Wednesday, February 9, 2011
Updated: February 10, 6:25 AM ET
NFL labor talks occur in Washington
ESPN.com news services
WASHINGTON -- The NFL and players union representatives met for much of the afternoon in Washington to discuss a new collective bargaining agreement.
It was the second session in five days, the previous negotiations taking place in Dallas on Saturday.
Neither side would comment on what was discussed or how fruitful the talks were.
Another round of talks was set for Thursday, but was canceled after Wednesday's session, a league source told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter.
On Sunday, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said Saturday's two-hour meeting with the players' union was "beneficial."
"It's always a positive when both parties are talking," Goodell said.
"My focus is on the next three or four weeks. I've often said, our agreement expires on March 4. We have to use that period of time to reach an agreement that's fair for the players, fair for the clubs, and allows our great game to grow for our fans."
In an interview Sunday with ESPN Radio's "Mike and Mike in the Morning," NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith said it was a "good meeting" but added, "I don't think anyone went into the meeting with the idea that we were going to build Rome in one day."
Smith said the sides have been talking continually and it's probably better that the discussions are not publicized.
Team owners opted out of the CBA in 2008 and the current contract expires March 3. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell heavily emphasized the need to get a deal done soon during his Super Bowl news conference last week.
NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith has said he expects the owners to lock out the players after the CBA expires.
Team owners want a bigger cut of the revenues, which are roughly $9 billion, as well as a rookie wage scale and to increase the regular season by two games to 18, dropping two preseason games.
The players think those two extra games will cause a rise in injuries, although that issue appears more negotiable than giving back any percentage of the revenue pool.
The league estimates there would be a cut in gross revenues of $120 million without a new agreement by early March; $350 million if there's no CBA by August, before the preseason starts; $1 billion if no new contract is in place until September. And if regular-season games are lost, the NFL figures the revenue losses would amount to about $400 million per week.
The NFL has had labor peace since a 1987 players strike that led to three games with replacement players.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.