NFLPA

Allen Robinson is making his feelings on the proposed CBA abundantly clear

Allen Robinson is making his feelings on the proposed CBA abundantly clear

Allen Robinson does not have time for this nonsense. 

Robinson, who is actually quite the vociferous tweeter, logged on a few weeks back and, gang, he hasn't logged off since. Since the very beginning, he has remained perfectly clear about where he lies re: the proposed Collective Bargaining Agreement that may, or may not, be close to ratification. It started back on Feb. 20: 

Weird. It's almost like players aren't responding to the idea that owners could cap game checks at an arbitrary (and low) number without any sort of publicly-made reasoning behind it! Love to be paid less than usual for more work. LOVE IT. 

He then RT'd Richard Sherman, who was RT'ing JJ Watt: 

Our large, athletic, labor-focused sons are all grown up! Allen wasn't done, though. A few days later, he hit 'em with some first-team All-Pro sarcasm:

Trying to split players on issues while alienating the NFL's working class against the stars definitely doesn't sound like something a group of team owners would try to do, right? Surely, these billionaires understand how much money they already have and wouldn't jeopardize their work force's safety just for one more Sunday afternoon of beer sales? Oh, they would? Unabashedly? Ah. Well, while we're here, is there anything else on your mind, Allen? 

Hell yes. Hell yes, Allen. The most damning tweet of all might have come a few days ago, though: 

Hot cakes, Allen! Hot cakes! 

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How the Bears' offseason plan will be defined by NFL's CBA negotiations

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USA Today

How the Bears' offseason plan will be defined by NFL's CBA negotiations

The Bears’ offseason will be defined by what happens in the next few days with (and sorry if this seems boring) labor negotiations. Trust us, though: It’s anything but boring. 

You’ve probably seen some of the items included in the collective bargaining agreement the league’s 32 owners ratified this week: Expanded playoffs, a 17th game, no franchise/transition tag, a new structure for fifth-year options, and — most importantly — more money for everyone (even if the owners, who do not play football nor suffer the aftereffects of playing football, have no interest in a 50/50 split of league revenue). 

But here’s where the intrigue lies: The owners want the NFLPA to either ratify or reject their current proposal by “next week,” a vague term clearly referencing the NFL combine. While the 2020 league year does not begin until March 18, the combine is where groundwork gets laid for deals and trades with agents, coaches and front office types, all mingling for a few days in downtown Indianapolis (which, by the way, is a lot nicer a place than you may think!). 

And without a clear direction (either moving forward with a new CBA or continuing with the old agreement for one more year), how are football bigwigs supposed to spill secrets when the shrimp cocktails at St. Elmo's are traded for real cocktails and then Bud Lights…and more Bud Lights?

(Also, Jerry Jones probably wants to know if he can or cannot use both the franchise and transition tags on Dak Prescott and Amari Cooper.)

If the NFLPA ratifies the owners’ proposal, the Bears could get an immediate injection of cap space (the Athletic estimated an extra $5 million) that’d be a significant aid to Ryan Pace’s offseason strategy. 

It’d be interesting to know if the new CBA would affect Mitch Trubisky’s fifth-year option, which needs to be picked up or declined by May 2 and is guaranteed for injury only. If the new CBA were applied to Trubisky’s fifth-year option, it would be fully guaranteed, meaning the Bears would be on the hook to pay Trubisky no matter what in 2021 if they were to pick it up. But: the amount they’d pay him would certainly be less than the $24 million-ish he’d be due in the old agreement because it’d be based on performance and, well, you know. 

But the real chaos (and downside for the Bears) could hit if the NFLPA does not ratify the owners’ proposal. Mike Florio at PFT ran down the impact of this, saying that even if there seems to be a growing perception among some of the league's biggest voices, it's an awful deal for players. 

But playing out one more year under the current CBA, with no guarantee of labor peace or a 17th game, could mean free agents (or those due for extensions, like Allen Robinson) may not be interested in longer-term contracts given the uncertainty of A) the money available to players in the future and B) the 17th game, and what that means for the next round of TV contracts with ludicrous payouts. 

So, no new CBA could mean more short-term deals with a high average annual value — the kind of thing a team with about $14 million in cap space can’t afford. The Bears’ best bet in free agency is to backload three, four and five-year contracts for top players, allowing them to add talent while staying under the cap in 2020. 

To put it less abstractly: What if the Bears trade for Derek Carr (the Instagram post meant something!) but can't sign him to the extension they want, getting his $21.5 million cap hit down in 2020 while locking him up for a few more years after? It'd mean they'd probably have to cut a player or two they were hoping to keep

The coming hours and days are going to be massive in figuring out what direction the Bears can take this offseason. It may not be as interesting as TOM BRADY’S TOUR STOPS AT HALAS HALL but these negotiations will have a profound impact on what sort of roster the Bears field when the 2020 season begins in September. 

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NFL and NFLPA reportedly making progress towards new labor agreement

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USA Today

NFL and NFLPA reportedly making progress towards new labor agreement

According to a report by Mark Maske of The Washington Post, the NFL and NFLPA “have made meaningful progress towards a new labor agreement.” 

There is plenty to unpack as negotiations progress, but the most significant tidbit from this news is that there is reportedly a real possibility the eventual agreement will expand the NFL’s regular season schedule to 17 games (while eliminating games from the preseason).

Such an agreement would represent a compromise between the league and the NFLPA. According to Maske, owners had been pushing for an 18-game regular season, but the players union has remained reluctant to budge off the current 16-game schedule. Maske flagged the league’s rookie compensation scale and current marijuana policy as areas in which the owners could give ground in order to persuade the players to agree to an expanded schedule.

The report also lists a 14-team playoff field as a potential inclusion in the agreement.

The current NFL CBA — which was agreed to in 2011 — is valid through the end of the 2020 season, but Maske reports that there is “optimism” a new agreement might be reached by the end of the 2019-20 postseason.