Len Pasquarelli reports that stupidity on part of the Players’ Union might have some severe consequences for the NFL and its fans.
Most fans couldn’t care less about the collective bargaining agreement and, justifiable or not, view any discussions of negotiations aimed at extending labor peace through the 2013 season as just another example of the avaricious nature of already overpaid players.
By Thursday, however, when the real-world ramifications of the failed labor talks become more apparent, fans in a lot of NFL precincts will take notice. With negotiations toward an extension having broken off Tuesday afternoon — despite earlier optimistic reports that the sides were poised to strike an agreement — salary cap managers from several franchises are readying themselves for what one general manager suggested late Tuesday will come to be known as “Bloody Thursday.”
Translation: Because so many teams are up against the projected cap limit of $95 million to $96 million for 2006, and the lack of a CBA extension means there are few options for relief, some big-name players will be jettisoned by Thursday, when teams must be in compliance with the spending limit.
“In past years, you’d see a lot of guys released who maybe still had some name value but who were really in decline in terms of production,” said one AFC team executive who was working late Tuesday, trying to figure out how to pare down a prohibitively bloated cap figure. “This year? People are going to be stunned — not just by the quantity of players who are cut by Thursday but by the quality, too. It’s going to be ugly. There’s going to be blood in the streets and, compared to past years, it’s going to be from some bluebloods, guys who can still play.”
These guys play the most popular sport in the country and get nearly 70 percent of gross revenues guaranteed despite making zero investment in the business. They have built-in wage increases coming as ticket prices and television revenues continue to rise. And yet they are going to walk away from the bargaining table because they think they are somehow entitled to non-game revenues that come in from the shrewd investment decisions of team owners who take all the risk?
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