Football is finally here in 2011!

The players and owners resolved their differences and approved a new CBA.  We will have football in 2011.  Clearer heads have prevailed.

Let’s review the major items in the new CBA:
1) Players will get ~47% of total revenue, compared to ~50% of total revenue beforehand.
2) 10 years in length.  No opt outs.
3) New rookie wage scale.  Round 1 draft picks get 4 yr deals w substantially less money.
4) 2011 Salary Cap of $120.375M is $6M less than in 2009.
5) That $6M can be added back w $3M in borrowed money from future years and $3M for veteran incentives.
6) Salary Floors of 89%-95% so teams (“Bucs, Bengals”) can’t go too cheap and hurt player salaries.
7) No more two-a-days in Pads.
8) OTAs in offseason reduced from 14 to 10 days.
9) $1B added to fund for retired players.
10) Minimum salaries for players will rise by $50K/yr.
11) No 18 game season.

Let’s review the UltimateNYG version of the winners and losers of the new CBA:

Winners:
1) The fans.  We get to see 10 years without this bullsh*t happening again.
2) The fans.  We get a complete rejection of the 18 game season.  That there is a way for this to come back in 2013 is not overly concerning- the players rejected it soundly, so we would not anticipate this resurfacing in any meaningful capacity.
3) The fans.  We get football in 2011 without the loss of the season.  The first few games of the season will be ugly (think- injuries, blown plays, etc..) in spots, but it is football.
4) The NFL.  By installing a rookie wage scale, it reinvests and no longer punishes the higher drafting teams, and gives them an oppty to retool w/o crushing their salary cap.  This is great for the league, a win for everyone except the JaMarcus Russell deadweights of the world that take their $30M and kiss the league goodbye.
5) The NFL.  By installing a Salary Floor, it forces more leveled competition, a win for all.  If you root for a big market team (including the gmen), this may seem like a loss, but it is relatively insignificant considering the Giants already compete vs 3 other big market teams.  
6) Loser NFL teams.  With supplemental revenue sharing, it assures that the league will have (financially) competitive franchises, top to bottom.  And as we noted in (4) above, the top rookie contracts no longer crush your cap.  So whether you pick JaMarcus Russell or Sam Bradford, you are able to compete for other players.  And of course, if you get the Bradford, you are in a much better position.
7) Pro Business.  No judicial oversight.  Yes arbitration.    
8) The little guys.  There are many cottage industries that count on the NFL for economic survival.  Because of this agreement, they survive.   

Losers:
1) Top tier Rookies.  Look, tenure is a joke.  The way it was set up, it was like college was giving these top draft picks tenure in the form of so much guaranteed money that they had a job without even working!  Sanity has prevailed.
2) Roger Goodell.  The commissioner was a pussy.  He stumped for an 18 game season and was thoroughly rejected.  His job was to get a deal done, but at the end of the day, it was Bob Kraft and Jeff Saturday who got it done.  The look of Goodell this past Thursday when the owners ratified their version of the CBA was one of a neutered hog, ready for slaughter.  About the best we heard people saying about the guy when all of this was over was how he loves the game.  Well, there are 100M+ fans who already have that qualification.  Incrementally, on the margin, we simply did not see him deliver anything.  The commissioner is supposed to have power.  But all we heard for 5 months was the owners, DeMaurice Smith and the judges.  Goodell was a bystander. 
3) The image of the players and owners.  Make no mistake, both will fare well because football has a good agreement.  But both groups are losers for not getting their acts together a long time ago and realizing that they needed to work together amicably.  Instead, the world got to see how selfish both are.
4) Team Employees and Coaches.  The underbelly got screwed.  And now these same people (more than a few who got haircutted salaries) are going to get worked to death in the next 6 weeks.  You think it is glamourous to work for an NFL franchise?  Think again.  For every GM and Head Coach getting paid megabucks, there are a slew of team employees who get paid modest (or less than modest) salaries and work long hours.  A lot of these people will not be seeing much of their families (or much sleep) for the next few months.  As you read this, whatever hour it is in the day or night, your favorite team is trying desperately to corral a number of players and get deals done, a coach is trying to teach some players his assignment, an administrator is trying to line up logistics for a myriad number of items etc..

The Giants and the entire NFL are now scrambling to get Free Agent players and start camp.  Cluster bleep!  Good luck, Giants employees.  Bring it home. 

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