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Volume 26 No. 109
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NFL Labor Talks Hitting Snags, Union Prepping Players For Lockout

Expectations for a new NFL CBA have been "tempered," as the NFLPA "urges players to prepare for the worst" after initial optimism about talks earlier this offseason, according to Nicki Jhabvala of THE ATHLETIC. Broncos K Brandon McManus, the team's NFLPA rep, said talks "were positive" initially, with "just some rumblings" of disagreement. But he added, "I don't think they've gone as well since then. So what the (players association) has done is they don't want anything to happen like it did last time they had a lockout with guys taking out ridiculous loans with these huge interest rates." He said the NFLPA is "trying to educate a lot of guys" this time around who "didn't factor" in the last lockout. McManus: "To me, and a lot of guys here, I think guaranteed money is a big thing. When you see basketball players, that's what all these guys focus on" (THEATHLETIC.com, 8/18).

LEARNING FROM THE PAST: 49ers CB Richard Sherman said current discussions have been "much more amicable" than those that led to the most recent CBA in '11. Sherman: "One side would just get up, pick up their stuff and just walk out of the room and then discussions would halt for a while. … There’s more discussion. There’s not anyone just throwing a fit and getting up and leaving. There’s, ‘I see your point-of-view, we have our perspective and we can agree to disagree at this time but we can revisit it later.’ That gives both sides a reason to feel optimism." However, he said it is "too early to decide" if a work stoppage can be avoided. Sherman: "Do I think it’ll get done before September of this year? I have no idea, but it’s doubtful." Sherman does believe an agreement will be reached “sooner rather than later” and it will not “reach the deadline.” Sherman: "If it does, it’s because something astronomically went wrong, and things just fell apart" (“The Peter King Podcast,” NBCSports.com, 8/14).

WORK TO DO: NFL.com's Pelissero & Rapoport report it "remains unlikely" a new CBA "will be reached" before the Sept. 5 season opener. Players and owners today begin another round of labor talks in Chicago, and sources said that both sides "have expressed an openness to expanding the playoff field from 12 to 14 teams." Sources added that such a change "would help offset revenue lost by cutting the preseason to three games, which is considered likely." Through five formal bargaining sessions, there has "yet to be a breakthrough on the issue that matters most: how players and owners will split revenue in the next CBA" (NFL.com, 8/19). Jets OT and alternate union rep Kelvin Beachum said, "Sixteen games are more than enough. If the owners want to provide more money, we can put that into consideration, but I don't think that's good for our game right now. I don't think there's a player in the National Football League right now that wants to play 18 games" (NEWSDAY, 8/18).