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Collective Bargaining Agreement Q&A

Posted by Scott Kegley on January 20, 2010 – 12:29 PM

The NFL recently released the following Q&A containing everything you wanted to know about the league’s collective bargaining agreement, which expires in 2011.  Hopefully, this sheds some light on what these issues mean to the teams as well as the NFL.

Q. When does the CBA expire should there be no extension to the agreement?
A. In March of 2011.
Q. Will there be a college draft in 2011?
A. Yes.
Q. What is the “Final League Year” in the current agreement?
A. The “Final League Year” is the term used in the CBA to refer to the last year of the agreement.  Without a further extension of the CBA, the “Final League Year” would be the 2010 League Year, which begins on March 5.
Q. What are the differences between the “Final League Year” and any other “League Year?”
A. The principal differences are that in the “Final League Year” there is no salary cap and there are substantial additional restrictions on player free agency and reductions in player benefits.
Q. Are current player benefits affected in the Final League Year?
A. We expect current player benefits to decline in the Final League Year.  The union agreed that in the Final League Year, clubs would be relieved of their obligation to fund numerous benefit programs.  Examples include second career savings (401K), player annuity, severance pay and performance-based pay.  The total league-wide contributions to such plans in 2009, the last capped year, were in excess of $325 million or more than $10 million per club.
Q. Are retired player benefits affected in the Final League Year?
A. Commissioner Goodell has stated in a letter to the NFL Alumni Association Board of Directors that there will be no reduction in pension or disability payments to retired players during the Final League Year (2010).  Since at least the fall of 2007, NFL owners have consistently agreed and planned that they will not reduce the funding for pension or disability benefits for retired players.  Nor will they reduce funding for the 88 Plan during the Final League Year.
Q. What determines an unrestricted free agent in the Final League Year (2010)?
A. In capped seasons, a player whose contract has expired becomes an unrestricted free agent if he has four or more accrued seasons.  In the Final League Year (2010), a player whose contract has expired becomes an unrestricted free agent only if he has six or more accrued seasons.  An unrestricted free agent is free to sign with any club with no compensation owed to his old club.
Q. What determines whether a player is a restricted free agent in the “Final League Year?”
A. In capped seasons, a player whose contract expires becomes a restricted free agent if he has three accrued seasons.  In the Final League Year (2010), a player whose contract expires becomes a restricted free agent if he has three, four or five accrued seasons.  The first refusal/compensation rights of restricted free agents remain unchanged in the Final League Year.
Q. In addition to the right to designate a franchise (or transition) player each capped year, can clubs designate additional players in the Final League Year?
A. Yes, one additional player can be tagged.  In capped years, a club may designate a franchise player or a transition player.  In the final league year (2010), a club may designate one additional transition player.  A transition player must be offered a minimum of the average of the top 10 salaries of the prior season at the player’s position or 120 percent of the player’s prior year’s salary, whichever is greater.  A transition player designation gives the club a first-refusal right to match within seven days an offer sheet given to the player by another club after his contract expires.  If the club matches, it retains the player.  If it does not match, it receives no draft pick compensation from that club.
Q. What is the Final Eight Plan?
A. During the Final League Year, the eight clubs that make the Divisional Playoffs in the previous season have additional restrictions that limit their ability to sign unrestricted free agents from other clubs.  In general, the four clubs participating in the championship games are limited in the number of free agents that they may sign; the limit is determined by the number of their own free agents signing with other clubs.  They cannot sign any UFAs unless one of theirs is signed by another team. For the four clubs that lost in the Divisional Playoffs, in addition to having the ability to sign free agents based on the number of their own free agents signing with other clubs, they may also sign players based on specific financial parameters.  Those four only will be permitted to sign one unrestricted free agent for $5.5 million (estimated) or more in year one of the contract, plus the number of their UFAs who sign with another team. They also can sign any unrestricted free agents for less than $3.7 (estimated) million in year one of the contract with limitations on the per year increases. In the case of all final eight teams, the first year salary of UFAs they sign to replace those lost cannot exceed the first year salary of the player lost with limitations on the per year increases.
Q. Is there an Entering Player Pool in the Final League Year?
A. There may be.  The CBA provides that the league has the unilateral right to keep or eliminate the rookie pool in the Final League Year.
Q. Is there a Minimum Team Salary in the Final League Year?
A. There is no Minimum Team Salary in the Final League Year.  The Minimum Team Salary in 2009 is $107,748,000, meaning each team is required to allocate more than $107 million to player costs (not including benefits).  The team salary cap in 2009 was $123 million.
Q. Are there individual player minimum salaries in the Final League Year?
A. Yes, but they rise at a rate somewhat slower than player minimum salaries rise in capped years.
Q. Do any player contract rules from capped years remain in place for the Final League Year?
A. Yes, some rules like the “30% increase rule” are still in effect in the Final League Year for player contracts signed in capped years.  That rule restricts salary increases from 2009 to 2010.  For example: a player with a $500,000 salary in 2009 would be limited to annual salary increases of $150,000 ($500,000 x 30%) beginning in 2010.

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Posted in Breaking News | 6 Comments »


6 Responses to “Collective Bargaining Agreement Q&A”

  1. By Abe on Jan 20, 2010 | Reply

    Is there a way for you to export your sound and video players so it will be compatible to the iPhone (Quicktime)?

  2. By The Rock on Jan 20, 2010 | Reply

    what happens to teams that exceeded the salary cap during the last year then resume a salary cap the next year….. Do they have to reduce their cap to come in line with the league??

  3. By Smuman on Jan 21, 2010 | Reply

    Every player in the NFL should start out with $1,000,000 in retirement guaranteed and $100,000 for the first year of play. Second year $200,000. Third year $300,000. And so on. PLUS the overpaid parasitic agents they have can negotiate for performance pay. For example, $10,000 for every TD pass by a QB, $10,000 for every rushing TD by a RB, $10,000 for every sack, $10,000 for every interception. ISN’T IT ABOUT TIME WE GET RID OF THIS STUPID CAP AND GIVE ALL THESE OVER PAID CLOWNS MONEY BASED ON PERFORMANCE AND EXPERIENCE?!?!?!?!

  4. By Smuman on Jan 21, 2010 | Reply

    AND the ownerships of each team also must agree on the following. The cost of a single ticket will be based on the number of wins in the previous season. So for the Rams fans tickets will cost 10 bucks a pop. For the 49er fans tickets will cost $80. For the Colts fans $140. And so on.

  5. By Smuman on Jan 21, 2010 | Reply

    AND any jerseys, hats, and stuff sold will be split among all 32 teams, with the money going to a new branch of the NFL…the NFL charity, where each team sends out the money to local medical research, youth athletic leagues, disaster relief, etc.

  6. By Bpuntenney on Jan 23, 2010 | Reply

    I totally like where you going with this Smuman. I think there is an additional hole that needs to be filled for player compensation. Player’s should also earn a percentage of their merchandise sales. This could be a very small percentage. The players performance and off the field activity would affect their merchandise sales. Players would really have to consider their off the field actions if they knew they were going to lose money. I also think the league should ban gambling of any kind by any team personnel. I say this because of the NBA incidents in recent years and weeks. We don’t want our league to be plagued by this kinda of crap. It affects the integrity of the game, and just brings trouble to a team. Off-season gambling is ok. During the season is not.

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