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Volume 26 No. 208
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Sources: NFLPA Updating All Players On Progress Of CBA Negotiations

The NFLPA has been "holding a series of membership-wide conference calls Thursday and Friday to update players around the league on the state of collective bargaining negotiations with the NFL," according to sources cited by Dan Graziano of ESPN.com. The sources said that there are "eight calls scheduled -- one for each NFL division -- and call-in information was distributed to every player in the league, not just the 32 team player representatives." It is "unclear how many players have participated or will participate in the calls, but the union sees this as a chance to speak to its full body of membership about the current CBA offer on the table." The current 10-year CBA proposal "includes an option for the NFL to expand its regular season from 16 games to 17 games at some point during the life of the deal while also reducing the number of preseason games and expanding the playoffs to include more teams." Sources said that it also "includes concessions from the owners' side on issues such as revenue split, higher minimum salaries, improved player benefits, relaxation of offseason and training camp workout rules, a revised drug policy and others." Sources added that the players are trying to decide whether those concessions are "enough to justify an expanded regular season, whether they need to go back to the owners with a counterproposal that asks for more concessions, or whether 17 games is a non-starter no matter what" (ESPN.com, 2/13).

STANDING ON 17: In DC, Mark Maske cited sources as saying that NFLers are "hopeful of securing further concessions from the league and owners before taking a ratification vote" on the proposed CBA that includes a 17-game season. It is "not clear whether the NFLPA has resumed negotiations with the league and owners, or what additional concessions the union will seek to make a 17-game season more palatable to players." It also is "not known if the league and owners are willing to make further concessions" (WASHINGTON POST, 2/13).

READY TO CASH IN: The WALL STREET JOURNAL's Andrew Beaton cites a source as saying that a labor deal in the coming weeks "could be the lever that opens up a summer of bidding for the most valuable properties in all of TV." But if a CBA fails to come together imminently, both sides "fear they will miss an opportunity to capitalize at a time when they feel the league’s leverage in media negotiations has never been stronger." NFL TV numbers this year rose, while competitors such as the NBA, MLB or "practically anything else on television, have seen their numbers sag." Sources said that there is a "growing imperative to get the next round of media deals done quickly." They added that the league "wants to cash in before things take a turn for the worse -- a scenario they worry could unfold if they don’t get it done this off-season." Some decision makers "fear a potential economic downturn that could limit the budgets of potential rights holders who face the prospect of spending billions on NFL games." They also "watched how NFL ratings fell sharply during the last presidential election, a prospect they believe could repeat itself" in '20 (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 2/14).