The League

Anthony Stalter
National Blogger

Anthony Stalter

Senior Sports Editor for The Scores Report

NFL remains the real king

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If the NFL has taught us anything over the years, it's that it won't be outdone. So while Chris Johnson, Darrelle Revis, Vincent Jackson and every other player seeking max money on a long-term deal might be jealous of the opportunity LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh are receiving right now in free agency, don't expect the landscape of NFL contracts to change much in the wake of what the NBA is going through now.

I can only imagine how the discussion would go between NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith and commissioner Roger Goodell if Smith tried to compare the NFL to the NBA.

"Do you see what's going on the NBA right now, Roger? LeBron James has multiple teams wooing him with max offers, while Chris Johnson has to holdout just to get a small raise from the Titans. That's not right. Darrelle Revis, Vincent Jackson and Shawne Merriman could be gearing up for the free agent summer of 2011!"

"I'm sorry, but you're going to have to give me more information. What's a NBA?"

"Don't play with me, Roger. Our league could be doing the same thing as the NBA right now, where players can get the max deals that they deserve while teams fight over their services. It would be exciting, just like it is now in the NBA."

"(Laughs) You're adorable, DeMaurice. Can I call you DeMaurice?"

"This is crap, Roger. Something needs to be done and we could take a page out of the NBA's playbook and restructure our salary landscape to match theirs."

"The NBA doesn't have playbooks, silly - that's football!"

"Forget it."

The NFL isn't going to follow anyone's lead - especially the NBA's. Football has swallowed baseball whole in terms of popularity in this country and the more money the league makes, the more arrogant and controlling it becomes. (Ask shop owners in Louisiana who received cease and desist orders earlier this year ordering them to stop selling "Who dat" T-shirts how controlling the NFL has become.)

Let's keep in mind what is currently keeping a new CBA deal from being struck: money. More specifically, the owners want the current players to take an 18% reduction in pay to help cut costs league-wide. But before doing so, the NFLPA wants to see the owners' financial books from last year to see how much they actually made. After all, why would the players take a reduction in pay if the owners stand to make as much money as they have been (if not more)?

That's the crux of the issue and the two sides aren't going to waiver much off that. Other issues like installing a rookie salary cap are also important, but the hiccup remains the 18% paycut. And despite my attempt at humor above in my mock conversation between Smith and Goodell, Smith and the NFLPA don't really care about what the NBA is doing either. The players just want to make as much money as possible without having their salaries cut so that the owners can make more.

I'm one who believes a deal between the NFLPA and the owners will eventually get done. I don't think we'll see a lockout in 2011 because both parties stand to lose too much money if that happens. Players have been able to receive $80-90 million contracts, TV-revenue has reached the billion-dollar mark and some teams have made Forbes.com's annual list of wealthiest franchises.

A new deal will be struck, but it'll be struck on the NFL's terms. You're not going to hear Goodell and Smith talk about how this summer's NBA free agency helped shape the current landscape of the new CBA agreement. The NFL's ego couldn't take it.

By Anthony Stalter  |  July 8, 2010; 12:15 PM ET  | Category:  Collective Bargaining Agreement , Free Agency , NFL , NFL Rules , Roger Goodell Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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