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NFLPA informs players of areas of tentative agreement, “major issues” that remain

Roger Goodell didn't provide much of an update on the status of the new CBA, but Mike Florio explains why he's seeing encouraging signs so far with negotiations.

The NFL and NFL Players Association have made progress toward a new labor deal. But they’re not yet at the point where NFLPA leadership can recommend the ratification of a proposal.

In an email sent to all players on Thursday, a copy of which PFT has obtained, NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith summarizes the areas in which a tentative agreement has been reached, and the “major issues” that remain.

Topics that currently prevent a deal from being done include: (1) the maximum percentage of revenue that players could receive each year in salaries and benefits; (2) minimum cash spending requirements for each club and league-wide; (3) the continuation of, and ultimately an increase in, the NFLPA Legacy Fund, which in 2011 increased pensions for pre-1993 players through contributions of active players and NFL ownership; (4) greater increases for individual minimum salaries; (5) removing the escrow requirement/funding rule as a barrier to guaranteed contracts; (6) rules for players drafted in the first round and for restricted free agents; and (7) a liability waiver proposed by the NFL for on-field injuries. (A source with knowledge of the situation described the liability waiver as a “non-starter.”)

The negotiations have focused on a model that would include a 17-game regular season, a reduced preseason, and possibly an expanded postseason. The two sides have made progress as to: (1) provisions the would increase the guaranteed revenue coming to players; (2) increases in minimum salaries, performance-based pay, injury protections and practice squad benefits; (4) improvements to the players’ offseason, especially reduction of contact during training camps; (5) decreases in fines for on-field violations; (6) significant increases in benefits; and (6) significant modifications to the drug and disciplinary policies.

PFT reported over the weekend that a deal is there to be done, with the share of the revenue between the league and the players the primary sticking point. Once a deal on economics is reached, the rest of the agreement would likely fall together quickly. As one source explained it at the time, if the contract were premised on a 16-game regular season, a deal already would be done.

With Chargers left tackle Russell Okung intending to run for the position of NFLPA president, both sides may want to treat the March election as a real deadline for getting a deal done. If Okung wins, there’s a chance that the negotiations could change, significantly.