News and Notes from the NFL – June 24
While nothing concrete has been decided, both the NFL owners and players offered a glimmer of hope that a deal on a new collective bargaining agreement between the two sides can reach reached within the next few weeks. Both sides finally appear to have the necessary sense of urgency to get this whole mess resolved. If they can iron out a deal by mid-July, there should be little or no disruption to the current schedule in terms of the start of summer training camps and preseason games.
For the first time since late March, when the owners decided to impose a lock-out on its players, actual numbers have surfaced concerning the split of the $9 billion of revenue that the league generates each year. It looks like the players will get a 48 percent piece of the whole pie as opposed to the old deal which gave them 50 percent of the revenue after the owners took the first billion right off the top.
The one change in the proposed new CBA that could have the biggest impact right off the bat are the rules governing free agency. From 2006 to 2009 a player with at least four years in the league was eligible to be an unrestricted free agent. This ballooned to six years in 2010, but is expected to go back to the original four-year time frame under the terms of the new CBA. This would add a number of quality players to the free agent ranks that are already waiting for an agreement in order to find a new home. Some of the more notable names that would be eligible are WR Steve Smith, RB Ahmad Bradshaw, and TE Kevin Boss of the Giants, OT Jermon Bushrod of the Saints, DT Brandon Mebane of the Seahawks, and LB Clint Session of the Colts.
The 100-day long lock-out that is likely to go on for at least a few more weeks will have cost this year’s crop of rookies close to four months of vital preparation for their new career in the NFL. Time will tell how this ends up affecting their ability to make an impact as a rookie, but Bodog.com has still listed odds as to which players will be named this season’s ‘Rookie of the Year’.
Just focusing on offense, Carolina QB Cam Newton and Atlanta WR Julio Jones are the NFL odds on favorite to win this year’s award at 11/2. You would have to go with Jones out of this pairing, as it is hard enough for a rookie quarterback that has had a full offseason to prepare with his coaches to be successful right away, let alone one that is already way behind the curve.
The next favorite is Cincinnati WR A.J. Green 13/2. Once again you have to defer to Jones given that he has already had a chance to work with his quarterback Matt Ryan, while Green has no idea who will be throwing the ball to him this season.
The fourth favorite is New Orleans RB Mark Ingram at 15/2. Paired against Jones, you would have to give the slight nod to Ingram in this matchup. The Saints were ranked 28th in the league last season in rushing as injuries plagued both Pierre Thomas and Reggie Bush for a good part of the year. Chris Ivory was the team’s leading rusher in 2010 with 716 yards, but Ingram has a good chance to emerge from training camp as the lead back come opening day against Green Bay, while Jones will probably start the season as the third receiver behind Roddy White and Michael Jenkins.
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