Archive for March, 2010

Nearly $600 million to players in performance-based pay from 2002-09; Performance-based benefit out in 2010

NFL players have been paid nearly $600 million during the eight seasons of the “Performance-Based Pay” program, which was created as part of the NFL’s 2002 Collective Bargaining Agreement extension with the NFL Players Association.  

The program created a fund that was used as a supplemental form of player compensation based on a comparison of playing time to salary.  As agreed to by the union in the most recent CBA extension in 2006, the fund is only paid in League Years in which a Salary Cap exists.  Because 2009 was the last year under a Salary Cap system, Performance-Based Pay will not continue in the 2010 League Year, the final League Year of the current CBA.

Safety Erik Coleman (right) topped all players in performance-based pay since the program was instituted, earning a combined $837,654. Coleman played for the New York Jets from 2004-07 and for the Atlanta Falcons the past two seasons.  He is one of 24 players who have earned at least $650,000 in performance-based pay in their careers (list below).

Minnesota Vikings center John Sullivan, a 2008 sixth-round draft selection from Notre Dame, earned a league-high $397,555 in additional pay for the 2009 season. 

Approximately $109.5 million of Performance-Based Pay was distributed to players for their performance during the 2009 season.

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Commissioner Goodell answers questions on labor

Commissioner Roger Goodell

As the NFL Annual Meeting kicked off in Orlando, Commissioner Roger Goodell answered questions today at a press conference.  Following are the Commissioner’s answers to labor-related questions.

Where do things stand with CBA? Have there been recent talks?

“There haven’t been any discussions for several weeks. We had a lot of discussions, as you know, leading up to the new [league] year [which began on March 5].”

What will it take to restart meetings between NFL and NFLPA?

“Part of it is just logistics. They had their meetings in Hawaii last week and we are having our meeting in Orlando this week. In the next week or so the two sides will talk and my guess is it will be setting up some meetings shortly.”

On the chances of playing football in 2011:

“The best thing I can say is we are still at a very early stage. Let’s allow the collective bargaining process to continue.  We are in the first quarter here. We are in an uncapped system now and we’ll continue to negotiate. Hopefully we’ll all be able to figure out the right way to structure something so it works for everybody and we can reach a fair agreement for the players and the game.”

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NFL announces 32 compensatory draft choices

A total of 32 compensatory choices in the 2010 NFL Draft have been awarded to 19 teams, the NFL announced today.

Under terms of the NFL Collective Bargaining Agreement, a team losing more or better compensatory free agents than it acquires in the previous year is eligible to receive compensatory draft picks.

The number of picks a team receives equals the net loss of compensatory free agents up to a maximum of four.  The 32 compensatory choices announced today will supplement the 223 choices in the seven rounds of the 2010 NFL Draft (April 22-24).  This year, the compensatory picks will be positioned within the third through seventh rounds based on the value of the compensatory free agents lost.

Compensatory free agents are determined by a formula based on salary, playing time and postseason honors.  The formula was developed by the NFL Management Council.  Not every free agent lost or signed by a club is covered by this formula. 

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Patriots’ owner Robert Kraft: “United ownership” focused on “allowing league to grow for players and fans”

Looking ahead to this week’s Annual Meeting in Orlando, Patriots chairman & CEO Robert Kraft (left) spoke with Boston Globe NFL writer Albert Breer.

“The most important thing about this league meeting that’s different than other years is that we continue to have a very united ownership,” said Kraft, one of 10 owners/team presidents on the league’s Management Council Executive Committee which is responsible for labor negotiations. “This is my 17th season, and I’ve never seen ownership as united on any issue as we are on this [labor] issue. We have a great sport, and we have to be smart enough to allow the league to grow for the players and the fans.

“Everyone understands we have something special,’’ Kraft continued. “We’ve got to get it right, so it works long-term. And it’s amazing now, the small-market teams, the big-market teams, the middle range, there’s a consistency in thought. I’ve never seen that kind of unity. That’s good for the game. We’re not together for confrontation. We want what’s best for the NFL.’’

For the complete story, click here.

LB London Fletcher on board with Redskins’ free agency strategy

Veteran Washington linebacker London Fletcher (right), heading into his 13th NFL season, agrees with the free agency decisions made by new Redskins coach Mike Shanahan and general manager Bruce Allen.

“It’s been proven that you can’t buy a football team – a winning football team – that just doesn’t work,” Fletcher, who has started all 48 games in his three seasons with the Redskins, told Jason Reid of the Washington Post. “You build your team through the draft, you find quality guys and you retain your key free agents that you can. And if you do go out and get some free agents, choose wisely in the free agents that you do pick. I can’t remember a time where a team went out and bought a Super Bowl.”

