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Haves vs. Have-Mores Debate Endangers CBA

Haves vs. Have-Mores Debate Endangers CBA

You can reach Rich Tandler by email at WarpathInsiders@comcast.net
There are rumors out there that there has been progress, perhaps even a breakthrough, in negotiations for a new collective bargaining agreement (CBA) between the NFL and the NFL Players Association. However, before the players and owners can agree how to split up the billions of dollars the league will take in, the owners must decide how to split it up among themselves, and that could prove to be a considerably trickier task.

The issue is what some teams call local revenue and others call unshared revenue. Some teams, like the Redskins, Cowboys, and Patriots take in a lot of it. Others like the Bills and Jaguars do not. You can guess which group calls it local and which calls it unshared.

The battle lines are drawn. The higher-revenue owners want to be able to keep what they have in terms of income from luxury seating, stadium naming rights, concessions and parking, the less-wealthy owners want their cut and the players don’t really care how the owners split the money up as long as they get their share of it.

NFL teams currently share ticket revenue with the home team keeping 60% of the gate and the other 40% going into a pool that the 32 teams split up equally. They also divide up the massive pool of TV rights fees; that income alone will bring each team in the neighborhood of $100 million in 2006.

That means that the “little guys” still aren’t doing too badly. With the salary cap at around $95 million, their player salaries are paid for before they sell a single ticket. Most business owners would love to have their payroll covered before opening up business for the year.

Still, the “little guys” are complaining that the high-revenue teams have a competitive advantage over them. This is difficult to understand since the reigning champion Pittsburgh Steelers are among the teams complaining that the big bullies are going after them. Their owner Dan Rooney said last spring (following a 15-1 season):
There's about eight or 10 of the high-revenue clubs that seem to be united in a bloc. They want to keep the disparity. They want to knock us down and have us get up at the count of nine, so they can have another fight and knock us down again.
If what Rooney’s team has been through the last couple of years is getting beaten down for the count, Dan Snyder would sure like to get into the ring and get knocked silly a few times himself.

Even if you buy the argument that higher revenues create a competitive imbalance that in and of itself does not make a case for local revenue sharing. How much is enough to field a competitive team? Are all teams entitled to equal profits? Along those lines, should this money be shared is there any guarantee that the owners who would be net takers from the pool would spend it on their teams rather than sticking it into their pockets?

Snyder, who would be a net giver into such a pool, is among many owners who are paying off debt on their teams. Snyder alone is also paying debt on the stadium his team plays in and improvements to that structure. Those loans were made by financiers on the premise that there would be a certain amount of money generated through the local revenue streams. If those streams are slowed to a trickle by mandated sharing, the bankers will not be happy. A financial crisis could well ensue.

It boils down to this: Ralph Wilson’s team, the Buffalo Bills, play in Ralph Wilson Stadium. Should Snyder, who felt that selling the naming rights to what was Jack Kent Cooke Stadium was the fiscally responsible thing to do, have to write out a check that goes to Wilson, who chooses to forgo that revenue?

It would appear that the higher-revenue teams have the advantage over the mere high revenue teams when it comes to determining what, if anything, will be done. It would take a ¾ majority to enact any new proposal to split revenues. That means it takes only nine votes to prevent a change to the status quo. Reports are that seven teams are adamantly opposed to any changes in the current setup—the Redskins, Cowboys, Eagles, Giants, Jets, Patriots, and Texans. That means that they have to recruit just two more votes from a group that may include teams like the Bears, Seahawks, Bucs, and Chiefs to block any money grab by the Bengals and Jaguars of the NFL world.

Indications are that the higher-revenue teams are willing to share some of the local income, just not in the form of direct payments to the other owners. One possible plan is for the cut of the money to go into a fund that would pay for expenses such as player benefits. The teams like the Bills could then put the money they’re spending on that into other areas such as scouting or coaches if they chose to do so.

The “have-nots” had best take the best deal they can get and soon. If there is not a CBA by the start of the free agency period, the NFLPA could well decide to go ahead and enter 2007 as an uncapped year. That’s a decision that the union could make unilaterally since the current CBA calls for it. If the Rooneys and Wilsons think that they have trouble staying even now, wait until they have to compete for talent in such an environment.

Rich Tandler is the author of The Redskins From A to Z, Volume 1: The Games. This unique book chronicles every game the Redskins played from 1937 through 2001. It is available at www.RedskinsGames.com

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#RedskinsTalk Podcast Episode 40 - Seriously, when will the Redskins pick a coordinator?

#RedskinsTalk Podcast Episode 40 - Seriously, when will the Redskins pick a coordinator?

As the Redskins settle into the offseason without both an offensive and defensive coordinator, JP Finlay and Rich Tandler debate who will get the jobs, and when they will be announced. 

Related: NFL Mock Draft 1.0

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Redskins defensive coordinator resume: Jason Tarver

Redskins defensive coordinator resume: Jason Tarver

The Redskins have interviewed some high-profile candidates for their open defensive coordinator position. When it was reported that they will meet with former Raiders defensive coordinator Jason Tarver, the reaction among the fans was, “Who?”

Let’s take a look at what Tarver’s qualifications are to get the job of running the Redskins’ defense.

Before becoming a coordinator: At the age of 22, Tarver took a coaching job at West Valley College in California, and did that while earning his bachelor’s degree in biochemistry from Santa Clara. After that he was a graduate assistant at UCLA for three years before getting into the NFL in 2001, when the 49ers hired him as a quality control coach. Tarver worked his way up to outside linebackers coach in 2005 and did that job until 2010, when he was let go went Mike Singletary was fired as the head coach. After a year as the defensive coordinator at Stanford, Dennis Allen hired Tarver to run the Raiders defense in 2012.

More Redskins: Early first-round draft possibilities

Note: If you want more complete stats on Tarver’s defenses check out his page on Pro Football Reference. DVOA stats via Football Outsiders. A negative DVOA percentage is better than a positive number. Zero is average.

For players, * designates Pro Bowl selection, + designates first-team All-Pro

2012 Raiders (4-12)

Rankings: Yards 5,672 (18th), points 443 (28th), takeaways 19 (26th), 3rd down 39.1% (20th), DVOA 12.5% 29th
Notable players: DT Richard Seymour, DE Lamarr Houston

It should be noted that Allen had a defensive background so he had a hand in these numbers. This team just wasn’t very good as indicated by the fact that Seymour, at age 33, was one of their best defensive players.

2013 Raiders (4-12)

Rankings: Yards 5,918 (22nd), points 453 (29th), takeaways 22 (21st), 3rd down 43.1% (28th), DVOA 10.3% (26th)
Notable players: S Charles Woodson

They did make an effort to shore up the defense by bringing back Woodson and drafting cornerback D.J. Hayden in the first round. But Hayden only played in eight games and Woodson could only contribute so much at age 37. The pass defense struggled, ranking 29th in DVOA.

Related: Redskins offensive coordinator resume: Matt Cavanaugh

2014 Raiders (3-13)

Rankings: 5,721 (21st), points 452 (32nd), takeaways 14 (30th), 3rd down 38.5% (14th), DVOA 6.3% (26th)
Notable players: LB Khalil Mack, S Woodson

Allen was fired after an 0-4 start and Tony Sparano took over as interim head coach the rest of the way. Sparano has an offensive background so perhaps Tarver is more fully accountable for these results than those in other seasons. They did draft Mack with the fifth overall pick but his impact as a rookie was limited as recorded four sacks. Hayden again missed half of the season and, again, the defense was near the bottom of the NFL.

Stay up to date on the Redskins! Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page www.Facebook.com/RealRedskins and follow him on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.