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NFL, Union Labor Talks Include Possible Rookie Contract Changes
Published January 14, 2010
CHANGE CANNOT COME UNILATERALLY: The league does not have the ability to unilaterally change the terms and conditions of this year's draft because the NFL CBA does not expire until March '11. But the two sides could agree to make a deal at any time or change any part of the CBA at any time. It is not clear how likely it is that the two sides would reach agreement to substantially change the terms and conditions of the '10 NFL Draft, but if they were to agree, it would be a fairly shocking development. Industry sources expect that more college underclassman may declare for this year's draft, in part to avoid a rookie wage scale in '11. Most college players, as well as player agents, have not been expecting a major change in the system in this year's draft. The implementation of a rookie wage scale is a major plank in the league's overall economic proposal, but the other major plank is for players to agree to give owners credits for costs, which would reduce the salary cap by more than 18%.
POSSIBILITY OF COMPROMISE UNCLEAR: The league is said to want the union to agree to the rookie scale, and then separately bargain the additional cost credits to the salary cap. It does not seem likely that the union would be willing to do that. It also does not seem likely that the league would agree to the union's plan, which would include the owners agreeing to extend the current deal and give up the additional cost credits, as well as other changes owners want.