By the end of business today, we will likely know the viability of “The Atlanta Plan.”
The NFL and NFLPA will have to announce the old “agreement in principle” today.
The NFLPA appears set to re-certify and vote on Wednesday. The NFL then could vote when they have their special league meeting at the Atlanta Airport Gateway Marriott on Thursday.
If the players approve the deal, the league would need 24 of 32 owners to ratify a new collective bargaining agreement and avert its first real work stoppage since 1987. (Locking the players out in the offseason was seen as a favor by some veterans!)
The Associated Press is reporting that executives from all 32 teams would get briefed here on Thursday and Friday on how the terms would affect league business.
During lengthy negotiations last week, players and owners came up with the framework of a CBA that addresses most of their differences.
Areas they’ve figured out include:
— How the more than $9 billion in annual league revenues will be divided, with somewhere from 46.5 to 48.5 percent going to players, depending on how much the total take from TV contracts and other sources rises or falls;
— A structure for rookie contracts that will rein in soaring salaries for high first-round draft picks;
— Free agency rules that allow most four-year veterans to negotiate with any team;
— A cap of about $120 million per team for player salaries in 2011, with about another $20 million per team in benefits.
— Each team must spend at least 90 percent of the salary cap in cash each season, a higher figure than in the past.
Some of the key topics at the Atlanta meeting will include the league’s business calendar, free agency, rookie salary system and rules and regulations for player transactions.
The Falcons are set to handle their 11 free agents, then jump into the free agency market for a defensive end, sign the drafted rookies and then add a group of undrafted rookie free agents.
If this timetable holds, look for the Falcons to hold a rookie minicamp before they call in the veterans later next week.
–D. Orlando Ledbetter, The Atlanta Falcons beat blog