SBD/March 14, 2011/Franchises

NFL Lockout Watch, Day 3: Teams' Approaches To Layoffs, Furloughs Vary

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Richardson does not have any layoffs or furloughs planned due to lockout

Panthers Owner Jerry Richardson "has taken an active role re-assuring his employees they will be fine" during the NFL's lockout, according to Darin Gantt of the CHARLOTTE OBSERVER. Multiple Panthers employees said that Richardson "has been vocal in recent weeks about his desire to keep things normal inside the building." No "layoffs or furloughs are planned at the moment, and there's a sense of optimism that things may remain normal until the fall, while the football portion of the equation is anything but." A Panthers staffer said of Richardson, "He wants us to know he's serious about taking care of us, and that's something he takes pride in. No one wants to take that for granted, but for now, he's telling us we're OK." In addition, agents for several of the coaches hired by the Panthers this offseason said that "there's nothing in the language of their new contracts that cuts their pay in the event of a lockout" (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 3/12).

JETS: In N.Y., Manish Mehta noted the Jets' "lockout contingency plan that includes furloughs for 96 business employees and a 25% pay cut for football operations staff," including coach Rex Ryan and GM Mike Tannenbaum, "began with the start of the lockout" Saturday. Jets Senior Dir of Media Relations Bruce Speight said, "Our plans are in effect. This is a fluid situation. We will obviously be evaluating our approach as events unfold." Meanwhile, the lockout "may affect the Jets' training camp agreement with SUNY Cortland." The team "has two years remaining on its three-year contract with the university." The team said that if there is "no training camp in Cortland this summer, the Jets would be required to hold camp at the university through 2013." There are also "two two-year team options to extend the contract signed in 2010." If training camp this season is "abbreviated due to a lockout, it's uncertain whether the Jets would be required to hold camp in Cortland in 2013" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 3/13).

RAMS: In St. Louis, Jim Thomas reported no "layoffs or job terminations are expected at Rams Park under a work stoppage." League sources said that any Rams personnel changes "will be changes that were already being contemplated regardless of the labor situation." But the sources added that "most, if not all, Rams assistant coaches will receive a pay cut under a work stoppage." It is "not clear if new offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, who was hired less than two months ago, is included in that group." It also is "not clear when that pay cut takes effect." Since there is still "plenty for coaches to do up until the draft, the pay cuts might not take place until after the draft when the minicamps and the spring practices known as OTA's take place" (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 3/12).

PACKERS: The Packers Saturday said that "they’ve frozen salaries and hiring, and have provisions for sizeable salary cuts at higher levels of the organization, though those have not yet been initiated." Packers VP/Administration & General Counsel Jason Wied said those receiving "fairly sizeable" cuts would include President & CEO Mark Murphy and GM Ted Thompson. Wied: "We wanted to end up with a system where we did not lay off employees. That said, it does require sacrifices on the part of the organization" (GREEN BAY PRESS GAZETTE, 3/13).

LIONS: Lions President Tom Lewand on Saturday said that the team "does not plan any immediate furloughs, layoffs or paycuts because of the NFL lockout." Lewand "did not express concern when asked how the lockout would impact business for next season." He said that season-ticket deposits, both renewals and new sales, "are up over this time last year." Lewand: "We’ve got a good relationship with our season-ticket holder base. We sent them a letter ... that will go out electronically to them today, go out also by U.S. Mail. We’ll be communicating through our websites and through email blasts with them. I think it’s important to maintain direct communication with them" (DETROIT FREE PRESS, 3/13). 

STEELERS: In Pittsburgh, Gerry Dulac noted there are "no indications the Steelers have plans to lay off front-office workers or reduce salaries for the lockout" (PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE, 3/13). Steelers President Art Rooney II said that coach Mike Tomlin's assistants "will be paid through the summer, but their contracts let him trim wages 'if things go on very long.'" Meanwhile, Steelers PR & Media Manager Burt Lauten said that "no current players are scheduled for the April 30 'Steelers Fan Blitz' at Heinz Field, although retired Steelers will be on hand" (Pittsburgh TRIBUNE-REVIEW, 3/13).

THE SHOW MUST GO ON: 49ers President & CEO Jed York posted a letter to fans on the team's website stating in part, "As in recent years, we will be inviting you to participate in the draft weekend excitement with our annual Draft Contest and Draft Day Party. ... In fact, to every extent possible, we will be operating with a business-as-usual attitude. So, this summer, keep an eye out for announcements inviting you to our annual Family Day and State of the Franchise, as well as additional Fan Forums" (THE DAILY). Bears President & CEO Ted Phillips also sent out a statement Saturday, saying in part, "We still plan to host fan events this offseason starting with our 'Ultimate Weekend,' which includes our Draft Party and Bears Expo at Soldier Field" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 3/12).

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