For the complete story, click here. “Bidding war” & “stunning” contract for RFA QB Charlie Whitehurst

In his latest column, NFL writer Don Banks examines the recent trade of restricted free agent quarterback Charlie Whitehurst (left) from San Diego to Seattle.

“Four years into his NFL career, he’s still waiting to throw his first regular-season pass,” writes Banks. “But that didn’t stop the Seahawks and Cardinals from getting into a bidding war of sorts over him, a war Seattle wound up winning by swapping second-round picks with San Diego (the Bolts make an eye-opening jump from the 60th overall pick to the 40th) and sending the Chargers a third-rounder in 2011.”

Adds Banks on Whitehurst’s new contract, “The Seahawks then capped off the stunning turn of events by reportedly awarding the unproven ex-Clemson product a two-year, $8 million contract that includes another $2 million of incentives. That’s a ton to give up for a 27-year-old QB who hasn’t started or won a game since 2005.”

For the complete story, click here.

NFL Network’s LaCanfora analyzes free agent activity

In reviewing the first two weeks of free agency, Jason LaCanfora writes on under the header, “Best offseason moves were not the biggest headlines.”

According to LaCanfora, San Diego and Green Bay were among the most productive teams.

“General manager A.J. Smith benefits from the uncapped year and is able to retain the rights to five players who would have been unrestricted free agents, and gets to keep all of them cheaply with a first- and third-round tender to keep other teams largely away,” LaCanfora writes of Chargers RFAs Malcom Floyd (right), Vincent Jackson, Marcus McNeill, Shawne Merriman and Darren Sproles.

He writes of the Packers,  “For them to retain both veteran offensive tackles — Chad Clifton [UFA] and Mark Tauscher [UFA] — and then get all-underrated nose tackle Ryan Pickett [franchise player] and safety Nick Collins [RFA] signed to nice extensions was big. In a free-agent class like this, keeping your own best players — guys who know your system, coaches and locker room, and provide a great fit — is the way to go.”

To track all the signings on’s “Free Agency Tracker,” click here.

KC Star: “Chiefs offseason moves impressive”

“Chiefs general manager Scott Pioli and head coach Todd Haley are having a very good offseason,” writes Jason Whitlock in today’s Kansas City Star.

Whitlock specifically cites the signings of three veteran free agents – running back Thomas Jones (New York Jets, left), guard Ryan Lilja (Indianapolis), and center Casey Wiegmann (Denver).

“They’re doing this offseason what I expected,” Whitlock concludes. “They’re building a competitive football team. Good for them and us.”

For the complete story, click here.

Ask – No special rules for UFA movement between “Final Four” teams

UFA Gary Brackett re-signed with Colts

Following is the answer to a recent question in the mailbag. To submit a question, send an email to

Are “Final Four” teams that have not lost an Unrestricted Free Agent permitted to sign Unrestricted Free Agents from other “Final Four” clubs?

No. The “Final Four” rules specify only the number of Unrestricted Free Agents a team can sign, not what team they come from.  “Final Four” clubs can sign UFAs only if they first lose UFAs. For example, the AFC champion Colts can sign the same number of unrestricted free agents as the number of their own unrestricted free agents who first sign with other clubs.

On a related note, signings – with new clubs and original teams combined – of Unrestricted Free Agents with at least six accrued seasons are at their highest point in the five years since the current CBA extension in 2006 (chart below).

UFAs with 6+ Accrued Seasons Signed, First 12 Days of Free Agency

2010 – 64
2009 – 51
2008 – 44
2007 – 55
2006 – 50

Bucs LB Ruud a “frustrated” RFA heading into offseason workouts

Tampa Bay linebacker Barrett Ruud (left) and Denver quarterback Kyle Orton  – restricted free agents with five accrued seasons — will take part in their respective clubs’ voluntary offseason workouts this week.

“I’m not the only one going through this restricted label right now,” Ruud said in the Tampa Tribune. “It’s frustrating, but it’s something I knew was going to happen.”

Orton, who started 15 games for the Broncos last year, is the only one of five restricted free agents expected to participate in the club’s OTAs, according to the Denver Post.  The other Broncos RFAs are linebacker Elvis Dumervil, guard Chris Kuper, wide receiver Brandon Marshall and tight end Tony Scheffler.

“It’s an unfortunate situation that people have to handle individually. It’s a personal decision,” Orton told the Post.

“I see it as the clubs are using the rules in place to put the tenders on these guys,” added Orton. “It’s also in the rules that players don’t have to show up for offseason workouts. I certainly support the other four guys 100 percent for not showing up. I also feel that as a quarterback, I owe it to my teammates to be there.”

For the complete Tampa Tribune story, click here.

For the complete Denver Post story, click here.