Thursday, Feb. 17, 20111:45 p.m.
By John Mullin
Untying the Gordian knot of the NFLs collective bargaining agreement has been and will continue to be difficult. A proposed solution from Mike Florio at ProFootballTalk.com might offer at least a new tack to take in the direction that the NFL players want to go but without sacrificing core confidentiality that owners require.
Mikes idea on the disclosure of financial information, using an independent accounting firm acting in strict confidence, is along a line that should work for the owners, if they indeed want to reach an agreement with a group comprised of their de facto business partners.
The league in the past has used what was called an independent verifier for contract proposals. Team negotiators and agents could verify the accuracy of claims that a particular contract proposal had been put forward. Players are saying that they will work with the numbers proposed by ownership but would like books opened as a way of verifying the level of need the owners are claiming.
Applying that sort of mechanism here might clear one big hurdle in a mess that seems to have shrinking chances of clearing up as time goes along.
NFL Networks Rich Eisen visited with Dan Patrick on The Dan Patrick Show and tossed around with Dan an overhaul that would expand the number of regular-season games as well as playoff teams. The net would be an increase of meaningful (i.e. not preseason) television weeks from 21 now (17 regular season, three conference playoffs, Super Bowl) to 23.
Sold, Rich said. Good thought.
The Green Bay Packers are finishing up the details of a three-year contract extension for coach Mike McCarthy, a deal that expected to pay McCarthy 5 million per season and likely to cap the pay grade for Lovie Smith.
Bob McGinn reports in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinal that McCarthys current contract runs through 2012 and the new deal signs him through 2015.
There are coaches with bigger paychecks but not many, and as we have been noting for some time, the market is dipping for head-coach salaries as teams follow the course the Pittsburgh Steelers did with Mike Tomlin with great success. First-time coaches at more modest prices have been as or more successful than bigger-ticket field bosses like Mike Shanahan.
The Washington Redskins needed to wave 7 million in front of Shanahan but he listed two Super Bowl wins on his resume. The San Francisco 49ers did give first-timer Jim Harbaugh 5 million per season but insiders said ownership effectively told the front office that Harbaugh was the pick, leaving little room for negotiation.
The expectation remains that the Bears will at least offer Smith an extension at his current rate of about 5 million. Two additional years in this market should be good enough for Smith, who did not win his Super Bowl, whereas McCarthy did.
McCarthys new contract will place him in the top 10 of NFL coach salaries. Smith already is there.
ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay is of the mind that the successes of mobile quarterbacks like Aaron Rodgers and Ben Roethlisberger, on top of a solid, sustained career run by Donovan McNabb (add 2010s Jay Cutler to that discussion), will weigh heavily in favor of Auburns Cam Newton. The more of these mobile quarterbacks that succeed in the NFL, McShay said Wednesday, the more teams will be willing to look outside the usual parameters."
Bears tight end Brandon Manumaleuna will undergo arthroscopic surgery on his right knee this offseason, the Chicago Tribune reports. Manumaleuna had a similar procedure last offseason and missed considerable training camp time. Sources told CSNChicago.com that Manumaleuna was regularly fined for being overweight during last season and it may be interesting to see if he downsizes to add quickness as well as take stress off his knees.
John "Moon" Mullin is CSNChicago.com's Bears Insider, and appears regularly on Bears Postgame Live and Chicago Tribune Live. Follow Moon on Twitter for up-to-the-minute Bears information.