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Monday, March 7, 2011
BBAO: The Bears' lockout plan

By Kevin Seifert

We're Black and Blue All Over:

NFL owners and players will be back in mediation Monday in an effort to avoid a lockout by Friday's new expiration of the collective bargaining agreement. But in the event of a work stoppage, we already know of one NFC North team that will veer from its original plans for that event.

As we noted last year, the Chicago Bears wrote clauses into the contracts of assistant coaches that called for a 25 percent pay reduction on the day a lockout would begin along with a team option to terminate the contract altogether with a 60-day notice. But according to Neil Hayes of the Chicago Sun-Times, Bears president Ted Phillips said no changes will occur until September at the earliest.

"We're having no layoffs, no furloughs, no pay cuts until we actually miss games," Phillips said.

Meanwhile, Minnesota Vikings coach Leslie Frazier said owner Zygi Wilf recently assured staff members that there would be no employment changes "at this point" if a lockout began. As the original post pointed out, the Vikings have the option of reducing assistant coach salaries by 75 percent 90 days after a lockout starts.

Again, there is some optimism that another week of negotiating could put the NFL and its players on track for a new CBA, preventing a lockout altogether. Stay tuned.

Continuing around the NFC North: