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The major economic framework for a 10-year deal was worked out a week ago. That included how the more than $9 billion in annual league revenues will be divided (about 53 percent to owners and 47 percent to players over the next decade; the old CBA resulted in nearly a 50-50 split); a per-club cap of about $120 million for salary and bonuses in 2011 -- and at least that in 2012 and 2013 -- plus about $22 million benefits; a salary system to rein in spending on first-round draft picks; and unrestricted free agency for most players after four seasons.
One item in the document ratified by owners that Smith said caught players by surprise because it hadn't been discussed during negotiations between the league and players: a supplemental revenue-sharing plan for clubs.
Goodell and the owners expressed hope Thursday night that their vote would lead to a speedy resolution to the NFL's first work stoppage since 1987. They called it an equitable deal that improves player safety and allows the sport to prosper even more.
"It is time to get back to football," a weary Goodell said.
Already, one game is sure to be lost: The league called off the Hall of Fame exhibition opener, scheduled for Aug. 7 between the Chicago Bears and St. Louis Rams.
As of Friday evening, the NFL still aimed to start the league year next Wednesday.
But for the time being, the league's labor impasse officially dragged on.
"We were told there's a lockout still in place," Denver Broncos chief of football operations John Elway said after the four-hour session for club executives in Atlanta. "We're still in the same place we were."
Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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