One of the elements of the changing NFL in an era that no longer includes a salary cap was supplemental revenue sharing, which had the top revenue-producing teams paying into a pool of funds to help support the lowest revenue producers. At the bottom of the stadium revenue list, the Vikings have been one of the beneficiaries of the program. But prior to their preseason game last year, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said the days of the Vikings and other "have not" teams getting an assist from the "have" teams are over.
Not so fast, Jerry. Although the revenue-sharing program is on hold due to the lack of a collective bargaining agreement, it isn't completely dead. A dispute filed by the NFL Players Association as to how the funds would be distributed was rejected by Special Master Stephen Burbank Thursday. Burbank upheld the NFL's implementation of the supplemental revenue-sharing program, which was adopted along with the 2006 amended collective bargaining agreement. Burbank rejected the union claim challenging the NFL's application of the qualifiers used to determine how the supplemental revenue sharing funds have been distributed to NFL teams.
The ruling means that there has been no shortfall in the distribution of the funds, which was one of the union's claims. The revenue sharing program will average approximately $107 million from each of the seasons in which the most recent CBA was in place (2006-09). Considering that the 32 teams are expected to share about $6.5 billion this year, that $107 million is a relatively insignificant amount.
The special master's ruling has helped clear up the revenue-sharing concept for the previous four years, but with no salary cap there will be no revenue sharing this year, which will make things a little tougher for those teams, like the Vikings, that don't have big revenue streams generated by their stadiums. While a new CBA will eventually be hammered out and a new salary cap may well be imposed, don't look for revenue sharing among the big revenue-producing teams and the lower-producing teams to return. It has helped the teams without older stadiums that don't produce the kind of revenue like the Taj Mahal-type stadiums teams like the Cowboys have, but those days appear to be done – both now and for the future.
Tarvaris Jackson is going to sign his original-round tender offer today, according to the Star Tribune. If and when he does, it will leave only Ray Edwards as a Vikings restricted free agent who hasn't signed his tender. Edwards, who like Jackson would have been an unrestricted free agent if not for the expiration of the CBA, has said he doesn't plan to sign his tender soon and will skip the offseason workout program in hopes of getting a new contract finalized. If not, Edwards has said he will explore his free agent options in the future.
As expected, the Lions announced Thursday that they have released offensive lineman Daniel Loper. Rumors out of Detroit say the Vikings might be a team interested in working out Loper.
Hines Ward invoked Brett Favre in discussing his career plans and how he will address retirement. During an interview with the Steelers media about how he will wind down his career when the time comes, Ward said, "I don't want to be like Brett Favre. I don't want to be like Old Yeller, when they take you behind the barn and shoot you."
Supplemental revenue sharing may be on the way out in the NFL, but a special ruling on Thursday resolved a dispute revolving around the distribution in the past.
The NFL's implementation in distributing revenue-sharing funds was upheld on Thursday.