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5th Year Of Rookie Contracts Remains Roadblock In CBA Negotiations

As we lurch into a bumpy ride to the finish of this two-year negotiation between NFL Owners and Players, one issue represents the same turf that has been battled over previously — and is being chewed up again — holding up an agreement that both sides have claimed to want for several months.

The bulk of negotiations regarding this issue really come down to the fifth year of the deal for rookies. The Players have wanted — in exchange for reduced numbers on the deal — the length to be four years, as buying out a year of free agency is a big concession to them, but they are agreeable to a fifth year option on these first-round deals, something they resisted for some time.

Here are the two positions: Players: the team would have an option that would make the fifth year a very high level corresponding to top veteran, not rookie, contracts. Owners: they would like more fixed and lower cost to that fifth year with picks 1-8 being optioned at a preset level of roughly $9 million; picks 9-16 would be optioned at preset level of roughly $7 million; and picks 17-32 would be optioned at a preset level equivalent to the average salary at their respective positions.

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