In a letter written to NFL players, former Jets guard Pete Kendall, now a players association official, said the owners' latest proposal is a dramatic reduction in player compensation that is not justified, given the NFL's unprecedented growth and their failure to provide meaningful financial data relating to their expenses.
Kendall is the NFL Players Association's permanent player representative for labor negotiations.
With the league heading for only its second season without a salary cap since the current labor deal started in 1993, Kendall reiterated the union's previous contention that the league is proposing an 18-percent pay cut. The league countered that any reduction would be closer to 9 percent and that the implementation of a rookie wage scale would redistribute more money to established veterans.
Kendall, who retired last year from the Redskins, wrote that a salary cap of $116 million per team under the existing labor deal would be reduced to about $95 million under the league's proposal.
"If the impact of the proposal were to be spread evenly over all player salaries and benefits across the league, each player would have to take a cut of 18 percent in salary and benefits," Kendall wrote.
The NFL responded with a statement saying that owners want a system that will allow the league to grow revenue that eventually will be passed on to the players.
"NFL player compensation has almost doubled in the last decade because of investments made by the clubs," the statement said. "If we continue to invest and grow, current players will have higher compensation, former players will have higher benefits and fans will enjoy a better game."