Already, labor strife’s impact

Posted by Darren Urban on June 7, 2010 – 10:36 pm

I know it isn’t a popular topic for many fans, nor one that some want to even acknowledge. But the reality is this: While a possible NFL work stoppage — because of the expired collective bargaining agreement and its official end date at the beginning of the 2011 league year (approximately March 1) — remains months and an entire NFL season away, it’s already impacting the league.

It’s easy to see it in the Cardinals’ backyard. Guard Deuce Lutui, with his four years played in the NFL, would have normally been an unrestricted free agent and a prime candidate for either a contract on the open market or the long-term extension he coveted. But because of the temporary one-year rules because of the expiring CBA, Lutui went from being an unrestricted free agent to restricted. He got no nibbles as an RFA with a second-round tender, and to this date, has resisted signing the Cards’ one-year tender offer of $1.76 million. The Cards could lower his tender next week (June 15) if he doesn’t sign to less than $600,000. Maybe Lutui signs. Maybe he doesn’t. If he doesn’t, the Cards have to consider long and hard if they want to lower the offer to Lutui — whom they still see in their long-range plans. Why? Well, just look at the Chargers, who have warned unsigned RFA T Marcus McNeill and unsigned RFA WR Vincent Jackson they will indeed drop their offers if the two don’t sign by next week. Beat writer Kevin Acee calls it a “potentially toxic stage” in the relationship between players and team, and it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand why. There may be no repairing the potential divide if that happens.

Meanwhile, the union is building up its “war chest” in case of a stoppage even as revenues have gone down. It’s safe to think the owners are doing the same look-ahead kind of process. That’s one of the reasons there are few big extensions being done for players. Another reason are the rule restraints on big salary jumps. Until there is a new CBA, no one knows if there will be a salary cap (although I can’t believe the owners won’t want some sort of cost constraint in place, even if it isn’t a salary cap). No one knows what free agency will look like — the old way, or something different?

No one knows much of anything for the future. So mostly, teams will be cautious, even now. It’s frustrating all around. But it’s a fact of life, even with the 2010 season on deck.

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16 Responses to “Already, labor strife’s impact”

  1. By OLdude on Jun 7, 2010 | Reply

    I can guarantee this…..if the 3rd party in this “love triangle” ever united and actually boycotted the product just ONE time, the two antagonists would shut up and play and cry all the way to the bank. The fan is always the victim in this scenario even though THEY hold the key to the vault!

  2. By Rugbymuffin on Jun 8, 2010 | Reply

    All I have to say is World Cup Rugby 2011 fall!

    I love football, and love the Cardinals. Yet, with the failure to acknowledge that the fans are the ones who drive this game it will be hard to justify a work stoppage because the millionaires, and billionairs can’t agree on how to divide the massive amount of money they share between each other.

    With both sides making money that most “normal people” can live on for a life time, or at least give a head start that no other person recieves, PER YEAR mind you. That is EVERY YEAR.

    As a fan. I could care less about the labor dissagreement, they have known about it for 2 years, so the fact no progress has been made should be an embarrassment for both the players, and the owners.

    As a fan, I say you put the product that we have all paid for and invested in out on the field regardless. The fans don’t ask for money, we ask for simple entettainment, for the gladiators to continue to battle at the collesium.

    So, personally. Any stoppage of play, just one game lost and I am done with the NFL and its greedy ways. If the players, and owner don’t produce what we have paid and invested in as fans, it is a slap in the face. We have all paid into the NFL and some (like me) pay A LOT, with only the expectation for the oppourtunity to relax and watch a game on a fall weekend. It is not too much to ask, it is not too much to organize in my opinion as a simple fan. To take our money, and time, and then to disregard us when fighting over exorbitant amount of profit is a disgust sign of dis-respect, entitlement, and greed.

    So, HOPEFULLY everything works out, and we, the fans, get our 2011 season. As I say I love the NFL, I love the Cardinals, and hope the NFL is as smart as I believe it is and this all becomes a moot point. But if they don’t……….

    World Cup Rugby 2011 ! See a sport where some players still work day jobs, and play at night for :gasp: the love of the game. Cause sport is sport, and maybe if we don’t have to pay $500.00 a year to watch it we will wonder why we ever did in the first place.

  3. By Matto on Jun 8, 2010 | Reply

    Things arent looking good…


    Why is it so difficult to draw up another CBA? I mean, the NFL is huge, surely they wouldnt risk it?

  4. By darrenurban on Jun 8, 2010 | Reply

    Matto —

    Many inside the game have the same viewpoint. And there is still time. But in a nutshell, many owners felt like they were pressured into agreeing to a new deal the last time (2006, I believe) and then, when the economy turned bad, they wanted the deal even less (giving the players some 58 percent of the revenue for the salary cap). Players, of course, don’t want to give anything back and feel the deal is fair (they said they’d continue to play under the current CBA rules). That’s why, if there is a stoppage, it would be a lockout by the owners and not a strike. Can they find common ground? Obviously, I hope so.

