- Rules for the training camp acclimatization period.
- Procedures by which players could opt out of the season for reasons related to the coronavirus and what would happen to the contracts of those who do.
How to deal with the league’s long-term finances and salary caps for years to come following predicted 2020 loss of income due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Sources on both sides of the talks said the hope is to complete everything before the teams show up at the camp. As the Houston Texans and Kansas City Chiefs players are due to report this weekend and begin COVID-19 testing, the window to get there is shrinking, but Thursday night’s series of talks are getting stuck. ended with optimism that a deal could be reached in the coming days. , sources said.
The biggest problem of the three listed above seems to be the last. NFL team owners predict a significant loss of revenue this season due to the need to play games in empty or partially filled stadiums. Estimates of those losses vary, but most expectations put it somewhere between $ 3 billion and $ 4 billion, which would represent about 20-25% of the league’s revenue for the year. And, of course, those losses would be higher if the games were to be called off.
Since the salary cap is tied to league income, a loss of income would likely mean a reduction in the cap next year. Sources say the owners ‘original proposal was to absorb the cap reached this year and next – keeping a percentage of players’ 2020 income in receivership and lowering next year’s salary cap based on losses. . This year’s salary cap is $ 198.2 million per team. If the revenue loss projections are correct and no further action is taken, next year’s cap could drop to between $ 120 million and $ 130 million per team.
This would make things very difficult for a number of teams and would likely result in the release of a large number of players or their pay cut by teams trying to get under the significantly reduced cap. For this reason, the players’ initial proposal was to smooth out the cap reductions during the term of the new collective agreement, which will run until the 2030 season. As a (very) coarse example, instead of reducing from $ 70 million next year’s cap, they would divide $ 70 million by 10 and apply a reduction of $ 7 million per year until the end of the ABC.
Sources said there had been a move this Thursday evening and the likely outcome is a compromise that smooths out the blow over five years, from 2021 to 25. A source said current talks revolve around a minimum salary ceiling in the years concerned. (Example: If the projected losses lower the cap for 2021 to $ 130 million but the agreed “floor” for 2021 was $ 160 million, the cap would be set at $ 160 million and the remaining $ 30 million would be If revenue forecasts were higher than expected, the caps for the coming years could be adjusted upwards accordingly. Owners and players are optimistic about the contract extensions the league plans to make with its partners in television network in the next few years. a year or two will lead to significant growth in capitalization.)
As for the other two issues – the opt-out procedures / payments and the training camp acclimatization period – sources say they remain tied to the long-term financial part of the negotiations. It is possible that a party could concede on any of these issues in exchange for a concession on the salary cap discussions.
Earlier this week, the owners proposed an acclimatization period at training camp closer to what the players had requested. Players want to start camp with 21 days of strength training and conditioning, followed by 10 days of pad-free practice, followed by a 14-day contact acclimatization period during which padded practices would be allowed.
As for unsubscribes, players were told on a conference call earlier this week of a proposal that would pay $ 250,000 in allowances to active players (and $ 100,000 in allowances for players on the team). training) who withdrew because they were in one of the highs defined. COVID-19 risk groups (such as BMI over 28 or sleep apnea, for example). Players have been looking for better protections and answers on what happens to their salaries if the league starts the season but can’t finish it.
As of Thursday evening, sources said, the owners’ latest proposal included opt-out provisions for high-risk players as well as non-high-risk players, but with different and varying rules and compensation for both. groups.
But players want better protections and answers on what happens to their wages if they start the season but can’t finish it. These issues are still being negotiated along with the more general financial concerns.
Tuesday is the report date for all teams except Houston and Kansas City (who show up early because they are scheduled to play Thursday night’s opener). According to COVID-19 testing protocols announced earlier this week, players will be tested on day one, quarantined at home for the next two days, tested again on day 4, and then allowed into the facility for their physical training camp during the day. 5 only if both tests are negative. Players will be tested daily for the first two weeks of camp, and then every other day thereafter as long as their team’s positive test rate is below 5%.