players. Not any more.
Starting with this season, the NFL rules committee will consist of two players from each team. The 64 men will meet each year within two weeks of the season and look at all the possible rules changes that the owners would like to make.
At this point, the 64 man panel would decide as to which rules the players would vote on and which ones that they revoke.
Rules that the players decide to vote on will be given to the players at the teams' FIRST mini-camp. The players will have until June 15th to turn in their votes and the rules will be in place for the following season.
All of the rules that the players vote to be included in the season will be reviewed again, and the players will vote a second time, the following year, to either keep the rules or eliminate them.
Because the rules are being put in place by the players, they should be the ones that determine what the punishment for breaking the rules should be.
The only rules that do not get voted on by the players would be the drug policy.
All monies that are brought in from penalties and fines would go to the players that formerly played in the NFL as a means to support the players that played prior to the multi-million dollar contracts.
Under this formula, the players will be getting the advantage of making the game the way that they want it to be.
Do you think it is fair? What would you change? I look forward to hearing from you.