NFL Lockout News: 10 Most Important Highlights of New CBA

Matt Miller@nfldraftscoutNFL Draft Lead WriterJuly 25, 2011

NFL Lockout News: 10 Most Important Highlights of New CBA

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    The NFL lockout is over, finally. If you have five hours you can attempt to sort through the mess of the agreement, or you can let us do it for you.

    We've scrolled the web looking for the most important dates and details surrounding the end of the NFL lockout. Want to know when Brett Favre can sign with the Philadelphia Eagles? We'll let you know.

    If you're looking for a quick guide to what's next in the NFL, we have it for you all in a neatly packaged article.

1. How Long Is the New CBA Good For?

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    The new collective bargaining agreement, once ratified, will be good for 10 years. This means, essentially, that we are guaranteed football for the until the end of the 2022 season.

    Hallelujah.

    As has been previously reported before, there is no opt-out clause by either owners or players.

    The great news is that neither side can break up with the other for the next 10 years. This is the type of labor security and trust that the other major sports leagues would kill to have.

2. How Will Revenue Be Split?

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    The biggest road block on the way to a new CBA was the disagreement over how money would be divided.

    Initially, the players wanted a 50/50 split. They settled on a 53/47 split. It is a little more complex than this, but unless you are a lawyer or an accountant what you need to know is that the owners keep $0.53 on every dollar.

3. Is There a Rookie Wage Scale?

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    One thing many fans and die-hard draft fans wanted to see in this new deal was a rookie wage scale. And we got it.

    A rookie wage scale will follow the NBA model of "slotting" money for draft picks. This will, in essence, eliminate rookie hold outs and protect NFL teams against draft busts.

    For example, Cam Newton was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2011 NFL draft. He will make approximately $22 million during his first four years. Newton will see less than half of what 2010 No. 1 pick Sam Bradford made.

    Drafted rookies will be signed to four-year contracts with a team option for a fifth year. Undrafted free agents will be signed to three-year deals with a lower per team salary for UDFA signing bonuses set at $75,000.

4. Will an 18-Game Season Happen?

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    One of the major components on the owners' side of the table early on was the desire to have an 18-game season. That didn't happen, and it cannot even be discussed again until 2013.

    The new CBA does leave the door open for a possible season expansion, but the big caveat is that the players must vote on any games being added.

    That's great news for the players and for fans who did not want a longer season.

5. How Is Revenue Sharing Changing?

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    One part of the new CBA that no one saw coming was the owners agreeing to a new 10-year deal on revenue sharing among the 32 NFL franchises.

    In a liberal move, the owners agreed to tax the higher-earning teams at a higher rate than the lower earning teams.

    This will affect teams like the Dallas Cowboys and Washington Redskins' bottom line, but should not affect their football performance.

6. Is the Salary Cap Changing?

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    The salary cap will go down slightly in 2011 to $120.375 million, saving the owners on player salaries while the economy and ticket sales suffer.

    As revenues (TV, ticket sales, merchandise) rise, so will the salary cap. This isn't new.

    A neat footnote here is that each team will have $3 million in "cap flexibility", meaning they can go over the cap by $3 million if it is to sign a veteran player or players. There is also an allowance to go over by $3.5 million to pay bonuses toward veterans.

    That puts the "actual" cap at about $127 million.

7. How Will Offseason Workouts Change Player Safety?

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    Offseason workouts and training camps will change quite a bit under the new CBA.

    With the new deal teams are limited to 10 days of organized team activities (OTA's) and will find the number of padded practices policed by the NFL during the regular season.

    One thing banned that has upset some players is what are known as "two-a-days." Gone are days with two padded practices. Teams may still have one padded and one non-padded practice in the same day.

8. What Is a Salary Cap Floor?

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    A salary cap floor is a number set by the NFL and the players at which all NFL teams must spend. It's like a budget, ideally. You have to spend this much, but you cannot spend more than this.

    The salary cap floor for 2011-2012 will be at 99 percent and tapers off to around 89 percent by 2010.

    This is a great measure because it limits teams from putting a bad product on the field and still collecting their revenue-sharing money. This is the anti-baseball rule.

9. What Are the New Limits on Offseason Work?

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    Under previous versions of the collective bargaining agreement, NFL teams were allowed 14 days of OTA's. Under the new agreement teams will be limited to 10 days of OTA's in the offseason.

    The offseason program in total is now just five weeks long.

10. When Does the 2011 NFL Offseason Begin?

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    That's a great question. The lockout ends today, and that means the offseason technically starts right now. Here's what will go down this week and next.

    Today: NFL players may report to their teams, if they are under contract, and begin working out.

    Tuesday: The early reports are that NFL teams may begin negotiating and agreeing to deals with unrestricted free agents and undrafted rookies tomorrow. This may change, however.

    Wednesday: Today some teams, depending on when their first preseason game is, will begin training camp. Other teams will follow throughout the week based on the start date of their preseason games.

    Saturday: Saturday is being pen-pointed as a possible day for free agent deals to either 1) begin or 2) go through. This is up in the air at the moment.

    August 2: The 2011 NFL league year officially begins.