Brown: Steelers vote for revenue sharing
PHOENIX -- Steelers chairman Dan Rooney reluctantly voted Monday for a revenue sharing agreement in which the Steelers will have to pay into a pool that is designed to preserve parity in the NFL.
The top 15 grossing teams in the league will contribute as much as $430 million over the next three years (as well as 2006 since it is retroactive), and the Steelers fall into the category of the "haves."
The agreement, which was recommended by a special qualifiers committee, passed by a vote of 30-2 on a day in which commissioner Roger Goodell announced that he would not be unveiling a tougher, more penal personal conduct policy at the owners' meetings.
Only the Cincinnati Bengals and Jacksonville Jaguars voted against the revenue sharing agreement, though Rooney said he is not in favor of the new arrangement.
When asked why he voted for it, Rooney said, "It was one of those things were they wanted to try and get it through and when the committee votes unanimously, you almost have to vote for it."
The 15 teams that contribute money to a pool will be divided into three categories based on their gross revenues. What category those teams fall into will correlate into how much they give to the revenue sharing pool, but their contributions won't be based on a percentage of gross revenue.
Teams the money is supposed to benefit need to meet a couple of criteria to qualify for the extra funds, including spending at least 65 percent of their revenues on player costs.
Steelers president Art Rooney II said Sunday he expected the Steelers to be somewhere between the 13th- and 15th-highest grossing teams.
Rooney II said he didn't have a problem with the Steelers having to pay into the pool.
The Steelers, however, favored a plan in which all teams contributed a percentage of revenues to a pool and then it was determined which organizations qualified for extra funds.
"We had talked about a system where we would contribute somewhere around 34 percent of each team's revenue into this pool," Rooney II said Sunday. "Our view is something like that, a percentage applied to all of the teams across the board. Then you go back and look after you do that who would be entitled to revenue sharing."
One concern the Steelers may have is that under the current system there could develop a gap between the top and bottom teams in the 15 organizations that have to pay into the revenue-sharing pool.
Rooney II had said he liked the idea of teams contributing to the pool based on percentages because it would be a more fair way of distributing the burden that will be as high as $100 million for last year and $130 million annually from 2007-09.
The biggest news of the first official day of meetings may have been Goodell saying he didn't have any news in regard to a revised personal conduct policy.
Goodell had been expected to announce significant changes to the policy as the NFL tries to crack down on players that get into trouble and clean up an image that has been tarnished by a spate of player arrests.
Goodell, who has met with owners, coaches and players about the matter of player conduct, said a new policy probably won't be unveiled until before the NFL Draft, which will be held April 28-29.
Goodell listed educational programs as a key step, and wants players to become more familiar with local laws. In the past year, such players as cornerback Adam "Pacman" Jones of Tennessee, with 10 separate encounters with the police, and defensive tackle Tank Johnson of Chicago, sentenced last week to four months in jail on weapons charges, have drawn headlines for their misconduct. So did nine Cincinnati Bengals who got in trouble off the field.
On Sunday, Carolina Panthers reserve guard D'Anthony Batiste was arrested and charged with carrying a concealed weapon, a misdemeanor. Yesterday, Las Vegas police said they will seek felony and misdemeanor charges against Jones and two others in a February shooting at a strip club.
Note : The Steelers solidified their depth at safety by re-signing Tyrone Carter to a three-year contract worth $2.4 million. The Steelers reached a verbal agreement with Carter, a seven-year veteran, on Friday, but the signing didn't become official until yesterday.