[to top of second column]
The players want to get back to free agency rules similar to 2009, when a four-year veteran whose contract expired was unrestricted. That minimum shifted to six years in 2010, when there was no salary cap because owners already had declared they were opting out of the old CBA.
On rookie salaries, four people familiar with the talks said Thursday that first-round draft picks will sign four-year contracts with a club option for a fifth year. That represents a compromise; owners were hoping for five-year contracts, while players wanted highly drafted rookies to be under a team's control for only four years.
NFL owners have long sought to restrict the huge bonuses and salaries paid to unproven rookies, particularly those selected at the top of the draft. Quarterback Sam Bradford, taken No. 1 overall in 2010 by the St. Louis Rams, signed a six-year, $78 million contract that included a record $50 million in guaranteed money.
Under the system discussed Thursday, people told the AP, clubs will have an option for a fifth year on a rookie's contract for a predetermined amount based on the player's performance during the previous years of the deal.
This week's talks in New York began Monday with two days of meetings involving primarily lawyers. Wednesday's face-to-face session that was attended by Goodell, Smith, owners and players went nearly 11 hours.
On Thursday, Goodell was joined by eight of the 10 members of the owners' labor committee, including Jerry Jones of the Dallas Cowboys and John Mara of the New York Giants. Two new participants Thursday were Green Bay Packers CEO Mark Murphy and San Diego Chargers owner Dean Spanos.
Smith's group included Foxworth, Indianapolis Colts center Jeff Saturday, and Giants defensive end Osi Umenyiora. Umenyiora is one of the 10 named plaintiffs in the antitrust case against the league.
Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
< Sports index
Back to top
News | Sports | Business | Rural Review | Teaching & Learning | Home and Family | Tourism | Obituaries
Law & Courts |
Spiritual Life |
Health & Fitness |
Calendar | Letters to the Editor