Per our source it appears that the Union has come to grips with the fact that Owners are bleeding some cash in regards to costs associated with stadium improvements, team practice facilities and the expense they incur to house, train and feed the players throughout each calendar year. Plus many owners had to sell discounted tickets to avoid local blackouts and that played a part in the loss of profits and increase in fiscal expenditures.
The NFL has also come to grips with the fact they need to do more with the veteran players who are saddled with massive medical bills and for the most part have been thrown by the wayside by both the owners and the NFLPA.
At the heart of the impasse has been how to split $9 Billion in revenues. Ultimately there was enough movement in that regard once the NFLPA saw the numbers provided by the owners. In seeing those figures, there was little dispute that the disparity in the current split is lopsided.
Thus per our source, it appears that the NFL Owners have backed off their demand to take upwards of $2B off the top from the leagues annual earnings. Currently they take roughly $1 Billion. It appears now that the number will fall somewhere in the $1.3 Billion range with $300 million of that going to the NFLPA to disperse to former players and increase benefits to the current rank and file.
Thus the players will in essence agree to a split where they'll earn roughly 53% of the revenue for the length of the new agreement. So in essence the 50/50 split the owners rejected from the players at the Super Bowl meeting, is ultimately what they'll settle for now.
Our source did say that the NFL's demand for an 18-game schedule might be off the table for a year so both sides can gather more research to the feasibility of an expanded regular season.
At the heart of the matter is the players demand to receive pay increases to play two more regular season games. Under the 18-game plan, players would earn the same amount of money but be paid over 18 weeks versus 16.
The Players want a bump in pay and thus far that's the real hang up. Also if the NFL can successfully negotiate a new TV package with an expanded regular season, it's feasible that they could earn upwards of $12 Billion in annual revenue. Thus there should be enough money to go around to increase salaries for an 18 game season.
However there are reports rumbling Friday Morning that the 18 game schedule might indeed by part of the new labor deal once both sides agree to a longer extension. Thus that gives them more time to iron out the differences in regards to 16 vs 18 games.
Lastly we're told that a rookie wage scale will likely be included in the new deal and players with four years of NFL service time, could all become unrestricted free agents. However, there is some work that has to be done for the incoming draft class and that wage scale might not actually take effect until the 2012 draft.
Time will tell if the two sides have made enough progress to continue their good faith bargaining later this afternoon. On Friday morning they'll when meet separately with Mediator George Cohen.
Chiefs Tags & Tenders - Defensive lineman Wallace Gilberry, Right Tackle Barry Richardson and Cornerback Brandon Carr each received contract tenders from the Chiefs.
The Chiefs would be wise to lock up Cornerback Back Brandon Carr long term.
Carr and Tamba Hali, who was given the Chiefs franchise tag last month, received the highest tags. Carr, should he sign with another NFL team, would garner a first round draft pick.
As far as Hali, that compensation would be much higher. However, we're told that Hali has no interest in signing his one-year tender despite the fact he could earn between $10 and $11 million playing one more season in Kansas City. He wants a long-term deal and thus far the two sides remain miles apart. We've also heard rumblings that he could be dealt at some point prior to April's NFL Draft.
Gilberry and Richardson if they should sign elsewhere would cost any team a second round draft picks. Both are key players for the upcoming season and the Chiefs have been trying to lock them down to long-term contracts.
GM Scott Pioli has to give Head Coach Todd Haley more weapons to work with in 2011.
#1 on KC's Free Agent List - We've been hearing for a couple weeks now that Minnesota Vikings restricted free agent receiver Sidney Rice is at the top of General Manager Scott Pioli's wish list. In fact, per our source, Rice was scheduled to visit the Chiefs on Friday had free agency began as scheduled.
If the Chiefs sign Rice under the current terms of the CBA, Kansas City would have to give up a first round pick to the Vikings unless the two sides can work out an alternative deal. However should the new CBA free NFL veterans with four years of service time, (as some believe it might), then Kansas City could sign Rice with no strings attached.
The seeds for this deal might have been planted back at the Senior Bowl in January when Pioli and Rice's agent, Drew Rosenhaus, spoke briefly about several topics. Though no formal negotiations were allowed or took place, there were strong indications that both sides would be talking to one another once Rice was able to visit prospective teams.
My guess is that whatever team gets Rice into town first will likely throw the Brinks truck his direction.
Either way we're told that the Chiefs, generally bystanders in the first couple of days of free agency, might be more aggressive than usual.
Stay tuned to Warpaint Illustrated throughout the weekend.
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