Inside The Bills

Goodell on his authority as Commissioner

Posted by Chris Brown on June 6, 2016 – 3:41 pm

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell was on hand at the Jim Kelly Celebrity Golf Classic as it celebrated its 30th year and had some clear comments on where he and the league stand on his authoritative capacity as the NFL’s ruling figure on player cases.

When asked about all the court litigation the league has had to handle, most notably with the Tom Brady Deflategate saga, Goodell calmly explained that the CBA spells out the authority granted to the NFL Commissioner.

“The CBA is very clear. The Court of Appeals made that clear,” said Goodell. “It’s what we negotiated in the Collective Bargaining Agreement. That authority of the Commissioner has been granted. It’s been litigated. More independent judges have had an opportunity to look at it. It’s the reality of the world we live in right now. It’s unfortunate, but if we can find a better system… we’ve said that since we structured our CBA. If there’s a better system let’s do it.

“But when it comes to the integrity of the game that’s the responsibility of the Commissioner. We’re not going to hand the integrity of the game off to somebody who doesn’t have any involvement in the league. That’s for somebody who understands what is important and making sure we maintain that and maintain the competitiveness of our game. And the reality is our rules apply to everybody. They apply to every player and every team and that’s something we’re going to work hard to maintain and not hand that off to somebody else.”

When asked about how long the Brady case has taken with appeals made on both sides, Goodell didn’t deny that the length of time it has taken has affected their game.

“I think that there is a system in place. We moved quite quickly last spring. The judge made a determination last August that the Appeals Court has reversed and said was an incorrect judgment,” he said. “They have the rights to appeal. The legal system is deliberate if you want to put it bluntly because it does impact our game. But we don’t encourage that obviously and we’d like to get that resolved and move forward.”

When asked if there is any avenue for settlement talks for Brady, Goodell gave indication that the Brady case is probably beyond that as an option.

“We’ve had all those discussions,” he said. “We’ve had several discussions over the past year. At this stage no, but right now we’re moving forward, but the courts will make their decisions and we’ll move forward on that basis.”

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Time to match an offer sheet is just 5 days

Posted by Chris Brown on March 11, 2015 – 10:43 am

It has been widely reported that a team like the Miami Dolphins, who have exercised the use of the Transition tag with their free agent TE Charles Clay, would have seven days to match any signed offer sheet that Clay might receive on the open market. In examining the current CBA the time period is shorter than that.

According to Article 10, Section 5 of the NFL’s Collective Bargaining Agreement, the Dolphins would have just five days to match any offer sheet that Clay might sign. Here’s the language straight from the CBA below.

Section 5. Right of First Refusal for Transition Players: Any player designated as a Transition Player shall, at the expiration of his prior year Player Contract, be permitted to negotiate a Player Contract with any Club. When the Transition Player negotiates such an offer with a New Club, which the player desires to accept, he shall give to the Prior Club a completed Offer Sheet, signed by the player and the New Club, which shall contain the Principal Terms (as defined in Article 9) of the New Club’s offer. The Prior Club, within five (5) days from the date it receives the Offer Sheet, may exercise or not exercise its Right of First Refusal, which shall have the consequences set forth in Sections 3(b)-(h), 4 and 6 of Article 9 above, except that no Draft Choice Compensation shall be made with respect to such player, and, for the purposes of those provisions, the player and each Club shall otherwise have the same rights and obligations as for a Restricted Free Agent.

The Bills are currently conducting a free agent visit with Clay at One Bills Drive.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Players like new camp rules

Posted by Chris Brown on August 14, 2012 – 10:40 pm

Under the league’s new Collective Bargaining Agreement, two-a-days are a thing of the past at NFL training camps. No more than six straight days of practice are allowed. All of the new restrictions have player coming out of camp feeling a whole lot fresher than they have in the past.

“We love it,” said team player rep George Wilson. “Anybody that was here under the old CBA and go through the days of two-a-days and back-to-back two-a-days knows how valuable those changes have been. For a lot of older players it can allow them to extend their careers. A lot of younger players it keeps them healthy longer at a younger age. So I really think it’s going to benefit the players and the owners because your money makers are going to continue to be healthy.”

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Whitner not against 17 or 18 game season

Posted by Chris Brown on June 2, 2009 – 5:13 pm

Part of talks between the NFL and the Players Association on a CBA extension will eventually get to the subject of expanding the regular season to 17 or 18 games. Bills safety Donte Whitner doesn’t think the longer regular season is a bad thing provided they’re given regular season pay for two more games.

Whitner doesn’t see the claim that there will be more injuries as an issue. His thought is to add another bye week to the schedule.

“If you take two of those preseason games out of there and add another bye week in there for each team, I think it’s okay,” said Whitner. “As long as we get paid the same and get compensated the same (for the two extra games) I don’t really see a difference with it. Injuries are part of the game anyway whether you play 16 games or 18. If you’re going to get injured, you’re going to get injured. If they add another bye week in there it’s okay.”

Whitner indicated that the league is currently leaning toward keeping the player’s regular season pay the same as it is now and just dividing it by 18 instead of 16, and the Buffalo safety said that’s not going to fly.

Expanding the regular season is something however, is lower on the priority scale than most of the more pressing issues concerning a new or extended CBA.

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Huizenga sounds alarm that Wilson did 3 years ago

Posted by Chris Brown on February 12, 2009 – 5:51 pm

Outgoing Dolphins owner Wayne Huizenga had some pretty interesting words for Dolphins reporters earlier this week. While most owners have been silent on any labor issues after opting out of the current labor agreement, Huizenga, now no longer an owner, sounded the alarm on the rapidly escalating player costs.

This quote appeared in NFL Network reporter Adam Schefter’s blog from Huizenga.

“That labor agreement didn’t really turn out the way it should have turned out,” Huizenga told Miami reporters Tuesday, referring to the collective bargaining agreement extension that was struck in 2006 but of which owners already have opted out. “From one year to the next year, our labor cost went up $22 million. Since that time, it’s gone up $6 million to $7 million a year in addition to that, so my big concern with football, which I love, is the player costs.”

As much as I respect Huizenga in taking up for his now former brethren, I can’t help but note that Bills owner Ralph Wilson was sounding the alarm on three years ago when he and Bengals owner Mike Brown were the only ones to vote down the CBA extension.

Maybe the other NFL owners will be more apt to heed the word of Mr. Wilson this time around when labor negotiations ensue.

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Posted in Inside the Bills
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