The NFL's labor negotiations resumed Tuesday with little optimism that a settlement can be reached to avert open confrontation between owners and players when their collective bargaining agreement expires Friday.
Federal mediator George Cohen, attempting to avoid a showdown, brought together NFL and players’ union negotiators in Washington, D.C., for more talks. If he fails, players could be locked out by franchise owners.
Meanwhile, the NFL Players Association gained a victory Tuesday when a federal judge ruled in its favor in a complaint over the owners’ $4 billion in annual television revenue. The players contend that the money, which would continue flowing to owners during a work stoppage, amounts to a lockout fund.
U.S. District Judge David Doty wrote that he would hold a hearing to consider damages and other remedies. The union has asked that the money be withheld from owners if players are locked out.
Never miss a local story.
The central issue in the dispute is how owners and players should share the sport’s approximately $9 billion in annual revenue under a salary cap system. The owners also want to install a rookie wage scale and extend the regular season to 18 games.
Sources throughout the sport said they didn’t believe a settlement was within reach. Mediation will resume today. As he left the meeting Tuesday, Seattle Seahawks offensive lineman Chester Pitts said he was “cautiously optimistic” a settlement could be reached. “It’s two groups doing business,” Pitts said. “The tone, none of that matters.”
New York Giants co-owner John Mara was the first owner to participate in the mediated negotiations.
The Jets placed a first- and third-round tender on cornerback Antonio Cromartie and wide receiver Santonio Holmes, and linebacker David Harris signed his franchise tender. ... The Redskins released out-of-position linebacker Andre Carter and high-priced backup guard Derrick Dockery. ... Buffalo safety George Wilson signed a three-year contract extension. ... Dallas offered left tackle Doug Free the highest contract tender offer, worth about $3.5 million. Defensive ends Stephen Bowen and Jason Hatcher received tenders worth about $1.9 million. .... Defensive lineman Marcus Stroud signed a two-year deal with the Patriots, according to ESPN.com. ... Donovin Darius, released by Buffalo last month, signed a one-day contract with the Jacksonville Jaguars so he can retire with his former team.