by Evette Brown
With Commissioner Roger Goodell’s announcement, “Football’s back!” the NFL lockout officially ended. After four months of tense negotiations that threatened to cancel the 2011 football season, the National Football League and the NFL Players Association signed a ten-year collective-bargaining agreement yesterday afternoon. This official agreement brings an end to the conflict and opens the doors for teams to initiate training and preparation for the forthcoming season.
According to a report from Bloomberg, representative members of the NFL Players Association approved the deal offered by the 32 league owners when they unanimously voted in favor of the offer.
Dividing the $9 billion revenue that the NFL generates annually was the central theme of the conflict. Under the old agreement between owners and their valuable commodities, the owners received $1 billion as soon as that revenue was received. With the new negotiations, players are now receiving 47% of this stream of revenue.
Additionally, a salary cap for team payrolls has been set to $120.4 million per ball club, plus $22 million in benefits for each individual player. Included in this cap is the guarantee for the league to spend no less than 99 percent of it for the next two seasons and no less than 95 percent for the 2013 through 2017 seasons. Teams are also capped as to how much can be spent on rookies while current NFLers are now guaranteed the league’s medical plans for life with between $900 million and $1 billion in retiree benefits.
The NFL Players’ Association is also vying to have their organization recertified as a union within a certain time period and an opt-out clause available to all members of the union after the ten year period has expired. To protect the players and reduce possible injuries, “two-a-day practices were eliminated; teams have agreed to set a maximum of 4.5 hours on-field per day during training camp; and limited full-contact practices to an average of one per week not exceeding three hours.”
The NFL players will also have more days off the field during the preseason.
Since the lockout has officially concluded, tomorrow, all NFL teams are allowed to begin signing drafted and undrafted first-year players and begin trading. On July 29th, teams will be open to signing free agents and training camp is set to resume 15 days before each team’s preseason game.
The most profitable professional sports franchise has returned! Get ready for an explosive season.