NFL, NFLPA Hold Early CBA Talks; Seen As Positive First Step
A handful of NFL owners and almost the entire NFLPA exec committee were in Minneapolis on Tuesday, and they "spent roughly five hours with each other in a hotel" for early CBA discussions, according to Albert Breer of THE MMQB. The meeting "stands as the first major action" ahead of the '21 expiration of the current CBA, and it "sets a better tone" than the last negotiations, which led to the '11 lockout. Nine years ago, it "seemed everyone was spoiling for a fight." However, it is "not like that right now." Breer: "This meeting getting off to a good start is, well, a good start." In the last few months, officials from the league and union offices "started dialogue on secondary issues related to the CBA in order to lay groundwork for the bigger, more important negotiations." Both NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and NFLPA Exec Dir DeMaurice Smith attended the meeting in Minneapolis. Among the owners making it were the Cowboys' Jerry Jones, Giants' John Mara, Chargers' Dean Spanos, Chiefs' Clark Hunt and Steelers' Art Rooney. NFLPA President Eric Winston also was among the union execs attending the meeting. Breer noted early indications are that, "aside from setting up the media deals, stadium credits are going to be important for owners." As for the players, the percentage of total revenue "will be the priority" (SI.com, 4/11).
POWERFUL PROTECTION: The AP's Barry Wilner reports NFL and NFLPA officials are "encouraged by the improvements in helmet safety," as the two groups on Friday announced six of 11 new helmets tested this year "moved into the top-10 rated models." Vicis Zero1 "graded best" for the third straight year. Vicis "doubled the number of NFL players using Zero1" from '17 to '18 -- 135 players, including Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes and Seahawks QB Russell Wilson, donned the helmet last year (AP, 4/12).