View Full Version : Guaranteed

06-17-2008, 12:39 AM
DJ Boyer |Jun 12,2008

Guaranteed Less than a month ago the NFL owners voted to opt out of the current labor agreement they have in place with the players that ends in 2011. The owners and the Players Association were quick to state that no time would be lost due to a labor dispute and that both sides were already working to put a new deal in place. Many fans and readers of my column have e-mailed me wondering why the owners would make a move like this, especially when the NFL is by far the "healthiest" of the four major sports.

The common answer of course is money. Why wouldn't it be money, that's what "makes the world go 'round" as they say. To an extent money is the answer as it of course it what drives all NFL owners. The NFL is a billion dollar industry, that's right I said billion with a "b". The NFL reported revenue of 8.5 billion dollars during the 2007 season and the revenue numbers have been rising steadily over the last 15 seasons. 8.5 billion seems like enough to go around but there seems to be trouble brewing on the horizon and it deals with how much the players are being paid.

Almost 60 percent of the revenue figure went right back to the players in the form of salary. The owners would like to keep the amount given back to players under 60 percent but the fear of rising player salaries, especially to rookies was what many cited as the main factor in voiding the last two years of the labor agreement. There is some merit here; even NFL Commish Roger Goodell has spoken out in favor of a rookie pay scale or slotting system. Many of the veterans in the league would like to see more money thrown their way vice a 22-year old kid fresh out of college who has yet to prove anything at the NFL level. I agree with a slotting system and it makes perfect sense as the scale can be adjusted yearly along with inflation, rising costs and the yearly increase in the salary cap in a system that would be very predictable. This sounds like a great idea and in the end I think it has a realistic shot at being adopted but there is another underlying issue that the players will want from the owners in return that may resonate louder than any other issue on the table.

The NFL is the only of the four major sports where a player's contract is not guaranteed. Quite simply if you sign a six year deal and only play two of those seasons then seasons three through six go unpaid and the NFL team holding your rights doesn't owe you a penny. This is also why you hear signing bonuses as such a large topic when NFL players are negotiating contracts. A signing bonus is literally the only guaranteed money a contract holds before a player actually suits up and takes the field for their respective team.

The NFL is by far the most brutal major sport in existence in America and the toll a body pays after a NFL career can be devastating. I am a resident living just outside of Baltimore and I have naturally covered the Ravens for a number of seasons. Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome was one of the greatest tight ends to ever play the game, spending thirteen seasons with the Cleveland Browns before leaving the game in 1990. Now nearly 20 years after his last NFL game it is sometimes a chore for Ozzie to walk, seeing him hobble nearly brings a tear to my eye when I see him at the Ravens complex in Owings Mills, Maryland.

When you think about how physical the game of football is it seems absurd that football players don't have the same spoils as baseball, basketball or even hockey players in the United States. This just seems like the right thing to do and I know talking to a number of athletes and some who represent the players through the union that if the NFL adopted a policy where all contracts were guaranteed then the players wouldn't seek "top dollar" all the time. It may mean more out of pocket expense for the owners but the costs can be deferred a number of different ways and spread out over longer periods of time. If the owners really want to avoid a labor stoppage this should be their focus and the key issue that is settled at the table.

The NFL is greatest sport in America today, it is by far the most profitable and statistics have shown it to have the most loyal fan base of all the major sports we have to offer. It's time for the players who provide us countless hours of entertainment are shown the proper appreciation and respect they deserve

06-17-2008, 01:36 AM
Wow, just last week I was saying this exact same thing. Until player contracts are guaranteed and the money paid to top draft choices is under control, greed will run rampant and keep pushing salaries up. Good read FF, thanks again.

06-17-2008, 01:42 AM
So do you think if they get this all under control the owners will pass some savings on to the fans I.E. cheaper tickets? :lol: :lol:

06-17-2008, 01:49 AM
So do you think if they get this all under control the owners will pass some savings on to the fans I.E. cheaper tickets? :lol: :lol:

Yeah right. :lol:

Maybe it could be reflected in fewer price hikes at the games or maybe the networks won't get squeezed as bad in the next TV contract, which trickles down to all of us. I just don't see anyone lowering anything to give back to the fans.

06-17-2008, 10:09 AM
I would have "guaranteed" that a thread with this title would have been about Anthony Smith. Oh well. :oops:

06-17-2008, 10:18 AM
I think that the player's union will agree to lowering the ceiling for early picks in exchange for more money (guaranteed or not) for vets. I'm sure they agree that Jake Long shouldn't be making more than highly successful veteran OTs.

06-17-2008, 10:13 PM
I would have "guaranteed" that a thread with this title would have been about Anthony Smith. Oh well. :oops:

My bad :lol: