After more than 120 days, the NFL lockout has ended. The only thing most fans will notice missing from the 2011 NFL season is the annual pre season Hall of Fame game. It looks like all 32 teams will play 4 pre season games, and a full 16 game regular season. Of course, we have missed much more, the lack of free agency before the NFL draft, OTA’s and mini camps, and more importantly the signing of NFL draft picks to contracts. Now all of that is going to happen this week. It is great to have football back, but this week is going to be hell for anyone who claims (like myself) to be a sports writer.
So we know this is a 10-year agreement and there is no opt out clause for either side. The big sticking point here was revenues splits, and that gets very complicated. The short version is the players must average 47% of all revenue for the 10-year agreement. The money will be counted differently, but this looks to be a much more fair agreement than we had previously.
There is a rookie salary cap, the minimum salary has gone up, and there is a cap on what teams can spend on undrafted free agents. The new salary cap is right around 120.375 million but teams can borrow against future caps to meet current expenses. All teams must also spend 89% of their cap dollars. Pre season workouts and padded workouts have been reduced and we can deal with all of that a little later.
Now I think the league and the players should do something to give something back to the fans of this sport, since we are where all of these dollars come from. I will not go as far as to say hey give us a free pre season game, but a gesture to the fans should now be made.
•The Business of the NFL