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Peter King on M&M: ‘They’re going to get deal done’

06.23.11 at 1:52 pm ET
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Peter King

Sports Illustated football writer Peter King called into the Mut & Merloni show Thursday afternoon about the ongoing NFL lockout while the negototiations between the league and the players have reportedly moved to an undisclosed Boston suburb. King told the guys that the owners’ willingness to take the $1 billion credit on revenue off the table and deal primarily with percentages has helped bring the two sides closer to a deal.

“I think what it does is say to the players, ‘Look, you guys have talked about a percentage. You guys have wanted for a long time to be sure that when we do the TV contract in 2014 and maybe it goes up 75 percent or some ungodly number, you guys are going to be taken care of and you guys are going to get a fair cut of that and not a lump sum.’ I think by them talking about the 48 percent number, that is a message to the players that we hear you and we’re doing it in a percentage the way you want us to do it.”

He also added that the two sides are beginning to trust each other more as the process continues to go along.

“About the trust issue, I can just tell you this based on people I’ve talked to from both sides, I’d say trust was a D on March 11 when the players walked out in Washington. The trust is at a B-minus now. The trust is really improving significantly. I don’t think that will stand in the way. I think it will be issues now, not trust that stands in the way of a deal.”

King even went as far as to offer his own prediction on the end date of the lockout, and the SI writer seemed very convicted in said prediction.

“They’re going to get it done,” King said. “My over-under is July 10. They get it done by July 15-17, they won’t lose any preseason games, which is really the goal here. I think they’re going to make progress and get it done by the middle of July.”

Earlier in the interview, King had expanded on why the teams don’t want to lose out any preseason games, even though most of America could care less about that portion of the season.

“That’s about $700 million if they don’t play preseason games that comes off the table, not only that they owners don’t earn but the players don’t get a cut of. So if you’re talking about a specific cap number for players’ salaries only in 2011 of maybe about $118 million per team of which every team would have to spend a floor of 90 percent of that, you start taking $700 million out of there and all of a sudden, then that’s maybe $10 million less per team because they don’t have that money. That’s something both sides are cognizant of.”

King offered one potential problem for the league if it doesn’t find a way to get a deal done by next month, other than just the loss of preseason games. Advertisers who spend lots of money on the NFL could pull out and take their money elsewhere should there be no football by late summer.

“If this deal goes too far into the preseason, I can tell you for a fact right now that there are going to be some major corporate advertisers, beer advertisers, car advertisers, who say, ‘You know what, thanks but we’re going to take all of our September advertising and we’re going to ESPN and we’re going to college football,’” King said. “‘Or we’re going to take some segment of it now and we’re going to make our decision. You can’t make your decision. We need to make ours.’”

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