CFL commissioner Mark Cohon (L) and CFLPA president Scott Flory can't agree on a CBA.The CFL and the CFLPA haven't had any further negotiating sessions since collective bargaining talks broke down last week, but the players' association did come out with a new proposal Tuesday (PDF) that narrows the cap ceiling divide for 2014 to just $200,000 ($5.2 million under the union's proposal, $5 million under the league's). At first, that might be seen as a sign that a deal can be struck; across nine teams, that's only a $1.8 million difference even if everyone spent to the cap. The CFL shot down the CFLPA's proposal, though, and has refused to move further from the "best and final offer" they put forward last week, which means lost games are becoming much more of a possibility. That indicates that the league's digging in, but it also suggests that the divide's still about much more than just the cap ceiling.
It's notable that the sides may be much further apart on how much money players actually will receive than the cap ceiling terms suggest, as various benefits, bonuses, pensions and so on are not included under the cap. The league has said their proposal of a $600,000 cap increase per team from 2013 represents an $850,000 increase in total player compensation per team and that the players' previous one (with a $5.8 million cap, a $1.4 million increase from 2013) represented a $2.4 million increase per team. That would mean that the CFL wants to boost non-cap payments to players by $250,000 per team this year, while the players' previous proposal wanted those boosted by $1 million. It's unclear if the CFLPA's latest proposal maintained the same level of non-cap payments as their previous one, but if it did, there would still be still a $750,000 divide per team there as well as the $200,000 one on the cap ceiling, making for a total gap of $950,000 per team. Whether the league's teams could afford to meet the players' demands is a matter of debate (analyses of the top and middle groups of teams suggest they probably could, but at least some of the bottom group might have issues), but even if the players have come down a little on non-cap payments, the divide is still likely wider than just the $200,000 in the cap ceiling.Read More »from CFLPA is closer to the CFL’s proposed cap, but divides remain, and a strike may be next