Goodell emails NFL players

By Kristin Gold - email | bio

Thursday, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell wrote an email to all active current NFL players encouraging them to return to the negotiating table and outlining the league's current proposals.

"The clubs believe that there is only one way to resolve our differences, and that is through good faith collective bargaining in an atmosphere of mutual respect and open communication," the letter states. "We have said publicly, told the federal mediator, and say to you that we are prepared to resume those negotiations at any time."

Goodell outlined the league's current proposals as follows:

--"A salary cap for 2011 that would avoid a negative financial impact on veteran players. We offered to meet the Union at the mid-point between our previous offer and the Union's demand. Under our offer, 2011 salary and benefits would have been set at $141 million per club, and projected cash spending would have been as high or higher than in either 2009 or 2010. By 2014, salary and benefits would have been set at $161 million per club. In other words, player compensation would increase by as much as $20 million per club by 2014;

--"Free agency for players with four or more accrued seasons and reduced draft choice compensation for restricted free agents;

--"Extensive changes in our off-season work requirements that would promote health and safety, encourage players to continue their education, and promote second career opportunities. The off-season program would be reduced by five weeks, OTAs would be reduced from 14 to 10 days, helmets would be prohibited for the first five weeks of workouts, and rules prohibiting 'live' on-field contact would be strictly enforced;

--"Changes in preseason and regular season practices and schedules that would reduce the number of padded practices, reduce the amount of contact, and increase the number of days off for you and other players;

--"Commit to retain the current 16-game regular season format for at least the next two seasons, and further commit not to change to an 18-game regular season without the Union's agreement;

--"Expand injury guarantees for players. The clubs offered to guarantee up to $1 million of a second year of your contract if you are injured and cannot return to play;

--"For the first time, players and families would be able to purchase continuing coverage in the player medical plan after retirement for life, and could use their health savings account benefit to do so;

--"Enhance retirement benefits for pre-1993 players. More than 2,000 former players would have received an immediate increase in their pensions averaging nearly 60 percent, funded entirely by the owners;

--"A new entry-level compensation system that would make more than $300 million per draft class available for veterans' pay and player benefits. The new system would preserve individual negotiations -- not a wage scale -- and would allow players drafted in rounds 2 through 7 to year as much or more than they earn today;

--"Significant changes in disciplinary procedures, including a jointly-appointed neutral arbitrator to hear all drug and steroid appeals."

Talks between the NFL and Players Association broke off last Friday, and the players filed a lawsuit in federal court. Sources say that talks probably won't resume before the preliminary injunction hearing set for April 6th.

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