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Goodell to players: can we talk?

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has gone directly to the players in a bid to jump start negotiations aimed at a new collective bargaining agreement. With the NFL Players Association having decertified last week, Goodell today sent a letter to players and agents outlining the league’s most recent contract proposal, and urging them to prod the union to return to the negotiating table. 

“The clubs believe that there is only one way to resolve our differences, and that is through good faith collective bargaining in an atmosphere of mutual respect and open communication,” Goodell wrote. “We say to you that we are prepared to resume those negotiations at any time.” 

Goodell outlined several points of the latest proposal, including: a salary cap of $141 million per team in 2011; free agency for players with four or more years experience; reduced off-season program requirements; and retaining a 16-game regular season for at least the next two seasons and not expanding to 18 games without the union’s consent. 

“Our goal is to make our league even better than it is today, with the benefits shared by all of us,” Goodell wrote. “I hope you will encourage your Union to return to the bargaining table and conclude a new collective bargaining agreement.”

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