So I'm not sure if you guys heard or not, but the NFL lockout is finally over. So now that they waited until the last possible moment and there have been probably 2,000 stories written about the fact that yes, pro football is back. Other then celebrating the fact that we will have football on Sundays, this blog is really me deciding the five things are the most important coming out of this massive mess. So, what made the cut?
First things first, the most important thing of all in my opinion is this. The players and owners agreed to a 10 year CBA with no option to opt out of the deal. Again, let me repeat, no opt out option. So for the next ten years we aren't going to have to worry anymore about what everyone just went through and for at least another 7 or 8 years we won't even have to worry about hearing people on ESPN or wherever else you get your sports news talking about a potential lockout coming. Nothing but games from this point on for a while.
One of the few things that both owners and players agreed upon (though the players would never admit it publicly and lose that leverage) was that rookie contracts were out of control. For proof, just look at last year's #1 pick. Sam Bradford proved during his rookie season that he is going to be a great quaterback in this league most likely, but before ever taking a snap he signed a contract that guaranteed $50 million dollars. That was a problem but in the new CBA there is going to be a slotting system and 4 year contracts for 1st round picks with a 5th year option that would be the sum of the top 10 players salaries at that position.
So where is that money going to go that the teams are saving? Well some of it will certainly go to the more veteran players getting their second or third contracts, but a lot of the money will be going into something called the “Legacy Fund” that is going to help former players in life after football. I'm sure there are plenty of critics out there already but this fund is a good start. Players will have lifetime health insurance as well as increased pensions and as we learn more about the human brain it's important to take care of the former players to avoid another Dave Duerson tragedy.
The fourth thing (and last that is actually in the CBA) is that the franchise tag is staying around and it isn't limited to a one-time use on a player. While it might not seem like a big deal, it gives teams a lot of control over impending free agents. In theory, a team could draft a guy at a good slotted salary then pick up the option for the 5th year and then franchise tag him for the next three and controlling that player for 8 years. Assuming that is how it is going to work, (the option year might count as a franchise tag instead of just an option) it gives the owners some leverage on guaranteed money handed out. The player would still be getting four years of top 10 money so it isn't as if he'll be hurting for cash, but that big guaranteed check that comes with a big free agency signing might elude them.
The last point I had isn't something that is actually written; it's just my opinion. I've said many times that I was never around for any other lockouts but the ones in the past seemed to favor the owners much more then the players. I think that with technology being what it is today and social media having taken off, the fans and media are much more likely to side with the players then the owners. While it was an easy picture to paint that the owners were being greedy, it was also true and backed up repeatedly over and over. Back when all there were was newspapers there would probably just be a story about it in the paper and a mention on the news but today anyone can dig as deep as they want and share what they find. It'll be interesting to see if the NBA players can find a way to get the public on their side the way the NFL players did.
And there you have it, the five biggest bullet points we can get from this lockout, at least from my perspective. So now that I've written something on the NFL lockout being over like everyone else, I leave it to you. If you guys think something else deserved to be up here feel free to let me know.