Union Prevails In Case Affecting Rookie Signings
The NFL Players Association has prevailed over the league in an arbitration case that clears the way for draft picks to sign with their teams.
The union and league were at odds over a set of complex rules governing how guaranteed money in players' contracts would be counted against the salary cap for their teams. The case was heard Friday by Stephen Burbank, the University of Pennsylvania law professor who serves as the NFL's special master, putting him in charge of resolving disputes between the league and union arising from their collective bargaining agreement.
Burbank sided with the union's interpretation. He issued a short ruling Saturday and a more detailed decision Sunday. That allowed rookies drafted in April to resume signing with teams after agents had been advised by union officials to wait for Burbank's decision before completing players' contracts.
"It got a lot of signings done in a short period of time," Richard Berthelsen, the general counsel of the Players Association, said by telephone today.
The ruling had a far greater impact on the contracts of players chosen in the first and second rounds of the draft because of the larger amounts of guaranteed money in their deals.
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