NFL lockout ends with new collective bargaining agreement

25 Jul

Finally … we’re ready for some football. It’s been a long four months of hearing about the lockout, and now it’s time to move past it and see what the changes have been. Like many others, I presume, I got an email from Sports Illustrated with a summary of the new collective bargaining agreement. Here’s what I’ve picked out as some of the most important/interesting parts.

Important Dates

July 26: All players can negotiate beginning on this day, and rookies can sign beginning on this day.

July 27-29: Training camps start.

July 29: All players can sign.

Rookies

Basically, first-year guys can only be paid so much. (Obviously, it’s still more than 99.999% of people could shake a stick at.) The idea of this is to cut down on huge expenditures to unproven players in favor of directing more toward the veterans. The changes are expected to save $950 million over the “life of the agreement” – the next 10 years. Here are some of the details:

  • Mandatory contract length = 4 years
  • For draft picks 1-10, the salary will be the average of the earnings of the top 10 players at that position. For example, if a quarterback is drafted first, his salary would be what Peyton Manning makes plus what Tom Brady makes plus what Drew Brees and the other seven guys rounding out the top 10 make … divided by 10. For draft picks 11-32, the salary will be the average of players earning the 3rd-highest through the 25th-highest at that position. Put very simply, it pays big to be picked No. 10 versus No. 11.

Practice Regulations

The changes that were finalized today have effectively eliminated “two-a-days.” While a team can have two on-field sessions, time with pads is strictly limited, and any secondary session must be a walk-through. Offseason workouts have also been pared down some.

  • Regular/Postseason – Teams are limited to 14 padded practices (of no more than 3 hours) throughout the regular season and no more than 1 per week during the postseason. Also, a bye week should consist of 5 consecutive days off.
  • Preseason – Veterans cannot be required to report more than 15 days before the first preseason game. Teams can hold 1 padded practice per day for up to 3 hours a second practice (walk-through only) for up to 4 hours.
  • Minicamp – No more than 3.5 hours on the field per day, and an hour and a half of that is limited to walk-through speed. Mondays are for physicals, Fridays are days off, and Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday will be practice days.
  • Offseason Workouts – These will be limited to 9 weeks, and the first two are limited to strength and conditioning. The enforcement of violations includes a lost week of practice and steep fines. For the first offense, the coach will be docked $100,000 and the team $250,000. If a club runs afoul of the rules a second time, it’s $250,000 for the coach and $500,000 for the team.
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