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On a separate matter, one of those people, as well as a second person familiar with the negotiations, also told the AP that a proposal currently under consideration would set up nearly $1 billion over the next 10 years in additional benefits for retired players. That would include $620 million in pension increases, long-term care insurance and disability programs. Representatives of retired players complained to the court recently that they had been excluded from negotiations.
In Minnesota, players' lawyers filed a motion Monday asking for a summary judgment that the lockout is illegal and that players are entitled to damages. The NFL, meanwhile, asked the court for a week's extension to file their formal response to the lawsuit; the original deadline was Monday.
Those filings were necessary, procedural moves that would be rendered moot if an agreement is reached before the Aug. 29 hearing date. Later Monday, the NFL and retired players filed a joint request to delay the hearing for at least a month to allow owners "to focus on the continuing mediation."
Atallah called the current players' filing "an obligation to protect the members of the class."
"Obviously, if we come to a settlement, it all can be lifted at any time," he said.
During lengthy negotiations last week, players and owners came up with the framework of a CBA that addresses most of their differences.
Areas they've figured out include:
How the more than $9 billion in annual league revenues will be divided, with somewhere from 46.5 to 48.5 percent going to players, depending on how much the total take from TV contracts and other sources rises or falls;
A structure for rookie contracts that will rein in soaring salaries for high first-round draft picks;
Free agency rules that allow most four-year veterans to negotiate with any team;
A cap of about $120 million per team for player salaries in 2011, with about another $20 million per team in benefits.
Each team must spend at least 90 percent of the salary cap in cash each season, a higher figure than in the past.
Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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