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The Door is Still Open

The Door is Still Open

The Door is Still Open

Welcome to the eleventh hour.

The sound you distinctly didn’t hear on Wednesday was that of the door on a new CBA agreement being slammed shut. That’s because the door remains open, if only a crack.

The owners are in New York on meeting Thursday morning. Allegedly, there will be no talk of revenue sharing, although it’s difficult to imagine that the number one issue facing the league, possibly the key to a last-second deal to get a CBA extension done, would not be brought up by somebody. It would be an elephant in the room, no doubt about it.

Revenue sharing is the key to getting a deal done. Last week at the combines, some executives like Rich McKay, the Falcons’ GM, said that they could get around to doing a revenue sharing agreement after a labor deal was done. Apparently, Gene Upshaw didn’t like that concept. When he announced on Tuesday that the talks had broken off, he said:
We're too far apart on our economics and too far apart on revenue sharing -- the ball is in their court. (emphasis added)
There is no parsing of that statement necessary. What he was saying, loud and clear, is, no, there will not be a CBA deal until there is one on revenue sharing. Why not?

It’s simple. A higher salary cap is no good to the union if there are a lot of teams who don’t have the revenue to pay it. If you have a handful of teams willing to pay run a payroll at or near the cap and the majority of the teams near the lower limit you haven’t really put more money into the pockets of the players.

Upshaw will not be around for the meeting; he presumably will be in Washington. But you have to think that if his cell rings and the caller ID is from the 212 area code, he’s likely to take the call. If he likes what he hears he could be on a Gulfstream and be in Manhattan within a couple of hours. Smiles and handshakes could ensue and the dotting and crossing could commence.

There are those who point to the wave of players who were cut on Wednesday and some contract restructures that took place as evidence that there would be no agreement and that teams were breaking the glass and pulling the emergency lever to get under the cap. Those folks have short memories; there are massive cuts every year. These are moves that likely would have been made CBA or no CBA. And we know that, for example, the contract restructure that Washington’s Mark Brunell agreed to was not signed. The team will not pull the trigger on it unless the cap space is needed.

So, here’s the potential scenario for today: Upshaw, after receiving incredible pressure from players and agents who find the free agent environment in the next two years to be completely unacceptable, even with an uncapped ’07, lowers his demands to 58% if total football revenues, a number that the owners have been willing to accept all along. Paul Tagliabue, nearing retirement and not wanting to leave a legacy of labor unrest after so many years of peace, twists enough arms at Thursday’s owners meeting to get the high revenue owners to create a local revenue pool that won’t give the small market guys everything they want, but enough for them to sign off on the deal. The cap goes up to $108 million, free agency is delayed a week to give all the lawyers a chance to finalize the documents and for teams to rethink their plans.

While it all sounds logical, it is not likely to happen. Logic does not seem to the prevailing modus operandi here. It’s more likely we will see the end of the NFL world as we know it.

But deadlines like the one looming at midnight tonight have a way of scaring people smart, so the door is still open that tiny crack.

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Redskins' Doug Williams presents a special jersey to family of Jim Vance

Redskins' Doug Williams presents a special jersey to family of Jim Vance

On July 22, legendary D.C. broadcaster Jim Vance died at the age of 75.

During the first day of training camp on Thursday, Washington Redskins VP of player personnel Doug Williams, presented NBC4 sports reporter Carol Maloney with a gift for Vance's family.


The gesture by the Redskins was one filled with much respect for the award-winning anchor.

Vance was a staple for many D.C. locals, being a full-time anchor since 1972 for NBC4. 

Last summer, Vance revealed he had been diagnosed with cancer but never stopped working. 

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LIVE Redskins training camp practice report: Day 1

LIVE Redskins training camp practice report: Day 1

RICHMOND—The Redskins took the field for their first practice of the season. Jordan Reed is missing as was the usual stifling heat at the Bon Secours training center.It's warm but the humidity is down from the normal late-July sauna here. 

Here are my observations from practice as it unfolds. Come back and refresh often for the latest:

—Jamison Crowder still appears to be the No. 1 punt returner. Also fielding kicks off of the leg of Tress Way were Maurice Harris, Chris Thompson, and Will Blackmon. 

—The Redskins are practicing without pads per collective bargaining rules. A few are wearing shells. 

—New tight end EJ Bibbs just introduced himself to Vernon Davis as they were getting ready for some individual drills. Reminds me of a few year ago when a just acquired player was participating in stretching and they brought his contract out onto the field for him to sign. He wouldn’t have been able to practice otherwise. 

—Kirk Cousins just acknowledged a fan lined up near the sideline. ‘How’s it going, Derrick?” Derrick’s friends were properly impressed. 

—Maurice Harris showed good form in catching a Cousins pass over the middle against no defense. Nothing spectacular but but a good job reaching forward to pull in a pass that was ahead of him. 

—Harris with another nice catch, this time guarded over the middle by Will Blackmon. He is off to a good start in competing for playing time.

—Torian Gray is admonishing his defensive backs to “wake up, wake up.” On one rep he wanted Tevin Homer to “drive to the ball.”

—It looked like Josh Doctson had a step on Bashaud Breeland on a deep pass but the CB recovered and knocked the pass away. 

—A few plays later Doctson got deep again, this time against Quinton Dunbar. This time the CB couldn’t catch up and Doctson hauled in the pass.

—In the early going in 11 on 11, Will Compton and Mason Foster are the inside LBs with the first team and Joey Mbu is at nose tackle. Both situations could change over the course of the next few weeks. 

—Nice cut by Keith Marshall on a run around right end. He planted his foot and cut upfield with some serious burst. He’s a dark horse when it comes to making the roster but I’m keeping an eye on him. 

—Cousins with a dart to Terrelle Pryor along the sideline. A sharp and accurate throw. 

—Rain is approaching but it should hold off until practice is over. Meanwhile, the clouds and breeze are cooling things down. Nobody is complaining.  

—Pryor was assigned to block Josh Norman on a running play. Norman made a business decision not to contest the block and there was light contact as Norman backed down the field.

—Rookie Robert Davis made a solid back-shoulder catch on the sideline. I’m not sure if Colt McCoy intended for the pass to be back shoulder but that was where it went and Davis reached to make the grab. 

—What was that? Nate Sudfeld heaved one downfield to nobody in particular. Kendall Fuller got an easy interception, his second of the day. 

—That is from Richmond for today. Come on back tomorrow, we’ll do it again.