WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 25: DeMaurice Smith (L) executive director of the National Football League Players' Association, and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell shake hands before addressing the media on July 25, 2011 in Washington, DC. The NFL players and owners announced they have reached agreement and ended the lockout. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

NFL Lockout 2011: Owners, Players Have Reached Agreement On CBA

At long last, the NFL Lockout is over. Owners approved a new CBA by a vote of 31-0 (with the Oakland Raiders abstaining) on Thursday, and the players association approved the new CBA on Monday, officially bringing the lockout to an end. Read more at SB Nation.

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NFL Lockout: Logan Mankins, Vincent Jackson Reportedly Holding Up Possible Agreement

With an end to the 2011 NFL Lockout on the horizon, the NFL owners will send the proposed new Collective Bargaining Agreement to the ten plaintiffs in the aforementioned Brady v. NFL antitrust lawsuit.  While most players are ready to go back to work, two players involved in the case aren't quite satisfied with the settlement.

According to Mike Freeman of CBS SportsNew England Patriots guard Logan Mankins and San Diego Chargers wide receiver Vincent Jackson, two plantiffs in the case, will not sign their names without being compensated 10 million dollars by the NFL in a possible settlement.

Mankins and Jackson are still asking for $10 million each and this is slowing the process, the source explained. Jackson has denied he is seeking compensation. And just to be clear: Mankins and Jackson are not themselves asking for the money. Lawyers representing them are. The lawsuit against the NFL cannot be settled until all the plaintiffs agree and as of late Wednesday night, the source said, Mankins and Jackson were still seeking payment. The NFL, thus far, refuses to agree. (via CBS Sports

In a report from Yahoo! Sports on Monday, Mankins and Jackson stated that if they were not both awarded 10 million dollars, that they would demand to be come unrestricted free agents. Both appear poised to get their money either way.

This isn't the first time that Mankins and Jackson have expressed displeasure with their current situations. Last season, Mankins held out from the Patriots for the entire months of September and October before singing a one-year tender with the team in early November. Jackson meanwhile was suspended by the Chargers for the first three games of the season due to conduct issues.

For more NFL Lockout coverage, visit SB Nation and follow our StoryStream.


NFL Lockout: NFL, Players Association Move Labor Talks To Minnesota

After completing talks last week in Hull, Massachusetts, the NFL owners and the NFL Players Association began their fifth round of labor talks on Monday in Minneapolis, Minnesota in hopes of finally striking a deal.

According to reports, the only two that were present for the talks were NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and NFL Players Association executive director DeMaurice Smith, as the two engaged in one-on-one talks without any owners or players in the room.

In the past few weeks, the talks have been deemed "complex" and "complicated" by Goodell, however both sides are aware that a deal needs to come together in the near future, in order to preserve team training camps and the preseason.

Some internal deadlines have July 15 as the date a labor deal needs to be done to save the preseason in its natural form. (via NFL.com)

One topic that has been of great discussion lately has been the rookie wage scale.  The NFL owners have been adamant in reducing the value of a first-round pick's rookie contract.

However, the players continue to protest that the rookies entering the league need to get the big money.

The parties broached the rookie pay system last week for the first time during these clandestine sessions, and it proved to be a difficult area to navigate. Last year's No. 1 overall draft pick, Rams quarterback Sam Bradford, received about $50 million guaranteed in his rookie deal, and the owners have long looked to drastically mark down those type of price tags. (via NFL.com)

While attention has been focused on revenue sharing, there are other objectives that need to be taken care of in order to come to an agreement soon.

The sides have largely spent the last four weeks discussing the revenue split, an issue that dwarfs all others. And it's not just the revenue now, but also how to account for the league's future growth, particularly when the 2014 television deals are done. (via NFL.com)

For more NFL Lockout coverage, visit SB Nation and follow our StoryStream


NFL Lockout Ruling Means Players Can Report To Work On Tuesday

Monday evening, Judge Susan Nelson ruled in favor of the players, lifting the NFL lockout. It was a decision that the league's owners quickly appealed, seeking a stay of the lockout during the process. But with that ruling not expected until Tuesday sometime, it appears that for a few hours Tuesday morning, the NFL will run as though there is no lockout. Most importantly, this means the players can report to work as normal.

