Murphy on CBA Vote: 'We've Put Our Pens Down'

The league approved the collective bargaining agreement by a 31-0 vote, putting the ball in the players' court. In a conference call with Packers beat reporters on Thursday night, he called the agreement a "win-win" — even though the players are upset and did not vote on the deal.

NFL clubs voted by a 31-0 margin to ratify a new, 10-year collective bargaining agreement on Thursday night. Now, it's time for the players to do the same because the league is done negotiating, Green Bay Packers President and CEO Mark Murphy said.

"We've put our pens down," Murphy said on a conference call with Packers beat reporters. "We've negotiated in good faith with the union, we reached agreement on all the key points. They know what we ratified and they're voting to ratify the same thing."

To read a national perspective from's Alex Marvez, CLICK HERE.

Plus, Marvez breaks down the proposed CBA, RIGHT HERE.

With the defending Super Bowl champions set to kick off the regular season in 49 days, Murphy said the sense of urgency had heightened to reach a deal. Murphy pointed to compromises made by the league and the players, as well as gains made in player safety and "pretty significant" improvements in benefits for players who retired before 1993.

"I think everybody sensed that it was time to make a deal and time to get back to football," Murphy said. "I think it's a win-win situation. It's a good deal for both sides."

While Murphy spoke with an abundance of enthusiasm, the agreement the owners ratified left the players feeling irked and, in the words of former Packers and current Redskins defensive lineman Vonnie Holliday on Twitter, "tricked, duped, led astray, hoodwinked (and) bamboozled." NFLPA leader DeMaurice Smith held a conference call with player reps on Thursday night, without a vote being held. Before that call, Smith sent the following e-mail to the board of player representatives.

"As you know the Owners have ratified their proposal to settle our differences," states the e-mail, obtained by's Jim Trotter. "It is my understanding they are forwarding it to us. As you may have heard, they apparently approved a supplemental revenue sharing proposal.  Obviously, we have not been a part of those discussions.  As you know from yesterday, issues that need to be collectively bargained remain open other issues such as workers compensation, economic issues and end of deal terms remain unresolved. There is no agreement between the NFL and the Players at this time. I look forward to our call tonight."

Murphy downplayed the new roadblock to a settlement.

"All of the major deal points have been negotiated and agreed to," Murphy said when alerted to the e-mail by Packer Report. "There was certainly an agreement that revenue sharing would not be part of the collective bargaining process. It was an internal process that we spent time on today and were able to reach agreement among all 32 of the teams. To me, this is one of the cornerstones of the league is our revenue sharing — we share a very high percentage of our revenue as a league. As a result, we have tremendous competitive parity and balance. Quite honestly, it's been one of the reasons why the Packers have been so successful historically is the combination of the revenue sharing system and the salary cap."

During the owners meetings in Atlanta, commissioner Roger Goodell said doors to team facilities could be unlocked on Saturday as long as the CBA gets the approval of the players.

"It's contingent on the union and their board of reps voting to start the process to recertify the union," Murphy said. "Right now, it looks like that process, the votes would take place at the team facilities on Monday or Tuesday."

If the players ratify the deal:

— Saturday, July 23: Players could arrive at team facilities for voluntary training, conditioning and classroom instruction. The free agent list will be distributed to teams. Teams can begin signing draft picks and their own free agents, as well as renegotiating deals for players who are under contract. Starting at 1 p.m. (Central), teams can negotiate with — but not sign — undrafted free agents and other teams' veteran free agents.

— Sunday, July 24: Teams can sign undrafted free agents.

— Wednesday, July 27: The league year begins, free agency begins, the salary cap goes into effect and rosters can be expanded to 90 players. Training camp can begin, with the first day limited to physicals, meetings and conditioning.

— July 28-29: Training camp continues but practices may not be held in pads.

Murphy said the date of the first open-to-the-public practice has not been set.

— In the event that the start of training camp is pushed back to Aug. 1, Murphy said the Packers' Family Night Scrimmage, set for Saturday, Aug. 6, should go on as scheduled.

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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at

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