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Wednesday, March 08, 2006

NFL and Players Union Reach Agreement

And Raiders QB Kerry Collins remains with the Silver and Black. We''ll find out who's going where starting Friday.

NFL.com wire reports

GRAPEVINE, Texas (March 8, 2006) -- Labor peace was restored to the NFL when the owners agreed to the players union's proposal, extending the collective bargaining agreement for six years.

There were no further details on the agreement, or whether it includes expanded revenue sharing.

The vote was 30-2, with Buffalo and Cincinnati, two low-revenue teams, voting against the extension.

Free agency, put off twice by the protracted negotiations between the owners and players, now will start at 12:01 a.m. March 10.

"It was a good compromise," said Jim Irsay, owner of low-revenue Indianapolis. "We're happy with it -- 30-2 is a good vote."

The agreement comes after a week of on-again, off-again negotiations, culminating in a two-day owners meeting.

No agreement wouldn't have meant a work stoppage -- at least not for the next two years -- but it would have sent teams scrambling to get under a $94.5 million salary cap. That would have put a number of veterans on the street and it would've also limited the amount of money available for other free agents. And it would've led to an uncapped year in 2007.

Now the cap is expected to go up by as much as $10 million with an extension of the CBA in place.

The real debate was between the owners themselves on the important issue of expanded revenue sharing.

The revenue debate involves low-income teams such as Buffalo, Cincinnati and Indianapolis who say high-revenue teams -- Dallas, Washington and Philadelphia, for instance -- should contribute proportionately to the player pool because they can earn far more in nonfootball income such as advertising and local radio rights.

Those high-revenue teams might contribute only 10 percent of their outside money compared with 50 percent or more for low-revenue teams.

"Some teams are contributing a little more than others," Redskins owner Dan Synder said. "This is really a win-win."

Gene Upshaw, the executive director of the NFL Players Association, has insisted throughout more than a year of negotiations that the division between owners must be resolved before agreement could be reached on a contract extension.

Houston Texans Sign G Steve Mc Kinney and Plan To Go After Rams Isaac Bruce

This is from the Houston Chronicle's John Mc Clain. It also explains that The Texans will use the same zone blocking system that Denver used.

Here's the article, in case the Chron fails to maintain the link:

Although the start of free agency has been delayed a second time as owners and the NFL Players Association try to extend the collective bargaining agreement, it has not kept the Texans from doing business.

Although the Texans had no problem getting under the $94.5 million salary cap, general manager Charley Casserly will enter free agency with more revenue to spend because of the cap dollars freed up Tuesday by guard Steve McKinney's deal.

McKinney agreed on a four-year extension worth $9 million, including a $2 million bonus. It saves the Texans $2.2 million.

Meanwhile, the Texans are one of many teams interested in former St. Louis receiver Isaac Bruce, who was waived by the Rams when he declined to take a pay cut.

Although the Rams are hoping to re-sign Bruce, 33, he's going to test the market once the NFL allows free agency.

Because Jabar Gaffney and Corey Bradford will be unrestricted free agents, receiver is one of the Texans' priority positions this offseason. Without an extension of the CBA that would increase the salary cap at least another $10 million, it might be a long shot for the Texans to sign Bruce, who was limited to 36 catches for 525 yards and three touchdowns last season.

If the owners, who are meeting in a Dallas suburb, reject the union's latest proposal today, free agency will begin and teams can start bringing in players on Thursday.

Casserly and coach Gary Kubiak will be looking for help at receiver, tight end, defensive end, offensive line and linebacker.

The Texans tore up the last year of the five-year contract McKinney signed when he left Indianapolis for Houston in 2002 and gave him a new four-year deal. He was scheduled to make a base salary of almost $4 million.

"I was happy to do it, and it worked out to where it was fair to both sides," McKinney said. "I'm glad it's over so I can concentrate on football. I'm excited about our new coaches, and I'm fired up to start playing again and helping this team make the playoffs."

McKinney has two new offensive line coaches in Mike Sherman and John Benton. The Texans will play the same zone blocking scheme that Denver has made successful.

"I can't tell you how much it means to a new staff to have a veteran like Steve," coach Gary Kubiak said. "He was very unselfish last season when he moved from center to guard. We watched film of every play last season, and he just played so darn hard on all of them. Steve means a lot to what we hope to accomplish this season."

NFL Considering Union's Revenue Sharing Proposal In Dallas Now

After what was reported by ESPN's John Clayton to be a stirring speech by NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue, the NFL's 32 owners are discussing the revenue sharing proposal presented by NFL PA Exec Director Gene Upshaw. The deadline for a deal is today.

More later.

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