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One week after walkout, silence


NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell believes that the time has come to make a deal. Unless he and NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith have mastered the gift of ESP, getting a deal done will be difficult because the two sides simply aren’t talking.

Judy Battista of the New York Times reports that there have been no conversations since the league walked out of last Wednesday’s bargaining session.

“It was not the meeting we expected when we went there,” NFL general counsel Jeff Pash told Battista regarding the league’s decision to short-circuit the two-day meeting less than one day into it. “A lot of groundwork had been laid for what we hoped would be a very productive session. It became clear over the course of hours of discussion that we had a pretty fundamental disagreement, that there was not a meeting of minds.”

Battista also reports that the talks broke down after the league concluded that the union had backtracked on a willingness to reduce its cut of the post-$1-billion-off-the-top revenue from 59.6 cents per dollar to 52. The owners had proposed cutting the number to 48 percent. When the league inquired as to possibilities for bridging the gap, the union said that the 52-cent model was merely an illustration, not a proposal.

(This conflicts with Chris Mortensen’s report from last week that the union asked for roughly 50 cents of all dollars, and that in response the league left the meeting.)

Putting that into total dollars, if we assume $9 billion in revenue and $1 billion off the top, a move from 59.6 cents to 52 represents a reduction from $4.768 billion to $4.16 billion. That’s a drop of $608 million per year, based on current numbers.

The league’s offer of 48 cents takes it down to $3.84 billion, more than $900 million less the cut the players get under the current formula.

It’s no surprise that, instead of taking another $1 billion off the top, the league wants to tweak the formula in a way that translates to roughly $1 billion now, since as the pie continues to grow that number will grow.

Still, it’s unfortunate that, with 16 days until the labor deal expires, nothing is happening.