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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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Enemy Intel: Sunday games have playoff implications galore for Redskins

Enemy Intel: Sunday games have playoff implications galore for Redskins

As the Cowboys take their long week off after consecutive Thursday games the Redskins, Giants, Eagles, and other wild card contenders are in action. Here is Tandler’s weekly Redskins-centric spin around the NFL.

—The Giants are on a six-game winning streak and while that’s not easy to do against any level of competition it needs to be pointed out that their slate was squishy-soft with the last five wins coming against teams that currently have losing records. Now things get real with a trip to play the Steelers and a home date against the Cowboys. I’m not really sure how good the Giants are but if they split these two games I’ll be more impressed with them than I am now.

—The 5-6 Eagles travel to play the Bengals, who are just about out of contention for a sixth straight playoff appearance at 3-7-1. In fact, the Eagles might be just about out of it, too. Their big problem is 3-6 conference record, which puts them behind several other wild card contenders in this tiebreaker. It’s important because that is the second tiebreaker behind head to head. It’s better for the Redskins if the Bengals win but it probably won’t matter much. The consensus in Philadelphia seems to be that the Eagles are a rebuilding team that got off to a hot start, kindling some unrealistic hopes and expectations for the rest of 2016.

—The team is the hottest pursuit of the Redskins is the Buccaneers, who travel to San Diego to play a game that starts at the same time as Washington-Arizona. The Chargers are 5-6 but they are buried in last in the tough AFC West. This game is a coin flip. Redskins fans should root for the Chargers. If the Bucs lose, the Redskins would still hold the second wild card at the end of the day even if they should lose to the Cardinals.

—The 5-6 Saints are on the fringes of the wild card picture. They host the Lions, who are leading the NFC North by a game and a half over the Vikings and two games over the Packers. It’s probably best if the Lions win, which would just about eliminate the Saints. Still, there is a scenario where the Lions go into a minor tailspin, lose the division to either the Packers or Vikings but have a good enough record to take the second wild card. So like with most games within the NFC until the dust settles some more, there is some upside and some downside no matter which team wins.

—That scenario where the Lions fade from the division lead become a whole lot less likely if the Texans can go to Green Bay and beat the Packers. This is an interconference game so it’s an easy call to pull for Houston.

—Seattle, with a three-game lead in the NFC West, hosts the Panthers, who are on the outer fringe of the wild card race at 4-7. Another loss likely would ensure that Carolina won’t be able to defend its NFC title. This isn’t a pivotal game but probably better if the Seahawks win to end it for the wounded but potentially dangerous Panthers.

—My one loss last week was the Seahawks giving 5.5 on the road to the Bucs. I won with the Saints over the Rams and the Falcons over the Cardinals. This week I’m giving the Seahawks another go, giving 7 to the Panthers, and I’m taking the Patriots -13.5 against the Rams (the loss of Gronk doesn’t do much to equalize these teams) and the Saints giving 6 to the Lions.

MORE REDSKINS: Betting on the Redskins' playoff chances

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Need to Know: Betting on the Redskins' playoff race outcomes

Need to Know: Betting on the Redskins' playoff race outcomes

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, December 3, one day before the Washington Redskins play the Arizona Cardinals.


Today's schedule: No availability

Days until: Redskins @ Eagles 8; Panthers @ Redskins 16; Redskins @ Bears Christmas Eve 21

Injuries of note:
TE Jordan Reed (shoulder), DE Anthony Lanier (leg)
Questionable: G Brandon Scherff (ankle), OT Ty Nsekhe (ankle), Bashaud Breeland (ankle), LS Nick Sundberg (back)
Final injury report

Redskins vs. Cardinals
FOX, Sunday, 4:25 p.m., Dick Stockton and Chris Spielman
Line: Cardinals -2.5

Resetting the playoff odds

The Redskins start their stretch drive to the playoffs tomorrow. The will play five games in 29 days. After that, they will have either earned the right to keep playing or will they go home.

Let’s get out the imaginary $100 in casino chips and look at the various possibilities of the finish to the season and spread out the chips based on how likely each scenario is. As always, you are welcome to jump into the comments if you agree or disagree.

Win NFC East, $0—This might be worth a buck or two but this place doesn’t have any chips smaller than $5 and it’s not worth investing even that much in the chance of this happening. The scenario would have to be the Redskins winning out, the Cowboys losing out, and the Giants losing at least two more games. I’d put something on the first scenario and a few chips on the last one but no way is Dallas going 0-4. Keeping my chips in my pocket on this one.

Wild card as No. 5 seed, $40—To do this the Redskins would have to stay ahead of the wild card contenders behind them (see next scenario) and make up a game and a half on the Giants. They play New York in Week 17 so the Redskins would have to make up one game between now and then and they could then determine their status on January 1 at FedEx Field. The Giants go to Pittsburgh on Sunday and host Dallas a week after that so we will see how that looks in a couple of weeks. As of now, the No. 6 seed would go to Detroit for the first round of the playoffs while the No. 5 would play the Falcons in Atlanta. That, of course, is subject to change.

Wild card as No. 6 seed, $35—I think getting the five seed is slightly more likely than getting the six since I think the Giants are a mirage. But even if New York keeps it going, the Redskins can clinch a spot by running the table in their last five games. That would make them 11-4-1 and no other wild card contender could catch them. If they win four of five, only the Bucs can catch them and it would take a 5-0 finish for Tampa Bay. Winning three of five still gives them a good shot at getting in although at that point you are also opening the door for the Vikings, Saints, Packers, and Eagles to catch fire and jump ahead of them.

Out of playoffs, $25—I might be putting a little too much here but it’s the NFL and it’s certainly not beyond the realm of possibility that the Redskins could finish 2-3 and miss out altogether. Their margin for error is slim and an injury here and a bad break there could have them on the outside looking in.

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