The owners unanimously voted to opt out of the NFL Collective Bargaining Agreement that gives 59 percent of the total football revenues to the players. This wasn’t unexpected, as the rookie salaries have gotten out of hand. I also believe the owners want to ensure that they have more options when players do things off the field that limit their availability to the team. With the Vick fiasco and Goodell coming down hard on the players, the owners are looking for assurances that they are not on the hook when players mess up.
I believe that there will not be a lockout, as the union isn’t as strong as it once was, and there are several teams in debt that cannot afford to miss out on TV/gameday revenues. I would expect that they will do away with the franchise tag in exchange for a rookie pay scale, similar to the NBA’s with new rules governing signing bonuses for players that get into legal problems or are otherwise unable to play(as with the tragic Sean Taylor killing). I don’t see the 59% moving up or down, just distributed more heavily to veterans.
I guess I am the eternal optimist, but I don’t see this ending badly for the fans, and there are some easy ways to make this a win-win for the current players and owners.