  5. By Chris B on Jun 8, 2010 | Reply

    I think they will come to an agreement.
    1) NFL is a billion dollar a year industry. TV ratings are matched by nothing else
    2) EVERYONE loses in a lock out/ work stoppage type scenario.
    3) The players league, or whoever decides the stuff for the players, have to realize they hold little to no leverage over the owners. The owners can go out and find people who will play for less and still have an exciting game. I believe thi happened in the 70’s or 80’s.

    We will have football in 2011. If we don’t, not a single person in the entire NFL wins. No one.

  6. By Jeff Gollin on Jun 8, 2010 | Reply

    If the relationship is “toxic”, it’s because one of the two parties (or both) decided to play “chicken” and they are (as they say) “making their own beds.”

    Without an accurate narrative of “who actually said what to who (if in fact they said anything) during the course of the offseason, it’s impossible for anyone not closely connected with the football club to accurately assess things and hold anybody accountable.

    We fans are left with the sole option of declaring a pox on both the Houses of Bidwill and Lutui.

  7. By bobF on Jun 8, 2010 | Reply

    I agree that an all-out fan boycott would cure this quick. The only thing is to get it started.

  8. By johnnybluenose on Jun 8, 2010 | Reply

    five years ago the national hockey league shut down for an entire year until the players caved and accepted a salary cap. unemployed team employees, bar owners, gamblers and some fans were upset. interestingly, the players and owners didn’t seem to care very much. people learned to live without nhl hockey rather easily and i expect most people will cope quite well when there is no nfl football in 2011. that is something that nfl players and owners might want to keep in mind.

  9. By AndyStandsUp on Jun 8, 2010 | Reply

    NFL player head Kevin Mawae stated that both sides are playing “chicken” and nothing, if anything, will probably be resolved “until the last minute.” What a croc, to be posturing with that attitude.
    Darren, with the uncertainity of next season, I’m assuming Dockett won’t get his extension this year. More than likely?

  10. By swede1 on Jun 8, 2010 | Reply

    The NHL lockout was different in many aspects. Many of the players returned to their native countries and played competitively throughout the season (in many cases making a significant chunk of $$). Also, the NHL never produced nearly as much TV revenue as other major sports. In either case, the NHL is still suffering from the hangover from the lockout with revenues only picking up in the last season. There were alot of angry fans out there when the lockout happened, and I envision the same happening if the NFL should a season be cancelled. I love the Cardinals and I love the game, but if this happens, I will cancel my season tix forever, and turn my attention elsewhere.

  11. By card62 on Jun 8, 2010 | Reply

    You would think the owners would want to resolve this as quickly as possible so that they could do deals with their existing players and build upon the future. Hopefully the owners can make plenty of money with players salaries accounting for 55 to 60% of their expenses, Hopefully the players can live with their current rate of pay. Hopefully it will be settled.
    I did not watch replacement games before so I doubt I would watch them in the future. I love watching pro football, but fortunately I also love watching college football and some high school football so hopefully we will all survive 2011 no matter what happens and hopefully the players and owners know that we will survive without them. Go Cards as I am looking forward to 2010 Pro Football.

  12. By beauchamp on Jun 8, 2010 | Reply

    Free agency is ridiculous and rather than increase the pay for these players for playing a game give them better retirement benefits. To say there are few ppl who can do that is a point but there were only a few rangers who made it through all of our training. I understand entertainment always draws huge sums of money cause its a luxury and luxury is about $! However the fans are victims of this and freeagency is b.s. Antrel rolle and karlos dansby do not deserve the $ they got. Its all part of a flawed system. When the lockout happens i’ll go watch semipro and highschool, college and maybe for once get work done on sunday!

  13. By AndyStandsUp on Jun 8, 2010 | Reply

    Who is the Card’s player union rep? I know it was Hodel before being released.
    Is it Feely? like what he had to say about SB 1070.

  14. By darrenurban on Jun 8, 2010 | Reply

    AndyStands —

    I’d have to check into that. I don’t think it is Feely.

  15. By blake on Jun 8, 2010 | Reply

    Hockey is that still a sport ? Not in my house as i have not watched a game since the lockout and i NEVER will , its funny you always hear people say, oh we should just boycott well most people that watch sports are ALL TALK just look at these news and sport forums mostly just a bunch of nonsense that doesn’t mean squat hopefully the NFL and all will come to their senses before a lock out but i kind of doubt it as greed is rampart our whole society.

  16. By Justin on Jun 8, 2010 | Reply

    should there be a lockout…the cardinals will have two less season ticket holders from down here in tucson. It’s hard to imagine how these players and owners think this will be good for business. I work in public safety and we have forgone any type of payraise for three straight years because we knew it was for the good of the community we serve. If there is a lockout next season it looks like I may get a payraise in the form of $3000 less dollars spent on season tix and beer and food at the stadium I also helped pay for with my tax dollars

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