2011 NFL Lockout Ends, Green Bay Packers Title Defense Begins

MJ KasprzakSenior Writer IIJuly 25, 2011

WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 25:  DeMaurice Smith (L)  executive director of the National Football League Players' Association and NFL commissioner Roger Goodell (R) address the the media on July 25, 2011 in Washington, DC.  The NFL players and owners announced they have reached agreement and ended the lockout.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Rob Carr/Getty Images

Note: This article was originally written for PackerChatters.

It is over.

Monday, all 32 player representatives agreed to the collective bargaining agreement the owners voted through Thursday. The wrangling over the CBA addendum covering 600 pages turned out to much ado about nothing.

For no player representatives or owners to vote against the proposal suggests, it was at least a reasonable deal if not a fair one. As player rep Kevin Mawae said on NFL Network, “the players never asked for another dime in this deal, but one thing we did get was more control over our careers.”

Some of the details of the CBA…

  • The agreement is in place through the 2021 draft, so we as fans will not be going through this again any time soon.
  • The salary cap is now tied to just 48 percent of league revenue, setting it at a minimum of $142.4 million through the 2013 season.
  • The 18-game schedule was tabled until at least 2013, and players would have to agree to it for it to happen. True, it might increase revenue, and that could be an incentive for players, but considering their opposition to it, the most likely result is this will not happen during this decade.
  • Players also got a reduction in offseason workouts by five weeks and in organized team activities from 14 to 10 in exchange for giving up a larger share of the revenue. Full-contact practices during the pre- and regular season were reduced, and more days off granted.
  • Unrestricted free agency for all players with four seasons and restricted free agency after three seasons.
  • A rookie wage scale that gives draft picks four-year contracts (option for five for first-round picks) and undrafted rookies a three-year contract. Savings from the new scale will be funneled to retirement and veteran performance benefits for current and retired players.
  • A legacy fund that could reach $1 billion has been set up for players who retired prior to 1993.

Teams will now be furiously working to do everything they normally could have over the last few months. It will start with signing undrafted free agents and waiving players on the roster.

The lockout claimed at least one preseason game, the Hall of Fame game. With teams not opening camps until next week, the first preseason games for all teams the league should still fall between August 11 and August 15.

But the important thing is that the season kick-off between the Green Bay Packers and New Orleans Saints will happen on schedule. We will get to see the Pack defend its title without any significant activity missed.