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Lights fading on labor talks as deadline nears
By Adam Schefter
Special to NFL.com
INDIANAPOLIS (Feb. 23, 2006) -- Amidst the buzz surrounding football's top prospects is the buzz kill of what is transpiring in the current labor talks.
Little progress, little hope -- big problem.
NFL Players Association Executive Director Gene Upshaw informed a group of 10 agents on Wednesday -- just as he is scheduled to address all agents Friday morning -- that he currently has no reason to be encouraged.
And then, after his Friday meeting, Upshaw is scheduled to leave Indianapolis, with no new Collective Bargaining Agreement deal in sight. NFL officials, who are no more optimistic than Upshaw, then would also leave Indianapolis, dealing a blow to any of the sides' remaining hopes.
The union has a soft deadline of Friday for a new deal, a hard deadline of next Thursday, before Upshaw insists there will be uncapped year in 2007. And then, potentially, a strike in 2008 -- a scenario nobody wants.
The 10 agents Upshaw spoke with Wednesday were Tony Agnone, Mark Bartelstein, Ralph Cindrich, Ian Greengross, Van McElroy, Paul Sheehy, Fletcher Smith, Jim Steiner, Mike Sullivan, and Angelo Wright. Their tones were far more somber than upbeat.
Meanwhile, each team trying to get under the salary cap or plot its offseason moves is waiting to see whether or not there will be a new CBA. At this point, it looks as if the teams can proceed as if there will not be one, which could be devastating to some.
The teams that will have the most restructuring and slashing to do by next Thursday are the Oakland Raiders ($31 million over the cap, as of Wednesday); the Kansas City Chiefs ($24 million over the cap); the Washington Redskins ($23 million over the cap); the Denver Broncos ($22 million over). And as of Wednesday, before they restructured running back Curtis Martin's contract and released some veterans, the Jets were $25 million over, a figure that is now considerably reduced.
Teams with the most space under the salary cap include the Arizona Cardinals ($23 million), the Minnesota Vikings ($21 million under), the Green Bay Packers ($19 million under), the Cleveland Browns ($18 million under) and the San Diego Chargers ($17 million under).
Teams over the cap this offseason are going to be squeezed without a new CBA. Teams under the cap this offseason are going to have a huge advantage over the other teams. Never will being under the cap mean more than it will this offseason.
Re: Lights fading on labor talks as deadline nears
But what is the incentive to be more than $1 under the cap for 2006. Why save extra money to spend in 2007 when its an uncapped year anyway? I guess the tough part is that if you spend recklessly for the uncapped 2007 and break the bank, what are you going to do when a new cap finally goes back into place, you will really be screwed.
ramming speed to all