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Super Tuesday, NFL style, about to kick off

Tua Tagovailoa of the Alabama Crimson Tide stands on the sidelines during the final seconds of the first half against the Auburn Tigers at Jordan Hare Stadium on Nov. 30, 2019 in Auburn, Ala. (Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Tua Tagovailoa of the Alabama Crimson Tide stands on the sidelines during the final seconds of the first half against the Auburn Tigers at Jordan Hare Stadium on Nov. 30, 2019 in Auburn, Ala. (Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

INDIANAPOLIS — What a day Tuesday is shaping up to be around here, NFL-wise.

First, the NFL Scouting Combine kicks off in earnest with media availability for all 17 quarterbacks, 55 wide receivers and 20 tight ends. Everyone wants to know the medical status of Alabama QB Tua Tagovailoa’s surgically repaired hip, and whether top QB prospect Joe Burrow of LSU would report to the Cincinnati Bengals if they indeed draft him No. 1 overall in April.

Secondly, dozens of the league’s GMs and head coaches will hold individual, sometimes overlapping, 15-minute podium press conferences for more than six hours. There will be tons of news out of that.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, the NFL’s so-called management council executive committee (or CEC)— composed of eight prominent owners — is scheduled to meet here somewhere Tuesday night with leaders of the NFL Players Association.

Are the two sides really close to agreeing on a new collective bargaining agreement? We ought to have a better idea by early Wednesday morning.

Players on Friday requested this additional face-time with owners, presumably to seek a few more concessions in addition to those presented officially by the NFL to players last week, all as quid pro quos for increasing the regular season eventually from 16 to 17 games.

Owners last Thursday met in New York City and voted to endorse these framework terms for a new CBA, which would guide league activity from 2021-30. The current 10-year CBA is set to expire in March 2021.

Owners want a deal now to maximize their leverage in renegotiating new long-term TV contracts with U.S. carrier networks NBC, CBS, FOX and ESPN.

The NFLPA’s executive committee and board of player representatives spoke Friday on a conference call. While the executive committee voted 6-5 against endorsement, the board of player reps did not take a vote.

There have been conflicting reports since last Wednesday as to what would permit the full dues-paying union membership (about 2,100 players) to vote themselves on proposed terms, the final union determinant; a simple majority is required.

ProFootballTalk.com and the Washington Post reported Monday afternoon — both citing an NFLPA memo to player agents — that only a simple majority of player reps (17 of 32) would be needed to trigger an all-members vote, rather than a two-thirds majority as believed at one point late last week.

Furthermore, both reports said the union’s board of player reps plans to finally conduct a vote late Tuesday evening, following the meeting with the owners’ executive committee.

WHO’S WHO?

I always find it instructive to know which particular owners and players are doing the actual negotiating on these important-sounding committees and councils.

So here you go.

New York Giants co-owner John Mara chairs the CEC, the NFL’s labour-negotiating committee. It also includes owners Robert Kraft (New England Patriots), Jerry Jones (Dallas Cowboys), Clark Hunt (Kansas City Chiefs), Art Rooney II (Pittsburgh Steelers), Mike Brown (Cincinnati Bengals), Dean Spanos (Los Angeles Chargers) and Mark Murphy (president and CEO of the Green Bay Packers).

The NFLPA’s executive player council — under the leadership of executive director DeMaurice Smith — consists of president Eric Winston, treasurer Eric Herzlich and VPs Sam Acho, Lorenzo Alexander, Zak DeOssie, Thomas Morstead, Russell Okung, Richard Sherman, Michael Thomas, Adam Vinatieri and Benjamin Watson.

Individual team player reps, according to the most recently updated list posted at the union’s website, are:

  • Arizona: Corey Peters
  • Atlanta: Josh Harris
  • Baltimore: Ronnie Stanley
  • Buffalo: Patrick DiMarco
  • Carolina: Greg Van Roten
  • Chicago: Chase Daniel
  • Cincinnati: Geno Atkins
  • Cleveland: Jarvis Landry
  • Dallas: Byron Jones
  • Denver: Brand McManus
  • Detroit: Devon Kennard
  • Green Bay: Aaron Rodgers
  • Houston: Brennan Scarlett
  • Indianapolis: Clayton Geathers
  • Jacksonville: Calais Campbell
  • Kansas City: Dustin Colquitt
  • L.A. Chargers: Mike Pouncey
  • L.A. Rams: Todd Gurley
  • Miami: Christian Wilkins
  • Minnesota: Adam Thielen
  • New England: Matt Slater
  • New Orleans: Craig Robertson
  • N.Y. Giants: Nate Solder
  • N.Y. Jets: Quincy Enunwa
  • Oakland: Rodney Hudson
  • Philadelphia: Malcolm Jenkins
  • Pittsburgh: Ramon Foster
  • San Francisco: Richard Sherman
  • Seattle: K.J. Wright
  • Tampa Bay: Ali Marpet
  • Tennessee: Wesley Woodyard
  • Washington: Nick Sundberg

Together, these are the people — plus a small army of well-paid lawyers and financial whizzes, no doubt — involved in CBA negotiations.

RISING MINIMUMS

However and whenever CBA terms are finally hammered into a binding agreement, it appears all but certain that rookies, the lowest-paid veterans and practice-squad players are all about to get huge raises.

According to numerous reports, including Peter King of NBC Sports, the scheduled minimum rookie salary for 2020 is US$510,000. Under proposed new-CBA terms which would kick in for 2020, that minimum salary would jump to US$610,000 this year, to $780,000 in 2021 and to $895,000 in 2022.

King cited an OverTheCap.com report that said 788 NFL players this past season (or about 25 per team) earned less than US$600,000. That’s more than a third of the union membership.

Think many of them will vote down this deal? Not bloody likely.

And as previously reported, the proposed new CBA would increase practice-squad weekly earnings per player from a minimum of US$7,600 this past season (or $129,200 over 17 weeks) to $10,500 (or $178,500).

That’s going to make it even harder for the CFL to woo fence-sitting Canadians or potential American imports from abandoning their NFL dreams.

In comparison, consider that the CFL team salary cap in 2019 was C$5.7 million (US$4.3 million), and the average CFL player salary reportedly just $54,000 (US$40,624).

EXTRA POINTS

Veteran NFL players re-signed by their teams included WR Danny Amendola with Detroit, PK Mason Crosby with Green Bay and backup QB Matt Schaub with Atlanta.

JoKryk@postmedia.com

@JohnKryk

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