DALY: NFL’s fiscal house soon to be in better shape than players

Just a few blocks from the NFL’s Park Avenue offices is the National Debt Clock, which keeps tabs on America’s runaway spending. Maybe, in light of the four-month lockout, the league should put up Pulled Hamstring Tote Board, because its players can’t possibly be as ready as they should be for the rigors ahead.

Granted, they gathered for a handful of days in the offseason - at this high school or in that cow pasture - to run through plays and throw the ball around. But left to their own devices, athletes have never been the sternest taskmasters. I don’t know about you, but I’m expecting a training camp filled with tweaks and strains and tears, perhaps an all-time record of them.

It’ll be interesting to see how teams and individuals are affected by the absence of minicamps and OTAs - heck, by the general lack of supervision. We all know how holdouts often perform when, after considerable time away, they rejoin the ranks. They’re rusty, more injury prone and rarely go on to have one of their best seasons. (See Darrelle Revis, the New York Jets’ all-world cornerback, last year.)

Well, we’re dealing with an entire league of players in this situation now (though it wasn’t a situation of their choosing). Let’s not kid ourselves; the first month of the season, in particular, could be ugly - paper-bag-over-your-head ugly.

But enough gloom and doom. All that’s needed, after all, are some signatures, and America’s favorite sport will be back. Just think: For the next decade, you won’t have to hear about antitrust suits and stadium credits, about billionaires haggling with millionaires. You can just concentrate on the good stuff: football.

Other observations about the new collective bargaining agreement and the new NFL world:

• I can’t wait to find out who’s going to give 36-year-old Tiki Barber a chance to make a comeback. I also can’t wait to find out if the former New York Giant still can play. He’s been gone, off in TV land, for five seasons. That’s quite the sabbatical, especially for a running back. FYI: Only two backs in league history have rushed for 500 or more yards at Barber’s age - Marcus Allen with the Kansas City Chiefs in 1996 (830) and John Riggins with the Washington Redskins in ‘85 (677). Of course, they didn’t have the fresh legs Tiki does.

• The 18-game season has been put on hold for the time being, which is great for the players’ self-preservation. But it doesn’t change the fact that we still have four miserable preseason games to suffer through.

• Ten years of labor peace is a boon to the fans. Has any sport ever had a longer CBA? (Answer: Not that I’m aware of.) And as long as revenue growth meets projections, the deal should be good for the players, too. Let’s face it, nobody is going to starve here. The old free agency rules, moreover, have been pretty much restored, granting freedom after three, four or five years, depending on where you were drafted. It’s win-win.

• Maybe the best thing about the CBA is that it reins in rookie salaries, which had gotten ridiculous. Sam Bradford, last year’s No. 1 overall pick, received a six-year, $78 million contract from the St. Louis Rams, $50 million of it guaranteed. The anticipated numbers for Cam Newton, this year’s No. 1, are four years, $22 million (or five and $36.3 million if the Carolina Panthers exercise their option for an additional year) - much saner.

Besides, the bust factor is high for quarterbacks; coaches and general managers will tell you it’s the hardest position to evaluate. So not only has the league been handing these huge deals to fresh-out-of-college QBs, it often has been wasting tens of millions on players who didn’t pan out (e.g. Ryan Leaf, Tim Couch, David Carr, Joey Harrington, Alex Smith, Vince Young, Matt Leinart and JaMarcus Russell). A rookie compensation system will lessen the risk for clubs and leave more money for veterans who have earned the right to be paid well.

• That said, how would you like to be a member of the NFL’s Class of 2011? The union has just agreed to cut your compensation considerably and, because it’s a 10-year labor deal, you’re going to have to play a decade before you can have a say - any say at all - in the CBA you’re playing under. Talk about disenfranchised.

By the way, just 49 of the 246 players from the 2001 draft were still around in 2010, according to my research. That’s how many of this year’s draftees figure to be active when the next CBA is negotiated in 2021 - one in five. It might be the single most bizarre aspect of the new agreement.

• Fewer offseason workouts and less strenuous training camps - no more two-a-days in pads - sound good on paper. But once the season starts, will the result be fewer injuries? That remains to be determined.

And finally …

Story Continues →

View Entire Story

© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

About the Author
Dan Daly

Dan Daly

Dan Daly has been writing about sports for the Washington Times since 1982. He has won numerous national and local awards, appears regularly in NFL Films’ historical features and is the co-author of “The Pro Football Chronicle,” a decade-by-decade history of the game. Follow Dan on Twitter at @dandalyonsports –- or e-mail him at ddaly@washingtontimes.com.

Latest Stories

Latest Blog Entries

Comments
blog comments powered by Disqus
Get Adobe Flash player
You Might Also Like
  • Argentina's Maxi Rodriguez, left, celebrates with goalkeeper Sergio Romero after scoring the decisive goal during the World Cup semifinal soccer match between the Netherlands and Argentina at the Itaquerao Stadium in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Wednesday, July 9, 2014. Argentina beat the Netherlands 4-2 in a penalty shootout to reach the World Cup final. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)

    Argentina beats Dutch in shootout to reach World Cup final

  • Washington Redskins safety Tanard Jackson speaks during a media availability after an NFL football training camp practice at Redskins Park, Friday, Aug. 3, 2012 in Ashburn, Va. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

    Tanard Jackson suspended indefinitely by NFL — again

  • Washington Wizards forward Otto Porter Jr. (22) looks to pass in the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Miami Heat, Monday, April 14, 2014, in Washington. The Wizards won 114-93. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

    Wizards’ Otto Porter, Glen Rice Jr. hoping for big splash on small stage

  • Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III (10) is surrounded by fans that rushed the field and security as he is escorted off the field following their 45-38 win over Oklahoma in an NCAA college football game Saturday, Nov. 19, 2011, in Waco, Texas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

    SNYDER: RG3 worth his weight in bronze to Baylor

  • Baltimore Orioles' Manny Machado (13), celebrates his two-run homer with Adam Jones left, with Nick Markakis, at right, during the 11th inning of an interleague baseball game against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park, Monday, July 7, 2014, in Washington. The Orioles won 8-2, in 11 innings. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

    Accidental rivalry: Nats-Orioles doesn’t have much edge

  • Celebrities In The News
  • (Image from DeAngelo Williams' Facebook post)

    NFL star likely fooled by Marine impostor who accepted first-class plane ticket

  • ** FILE ** In this Oct. 1, 2013, file photo actor George Clooney attends the premiere of "Gravity" at the AMC Lincoln Square Theaters, in New York. George Clooney has chastised a British newspaper over an article claiming his fiancee's mother disapproves of the impending marriage for religious reasons. Clooney said that the claims about his future mother-in-law Baria Alamuddin were untrue and irresponsible. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP, File)

    Website apologizes for Clooney mother-in-law story

  • Kim Kardashian arrives at the NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment 2014 Upfront at the Javits Center on Thursday, May 15, 2014, in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

    Kim Kardashian visits Jersey shore