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Union's pitch for capped 2010 shot down

Posted by Albert Breer  February 26, 2010 10:52 AM

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According to multiple sources, the NFLPA made one last pitch to the owners to extend the old rules that the league operated under from 2006-09 into the 2010 season.

That would've meant remaining under a salary cap, making all the fourth- and fifth-year players who are slated to be restricted free agents unrestricted, and keeping the current player benefits system intact.

The owners shot the proposal down on Thursday, making the prospects of the NFL going into the 2010 league year a "near certainty," according to one source.

The players were informed last week that the union was going to make another run at keeping the league under a cap for one more year.

The union's pitch to the owners was twofold.

First, the NFLPA brass questioned why the league players should willingly go into a year of such uncertainty while the game is so prosperous. Second, the union pushed the idea that remaining in the current environment would "take the pressure off" of negotiations on a new CBA, since said uncertainty would be lifted and teams wouldn't be forced to step so softly into 2010.

The owners reiterated their stance that going into the uncapped environment was fine with them, and have moved on from the proposal.

The players and agents were informed by the union that it is estimated the conditions of the uncapped year will save each team around $40 million $10 million -- adding to a league-wide total of more than $1 billion $300 million. (Note: Got a correction on the numbers, which is reflected there.)

A league source said the money that the union was referencing was that sunk into benefits, and that each team simply has the option of removing the benefits. So if a team chooses to continue its benefits program, that $10 million will not be saved.
News, analysis and commentary from Boston.com's staff writers and contributors, including Zuri Berry and Erik Frenz.

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