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Haves vs. Have-Mores Debate Endangers CBA

Haves vs. Have-Mores Debate Endangers CBA

You can reach Rich Tandler by email at WarpathInsiders@comcast.net
There are rumors out there that there has been progress, perhaps even a breakthrough, in negotiations for a new collective bargaining agreement (CBA) between the NFL and the NFL Players Association. However, before the players and owners can agree how to split up the billions of dollars the league will take in, the owners must decide how to split it up among themselves, and that could prove to be a considerably trickier task.

The issue is what some teams call local revenue and others call unshared revenue. Some teams, like the Redskins, Cowboys, and Patriots take in a lot of it. Others like the Bills and Jaguars do not. You can guess which group calls it local and which calls it unshared.

The battle lines are drawn. The higher-revenue owners want to be able to keep what they have in terms of income from luxury seating, stadium naming rights, concessions and parking, the less-wealthy owners want their cut and the players don’t really care how the owners split the money up as long as they get their share of it.

NFL teams currently share ticket revenue with the home team keeping 60% of the gate and the other 40% going into a pool that the 32 teams split up equally. They also divide up the massive pool of TV rights fees; that income alone will bring each team in the neighborhood of $100 million in 2006.

That means that the “little guys” still aren’t doing too badly. With the salary cap at around $95 million, their player salaries are paid for before they sell a single ticket. Most business owners would love to have their payroll covered before opening up business for the year.

Still, the “little guys” are complaining that the high-revenue teams have a competitive advantage over them. This is difficult to understand since the reigning champion Pittsburgh Steelers are among the teams complaining that the big bullies are going after them. Their owner Dan Rooney said last spring (following a 15-1 season):
There's about eight or 10 of the high-revenue clubs that seem to be united in a bloc. They want to keep the disparity. They want to knock us down and have us get up at the count of nine, so they can have another fight and knock us down again.
If what Rooney’s team has been through the last couple of years is getting beaten down for the count, Dan Snyder would sure like to get into the ring and get knocked silly a few times himself.

Even if you buy the argument that higher revenues create a competitive imbalance that in and of itself does not make a case for local revenue sharing. How much is enough to field a competitive team? Are all teams entitled to equal profits? Along those lines, should this money be shared is there any guarantee that the owners who would be net takers from the pool would spend it on their teams rather than sticking it into their pockets?

Snyder, who would be a net giver into such a pool, is among many owners who are paying off debt on their teams. Snyder alone is also paying debt on the stadium his team plays in and improvements to that structure. Those loans were made by financiers on the premise that there would be a certain amount of money generated through the local revenue streams. If those streams are slowed to a trickle by mandated sharing, the bankers will not be happy. A financial crisis could well ensue.

It boils down to this: Ralph Wilson’s team, the Buffalo Bills, play in Ralph Wilson Stadium. Should Snyder, who felt that selling the naming rights to what was Jack Kent Cooke Stadium was the fiscally responsible thing to do, have to write out a check that goes to Wilson, who chooses to forgo that revenue?

It would appear that the higher-revenue teams have the advantage over the mere high revenue teams when it comes to determining what, if anything, will be done. It would take a ¾ majority to enact any new proposal to split revenues. That means it takes only nine votes to prevent a change to the status quo. Reports are that seven teams are adamantly opposed to any changes in the current setup—the Redskins, Cowboys, Eagles, Giants, Jets, Patriots, and Texans. That means that they have to recruit just two more votes from a group that may include teams like the Bears, Seahawks, Bucs, and Chiefs to block any money grab by the Bengals and Jaguars of the NFL world.

Indications are that the higher-revenue teams are willing to share some of the local income, just not in the form of direct payments to the other owners. One possible plan is for the cut of the money to go into a fund that would pay for expenses such as player benefits. The teams like the Bills could then put the money they’re spending on that into other areas such as scouting or coaches if they chose to do so.

The “have-nots” had best take the best deal they can get and soon. If there is not a CBA by the start of the free agency period, the NFLPA could well decide to go ahead and enter 2007 as an uncapped year. That’s a decision that the union could make unilaterally since the current CBA calls for it. If the Rooneys and Wilsons think that they have trouble staying even now, wait until they have to compete for talent in such an environment.

Rich Tandler is the author of The Redskins From A to Z, Volume 1: The Games. This unique book chronicles every game the Redskins played from 1937 through 2001. It is available at www.RedskinsGames.com

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Redskins draft countdown: Georgia RB Sony Michel

Redskins draft countdown: Georgia RB Sony Michel

Redskins draft countdown

Sony Michel

Running back
Georgia

Sony Michel is a solid north-south runner who also can bounce outside and pick up yardage. He shared playing time with Nick Chubb last year and still ran for 1,277 yards, averaging 7.9 yards per carry, and scored 16 touchdowns against SEC competition. Michel also showed his bona fides in the passing game, catching 64 career passes and showing that he can handle pass protection. 