In fact, the former NFLPA is telling its players to do just that in an email sent Monday night (via Adam Schefter):

"Unless and until the judge issues an order for a stay, the teams will be in violation of Judge Nelson's order if they don't allow access."

NFL Managment Council told teams to let players into their buildings Tuesday, but also recommended keeping weight rooms closed.

There are already reports of some coaches contacting their players -- they were previously unable to do so when the lockout was ongoing -- and Ryan Clark and other Pittsburgh Steelers plan on reporting on Tuesday. And according to Greg Aiello, NFL spokesman (via NFL Network's Albert Breer), if a player shows up to a team facility on Tuesday, they will be allowed access: "If a player comes to the facility, he will be treated courteously and with respect."

But there are still more questions than answers at this point, as SB Nation's Brian Floyd points out

The timing of the ruling couldn't be worse for the NFL. The 2011 NFL Draft is on Thursday and without a clear set of rules, anything could happen. With the lockout in place, teams would not have been able to trade players on draft day and would have only been allowed to trade picks for picks. But now? Well, we're not quite sure what will happen, but, theoretically, teams could make player trades.

Beginning immediately, with the lockout lifted, teams could sign and trade players. Is there anything stopping teams from making a mad dash for Matt Hasselbeck or any number of free agents out there? Not from a rules standpoint, but it's highly unlikely the owners break rank and make a mad dash for players.

NFL's wild, wild west scenario, indeed.


NFL Lockout Lifted In Judge Nelson's Ruling, League Promptly Appealed

As was expected, the ruling on the NFL lockout came Monday evening, and it was a win for the players. Judge Susan Nelson ruled in favor of the players and the injunction to lift the NFL lockout. But it's all far from over. 

The owners have already appealed to the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, asking for a stay after Judge Nelson did not grant them one on Monday. The league is hoping to keep the lockout in place during the appeals process, which would prolong the start of free agency and offseason workouts; the players want the NFL to operating regularly during the appeals process. 

If the the stay is denied, then the league will be open for business and the free agency will begin. In short: Judge Nelson has ruled in favor of the players, so now the burden is on the league to prove to the 8th Circuit Appellate Court that the lockout is legal.

"We will promptly seek a stay from Judge Nelson pending an expedited appeal to the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals," the statement said. "We believe that federal law bars injunctions in labor disputes. We are confident that the Eighth Circuit will agree. But we also believe that this dispute will inevitably end with a collective bargaining agreement, which would be in the best interests of players, clubs and fans. We can reach a fair agreement only if we continue negotiations toward that goal."

NFL Players Association Executive Director DeMaurice Smith is obviously a fan of the decision, saying, "I'm happy for our guys and for our fans. Today, those who love football are the winners."

Smith added that he had talked to the lead plaintiffs, including Tom Brady, and said, "they're thrilled."


NFLPA Officially Decertifies, NFL Expected To Lock Them Out Friday Night

The NFL Players Association and the league were unable to reach an agreement on a new collective bargaining and as a result, the NFLPA filed the necessary paper work to officially decertify Friday evening at 5 p.m. EST, making a lockout all but certain. 

"The NFL Players Association ... has renounced its status as the exclusive collective bargaining representative of the players of the NFL. The NFLPA will move forward as a professional trade association with the mission of supporting the interests and rights of the current and former professional football players."

