NFL deal looks like win-win for players, owners

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_ paying less money to untested rookies, specifically high-first round draft picks, although that money will be redirected to veterans.

Each side lost a little, too. The owners did not give the players an opt-out clause NFLPA chief DeMaurice Smith sought, and the players retained a 16-game regular season that Commissioner Roger Goodell wanted increased to 18 games.

“We didn’t get everything that either side wanted … but we did arrive at a deal that we think is fair and balanced,” Smith said.

New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft apologized to fans for taking so long to reach a deal but said “the end result is we’ve been able to have an agreement that I think is going to allow this sport to flourish over the next decade.”

There is still more to be done once the union recertifies and the almost 1,900 players vote to approve the new CBA. When that happens, items such as player discipline, drug testing, disability programs and pensions, have to be negotiated.

Cowboys tight end Jason Witten believes the length of the deal indicates a win-win conclusion to the often contentious negotiations.

“That kind of solidifies that both sides felt good about the deal and that it’s a fair deal,” he said.

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AP Pro Football Writers Barry Wilner, Howard Fendrich and Jaime Aron contributed to this report.

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Follow Richard Rosenblatt at http://twitter.com/rosenblattap

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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