Terms of the NFL Approved CBA Deal & Key Dates
Following are key dates on the revised 2011 League Calendar, contingent upon ratification of the agreement by the players prior to these date
July 23: Voluntary training, conditioning and classroom instruction permitted until first day of clubs' preseason training camps.
July 23: Pre-2011 League Year Period commences. 2011 Free Agency List to be issued and will become effective on the first day of the 2011 League Year (July 27). Clubs/players may begin to renegotiate contracts. Clubs may begin to sign Drafted Rookies and their own UFAs, RFAs, Exclusive Rights Players and Franchise Players.
July 23: Waivers begin for the 2011 League Year.
July 23: Starting at 2:00 PM ET, clubs may negotiate with, but not sign, Undrafted Rookie Free Agents, free agents, and other clubs' UFAs, RFAs, and Franchise Players.
July 24: Starting at 2:00 PM ET, clubs may begin to sign undrafted rookie free agents.
July 27: 2011 League Year commences at 2:00 PM ET, provided NFLPA has ratified CBA. Free Agency Signing Period begins. Clubs may sign free agents and other clubs' Unrestricted Free Agents. Clubs may sign Offer Sheets. Trading period begins. All Clubs must be under the Salary Cap. Top 51 rule applies.
July 27: Expand rosters to 90-man limit.
July 27: Training Camps open for all clubs, provided NFLPA has ratified CBA. Day One activities limited to physicals, meetings, and conditioning. No pads permitted on Day Two or Day Three.
Aug. 9: Deadline for players under contract to report to their clubs to earn an Accrued Season for free agency.
Aug. 11-15: First Preseason Weekend
Aug. 12: Deadline for signing of Offer Sheets by Restricted Free Agents. (17-day period concludes)
Aug. 12: Deadline for June 1 Tender to Unrestricted Free Agents. If the player has not signed a Player Contract with a Club by August 26, he may negotiate or sign a Player Contract from August 26 until the Tuesday following the tenth week of the regular season, at 4:00 PM ET, only with his Prior Club.
Aug. 12: Deadline: if a Drafted Rookie has not signed a Player Contract by this date, he cannot be traded during his initial League Year and may sign a Player Contract only with the drafting Club until the day of the Draft in the next League Year.
Aug. 13-17: Each Club has until five days prior to its second preseason game to provide any tendered but unsigned Exclusive Rights Player or Restricted Free Agent with written notice of the Club's intent to place the player on the Exempt List if the player fails to report at least the day before the Club's second preseason game.
Aug. 16: Deadline for Prior Club to exercise Right of First Refusal to Restricted Free Agents. (Four-day matching period concludes)
Aug. 17: Deadline for June 1 Tender to Restricted Free Agents who have received a Qualifying Offer for a Right of First Refusal Only.
Aug. 18-22: Second Preseason Weekend.
Aug. 25-28: Third Preseason Weekend.
Aug. 26: Signing Period ends for Unrestricted Free Agents who received the June 1 Tender.
Aug. 29: Deadline for June 15 Tender to Restricted Free Agents. If player's Qualifying Offer is greater than 110% of the player's prior year's Paragraph 5 Salary (with all other terms of his prior year contract carried forward unchanged), the Club may withdraw the Qualifying Offer on August 29 and retain its exclusive negotiating rights to the player, so long as the Club immediately tenders the player a one-year Player Contract of at least 110% of his prior year's Paragraph 5 Salary, with all the terms of his prior year's contract carried forward unchanged.
Aug. 30: Clubs reduce rosters from 90 players to 75 players.
Sept. 1-2: Fourth Preseason Weekend.
Sept. 3: Clubs reduce rosters to 53 players.
Sept. 8-12: First Regular-Season Weekend.
Sept. 18-19: Second Regular-Season Weekend.
Sept. 20: Deadline at 4:00 PM ET for any Club that designated a Franchise Player to sign such player to a multi-year contract or extension.
If approved by the players, the new collective bargaining agreement will include the following key terms:
» The fixed term of the agreement covers the 2011 through 2020 seasons and includes the 2021 draft.
PLAYER HEALTH AND SAFETY:
» Immediate implementation of changes to promote player health and safety by:
» Reducing the off-season program by five weeks, reducing OTAs from 14 to 10;
» Limiting on-field practice time and contact;
» Limiting full-contact practices in the preseason and regular season;
» Increasing number of days off for players.
» Opportunity for current players to remain in the player medical plan for life.
» An enhanced injury protection benefit of up to $1 million of a player's salary for the contract year after his injury and up to $500,000 in the second year after his injury.
» No change to the 16-4 season format until at least 2013; any subsequent increase in the number of regular-season games must be made by agreement with the NFL Players Association.
» $50 million per year joint fund for medical research, healthcare programs, and NFL Charities, including NFLPA-related charities.
RETIRED PLAYER BENEFITS:
» Over the next 10 years, additional funding for retiree benefits of between $900 million and $1 billion. The largest single amount, $620 million, will be used for a new "Legacy Fund," which will be devoted to increasing pensions for pre-1993 retirees.
» Other improvements will be made to post-career medical options, the disability plan, the 88 Plan, career transition and degree completion programs, and the Player Care Plan.
DRAFT/FREE AGENCY SYSTEM:
» An annual Draft of seven rounds plus compensatory picks for teams which lose free agents.