The current CBA does not expire until 11:59 p.m., but the NFLPA had a 5 p.m. deadline to decertify. But choosing to go that route, the union has effectively chosen to fight the owners in court with a legal battle rather than negotiations. NFLPA executive director De Smith address the media briefly around 4:45 p.m., saying, "We informed the owners that significant differences remained, that if there was going to be a request for an extension that we asked for 10 years of audited financial records to accompany any extension." Basically, the players want to know how the owners are spending their money, but the owners are not budging on that issues. 

The league issued their own statement Friday night, reading, in part: 

At a time when thousands of employees are fighting for their collective bargaining rights, this union has chosen to abandon collective bargaining in favor of a sham ‘decertification' and antitrust litigation. This litigation maneuver is built on the indisputably false premise that the NFLPA has stopped being a union and will merely delay the process of reaching an agreement.

The NFL clubs remain committed to collective bargaining and the federal mediation process until an agreement is reached. The NFL calls on the union to return to negotiations immediately. NFL players, clubs, and fans want an agreement. The only place it can be reached is at the bargaining table.

The NFL is expected to officially lock out the players Friday at midnight, with the next step being a battle in the courts. 


NFL Lockout: NFL, Players Association To Resume Talks On Monday

The NFL and NFL Players Association will resume their negotiations towards a new collective bargaining agreement on Monday after taking the weekend off, according to ESPN.

The sides were using this weekend to assess their positions, before resuming talks in front of a federal mediator Monday — and then they will have until the end of Friday to reach a new CBA, thanks to two extensions of the old deal. It originally was to have expired last Thursday.

The league and players association reached an agreement to extend the current CBA by 24 hours on Thursday night and then extended it once again on Friday, this time for one week.

While the move to extend the negotiating window doesn’t guarantee a deal will be reached, it is a positive sign that both sides are open to discussion.

According to the report from ESPN, the main problem holding up a new deal is focused around money.

Money, not surprisingly, is what is at the center of the standoff.

In addition to the owners’ proposal Thursday, the union also has made concessions in the latest negotiations, sources on both sides told ESPN senior NFL analyst Chris Mortensen. The details of those concessions are unknown.

Earlier Friday, sources familiar with the process told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter that the sides narrowed the financial gap between them by roughly $5 million per team per year. Nevertheless, a significant divide exists — roughly $25 million per team per year. With 32 teams in the league, the gap equates to $750 million to $800 million per year.


NFL Lockout: Owners, Players Agree On One Week Extenson

Early Friday afternoon, the NFL owners and NFL Players Association agreed to extend the deadline for labor negotiations to next Friday, Mar. 11, at 5 p.m. This comes a day after they originally agreed to extend Thursday's 11:59 p.m. EST deadline by 24-hours. 

Adam Schefter originally reported the extension and added that mediation will likely continue Monday. The extension is only for CBA talks -- no roster moves will be allowed over the next seven days. 

The extension was a best-case scenario for those who want to see NFL games this fall -- it was very unlikely that the two sides would reach a new deal on Friday, but an extension represents that the two sides may think they'll be able to agree on a new CBA sooner rather than later. it also means (hopefully) we won't be dealing with this in August. 

Read more at SB Nation's NFL Lockout Storystream.


NFL, NFLPA Agree To 24-Hour Extension To Avoid Lockout (For Now)

According to multiple reports, the NFL Players Association and the NFL have agreed to a 24-hour extension in their on-going negotiations. Considering the deadline for he current CBA was 11:59 p.m. EST on Thursday, this is considered great news for those who want an NFL season in 2011. 

Well, maybe it's just good news -- popular thinking seems to indicate that the two sides won't be able to actually accomplish in the 24-hour window and that it likely is just being put in place so the two sides have time to hammer out a longer extension. But that still would be good news, too, because it would indicate that both sides feel there is a reason to keep discussing now. 

Reportedly, it was the owners who pushed for the extension, which may indicate that they are doing their part to avoid a court battle. If the two side cannot reach an agreement, or if they can't work on a longer agreement, the players union is expected to decertify before the CBA expires. which could then lead to a legal battle between the player and the owners. 

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