When the owners approved the latest CBA by a vote of 31-0 (the Raiders abstained...and is anyone really surprised?) it seemed like we were about 48 hours from free agency, training camp, and a 2011 NFL season.
The players balked, and they felt like they were being played by the owners. To me, it sounds like DeMaurice Smith can't communicate with the rank and file*, and wan't able to 'splain all the details to the players, making the players uneasy about voting on something.
In this case, I curse De Smith because of an inability to communicate said details to the players, but I understand where the players are coming from on this. I would have a hard time voting for something that I didn't understand, and I can agree that waiting until today to vote is the prudent thing to do.
But make no mistake, this seems like a good deal for both sides, and if the players turn this down, the public will turn on them and they will actually succeed in making Jerry Jones and Dan Snyder look like sympathetic figures, something that I thought was damn near impossible.
According to John Clayton at ESPN, the owners and players have agreed to the following (highlights below):
- It's a 10 year labor deal, running through the 2021 draft
- $120 million salary cap, with owner required to spend 89% of that amount minimum
- 4 yr rookie contracts with a team option for a fifth
Obviously, there's more to it than that, but there has been almost universal praise about the fairness of the deal, and the owners gave up some stuff to get a deal done. I can understand not voting for something you understand, but turning down a deal and essentially starting from scratch would make the players almost universally hated.
The one thing that the players don't seem to understand in all of this is that they are talking about billions of dollars in an American economy where many of us fans who essentially pay their salaries by buying tickets, jerseys, the Sunday Ticket don't have the money to piss it away on spolied superstars anymore. For a lot of fans, scrimping and saving to afford season tickets is something that won't be done anymore if the players reject this deal, and for me, I'm thisclose to calling DirecTV and cancelling my Sunday Ticket.
I get that the players want to fully understand the new labor agreement before they vote on it. I don't get not approving a deal which will allow you to play a game and make you rich beyond your wildest dreams, while many of us out here in the Real World are having a hard time making ends meet.
We love football, but we don't love spoiled brats. Take the deal.