» Unrestricted free agency for players after four accrued seasons;
» Restricted free agency for players with three accrued seasons.
» Free agency exceptions (franchise and transition players).
ENTRY LEVEL COMPENSATION SYSTEM:
New entry-level compensation system including the following elements:
» All drafted players sign four-year contracts.
» Undrafted free agents sign three-year contracts.
» Maximum total compensation per draft class.
» Limited contract terms.
» Strong anti-holdout rules.
» Clubs have option to extend the contract of a first-round draftee for a fifth year, based on agreed-upon tender amounts.
» Creation of new fund to redistribute, beginning in 2012, savings from new rookie pay system to current and retired player benefits and a veteran player performance pool.
» Salary cap plus benefits of $142.4 million per club in 2011 ($120.375 million for salary and bonus) and at least that amount in 2012 and 2013.
» Beginning in 2012, salary cap to be set based on a combined share of "all revenue," a new model differentiated by revenue source with no expense reductions. Players will receive 55 percent of national media revenue, 45 percent of NFL Ventures revenue, and 40 percent of local club revenue.
» Beginning in 2012, annual "true up" to reflect revenue increases or decreases versus projections.
» Clubs receive credit for actual stadium investment and up to 1.5 percent of revenue each year.
» Player share must average at least 47 percent for the 10-year term of the agreement.
» League-wide commitment to cash spending of 99 percent of the cap in 2011 and 2012.
» For the 2013-2016 seasons, and again for the 2017-2020 seasons, the clubs collectively will commit to cash spending of at least 95 percent of the cap.
» Each club committed to cash spending of 89 percent of the cap from 2013-2016 and 2017-2020.
» Increases to minimum salaries of 10 percent in Year 1 with continuing increases each year of the agreement.
2011-2012 TRANSITION RULES:
» Special transition rules to protect veteran players in 2011. All teams will have approximately $3.5 million in what would otherwise be performance-based pay available to fund veteran player salaries.
» Each club may "borrow" up to $3 million in cap room from a future year, which may be used to support veteran player costs.
» In 2012, each club may "borrow" up to $1.5 million in cap room from a future year. Both these amounts would be repaid in future years.
» No judicial oversight of the agreement. Neutral arbitrators jointly appointed by the NFL and NFLPA will resolve disputes as appropriate.
» Settlement of all pending litigation.
Owners, players agree on four points that will change game
Owners, players agree on four points that will change game
The majority of what could be the 10-year collective bargaining agreement has been finalized by NFL owners and players. Some loose ends need to be tied up before players vote on if they want to join owners in ratification of a deal, but we do know some points that will be in place.
The financial structure has been set, as have most of the playing rules, length of rookie contracts and salary-cap structure. Some of the finer details -- like the overall financial specifics of the new rookie wage system and elements of potential HGH testing -- have yet to emerge, but they likely will once players ratify a deal.
For now, let's examine some of the parameters in place:
Reduction in offseason workouts and limits on padded practices
The fact that players used to spend the majority of their summers at offseason workouts, minicamps and organized team activities always seemed excessive to me. I've spoken to players who really like the notion of reduced offseason work because it reduces the wear and tear on their bodies. I agree, but here's what I'm waiting to see: Will reduced offseason workouts mean reductions in offseason workout bonuses?
As for the limited contact in training camp and during the season, this also could be good for the preservation of players' bodies and cut back on the number of blows they take to their heads. Though we see the big, one-time blows that lead to concussions, many players -- mainly linemen -- take repeated head shots, so scaling back in that regard shouldn't negatively impact the caliber of on-field play.
Game-day rosters now at 46
Teams no longer must designate their No. 3 quarterback as the "emergency" QB. This might be the best news of the year for running quarterbacks like Vince Young and coaches who can figure out ways to use them in spot situations.
In the past, teams had to designate which quarterback was the backup and stash the No. 3 signal-caller on the inactive list, with the only chance of him playing coming if one of the other two were injured. Now, with both quarterbacks free, coaches can play guessing games. Athletic backups can enter the game to run the ball or for run-pass option situations to confuse defenses. Teams also could use them at other positions (Joe Webb at wide receiver from time to time?). This seemingly subtle change could make for a lot more excitement come game day.
Training-camp rosters of 90 players instead of 80
Coaches' jobs not only will be tougher as they try to figure out if the 10 additional players can stand out, but with limited contact in training camp, some of these players' odds to make the roster will decrease even more.
With two-a-days reduced to one practice of full hitting and another non-padded session, those gung-ho Rudys might not receive much of a look. Teams could use their starters and key backups in the padded sessions, then have them go through the non-padded practices, too, because the lack of contact in those drills diminishes the wear and tear and risk of injury.
Salary-cap exemptions in 2011 and 2012
This is good not only for teams who are up against the $120 million salary cap but also for players set up to be cap casualties.
Teams basically will have a $3.5 million credit this season to help pay veteran players. Teams also can borrow up to $3 million from future salary caps to help pay veterans. That $6.5 million cushion can be used on multiple players.
In 2012, teams can borrow up to $1.5 million against future caps for veteran players. This is the exact type of relief that teams can use to retain veterans for at least one more season, like the New Orleans Saints with safety Darren Sharper.
Follow Steve Wyche on Twitter @wyche89.