Negotiations have broken down between the NFLPA and ownership with reported differences of opinion on how much rookies should be paid in the event of a wage scale as well as the basic matter of who gets what with regard to the revenue split.
The last time things were this contentious, a strike was averted in March of 2006 in part because Al Davis took a leading role along with commissioner Paul Tagliabue and executive director Gene Upshaw. When the deal was consummated, both Tagliabue and Upshaw publicly credited Davis for helping to avert a work stoppage.
Two years later, the owners elected to opt out of the agreement _ something either side could have done. The vote was unanimous, meaning even Davis voted to opt out of the agreement he helped put together.
At the Jan. 18 press conference announcing the hiring of Hue Jackson, Davis was willing to give his opinion on almost everything except the possibility of a work stoppage.
“I just would like to stay out of it at this time,” Davis said. “We have a management council that’s working on it, the commissioner is heading it up with (NFL executive vice president) Jeffrey Pash and we’ll see where we get. No one has asked me to come forward.”
Thirty-owners voted for the last agreement, with Cincinnati and Buffalo abstaining.
Davis has always been considered a player’s owner, and it’s conceivable his fellow owners feel he would be willing to give too much away. He conceded his voice may not be what it once was, especially with Upshaw having passed away five months after the agreement.
“I don’t have Gene Upshaw, he’s my captain for 15 years and I drafted him No. 1 when everyone said we were crazy,” Davis said.
Besides determining the split between players and owners, the division of money with regard to profit sharing is huge for the Raiders, as is a provision which would set aside money to assist in the building of new stadiums.
In previous years, when I’ve asked Davis about the team’s ability to compete relative to its comparatively meager revenue stream, he flatly rejected any suggestion that it had an effect. His tone changed this year.
“The last few years, we don’t have the resources that other teams have,” Davis said. “I think we have shown we can compete, but it’s a question of winning and what happens with the collective bargaining agreement”
Davis reaffirmed his belief that the current site, is best for a new stadium, applied my estimate of 22,000 season ticket holders and said, `if they can’t get it done, you’re going to have to use other avenues . . . if we’re going to compete, we’re going to need a new stadium and we’re going to fight to get one. We want the fans out there, you’ve got to support us, you’ve got to help us. Someone said 22,000 fans. We’re at the low end and we’ve got to do better. That’s just the facts.”
FRANCHISE PERIOD UNDERWAY
Teams can begin designating franchise players today, and according to story rounding up likely candidates by the NFL Network’s Jason LaCanfora, the league sources said Zach Miller would likely be tagged by the Raiders.
Miller is worth keeping around, given his status as the club’s leading receiver in each of the last four years and status as a Pro Bowler, but to do that would mean leaving Richard Seymour free to go in the absence of a long-term contract.
Seymour was franchised last season at approximately $12.4 million and would receive a 20 percent increase if franchised again, or just under $15 million. Given the way Davis and Hue Jackson have talked up Seymour this offseason, and the fact that Oakland shipped its first-round draft pick this April (No. 17 overall) to New England to get him, I still think Seymour is more likely to receive the franchise tag.
It’s worth noting the NFLPA is questioning whether the league can even franchise players in the event of a lockout, and that any player who is franchised could be susceptible to an entirely different set of rules once a CBA is reached.