Height: 5-11
Weight: 220
40-yard dash:4.54

Projected draft round:2

How he fits the Redskins: The Redskins have made no secret of their desire to draft an upgrade at running back. They would prefer one who can catch passes out of the backfield and gain yardage between the tackles. Sony Michel can do both as well as pop for yardage on the outside. There is a good chance that he will be on the board when the Redskins draft in the second round. Since they don’t have a third-round pick, this may be the last chance to get an upgrade in this draft. 

Film review: vs. Notre Dame, vs. Alabama

—The first thing to say here is that the Bulldogs had a quality run-blocking offensive line. Michel frequently had big holes to run through. For his part, Michel maximized his gains when he had a big opening, hitting it quickly and working north-south. 

—He also can pick up yards through just a small crease, again by hitting it with urgency and gaining momentum to drive for the final few yards. 

—Michel didn’t do a whole lot of pass protection in the plays I watched, but he was solid when he did. On one play against Notre Dame, he put a blitzing defensive back on the ground. Against Alabama, he got in the way of likely first-round pick Da’Ron Payne long enough to allow the quarterback to get off a deep pass. To be sure, he didn’t blow Payne away but his block was effective.

—Besides the O-line, Michel also got quality blocking from his receivers. Again, he took advantage, reading the blocks and maximizing the gain. 

—He also can get it done without much help. On third and 20 against the vaunted Alabama defense, he headed up the middle and quickly went outside when he saw no running room. He headed to the sideline with four Alabama defenders and no blockers in sight. Michel found another gear and accelerated down the sideline to convert the third and long.  

—He later converted a third and 10 on a draw play, quickly getting up to speed and zipping through traffic to move the sticks. 

Potential issues: Although he has decent speed, he’s not the home run threat you might want in a back taken in the second round. And Michel isn’t really a power back either, although he can fight for extra yards. 

Despite his limitations, there is chatter that Michel might be drafted early in the second round or perhaps even late in the first. It’s hard to separate the smoke and speculation from reality as we sit a week before the draft starts. But he’s a talented back and if Derrius Guice goes off the board earlier than most expect, a run on runners could include Michel. 

Bottom line: Saquon Barkley is the obvious top running back and he surely will be gone when the Redskins pick in the first round. After that, the Redskins have plenty of options. They like Guice but 13 may be too high for him and he is likely to be gone when their pick in the second is on the clock. Michel is one of a few possibilities there, a group that also would include Michel’s former teammate Nick Chubb, Ronald Jones of USC and others. Without a peek at the draft board in Ashburn, we will just have to wait and see. 

Redskins draft countdown

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page, Facebook.com/TandlerNBCSand follow him on Twitter @TandlerNBCS.

 

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The NFL fills in the blanks on the Redskins' schedule tonight

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USA Today Sports Images

The NFL fills in the blanks on the Redskins' schedule tonight

Since the 2017 regular ended we’ve known who the Redskins will play this coming season and we have known where the games will be played. Tonight we find out the when. 

The NFL schedule will be released tonight at 8 p.m. The NFL will fill in the blanks beside all of the prime time games, the Thanksgiving Day games and the Sunday doubleheader and night games. 

Last year, the Redskins were coming off of an 8-7-1 season where they just missed making a second straight playoff appearance. Kirk Cousins was becoming one of the more recognizable names in the NFL and the schedule makers thought they would be enough of a draw to warrant five prime time slots. They were scheduled for a Sunday night, two Monday nights, and two Thursday nights, including a first-ever home game on Thanksgiving. 

The Redskins may not be as attractive a prime time candidate this year. They went 7-9 and Cousins is gone, although replacement Alex Smith is fairly well-known. It’s nearly a given that two NFC East games will be on prime time. That has been the case every year but one since 2012. We will see what will happen beyond that. 

The prime-time games that the Redskins do have will start a bit earlier than they have in the past. The league announced yesterday that Monday night games will move up from 8:30 p.m. ET to 8:15 p.m. ET and Thursdays will move from an 8:25 p.m. start to 8:20 p.m. Sunday night games move up from 8:30 p.m. to 8:20 p.m.

There has been speculation that the Redskins will play on Thanksgiving, perhaps at Dallas or against another opponent in the night game. That would make three years in a row on Thanksgiving for them. That is not without precedent although it would be unusual. Besides the Lions and Cowboys, who host Thanksgiving games annually, only two teams played in three straight Thanksgiving games. The Bears played every Thanksgiving from 1979-1981. The Cardinals also played three straight, but there is an asterisk there since they hosted the game instead of the Cowboys in 1975 and 1977. In between they played at Dallas on Thanksgiving. 

The availability of FedEx Field should not cause any schedule alterations. There are some events scheduled for the venue but concerts by Taylor Swift and Beyonce & Jay-Z, an international soccer game, and the Maryland-Texas college game are all going to be done before the start of the NFL season. 

Here are the Redskins regular season opponents. 

Road

  • Cowboys 
  • Giants
  • Eagles
  • Cardinals
  • Saints
  • Jaguars
  • Titans
  • Bucs

Home

  • Cowboys 
  • Giants
  • Eagles
  • Packers
  • Panthers
  • Colts
  • Falcons
  • Texans

The preseason opponents were announced earlier this month.

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Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerNBCSand follow him on Twitter @TandlerNBCS.