PHOENIX — Talks between the NFL and its players union on a new collective bargaining agreement are expected to begin in early to mid-April, Giants owner John Mara said Tuesday at the NFL’s annual meeting.

Mara said that there have already been discussions”at the staff level” about putting negotiating sessions up for a new CBA. The current one, signed in 2011 following an offseason lock-out, expires following the 2020 season.

The talks that have occurred so far have dealt mainly with logistics,” one source said. Which means staffers from the NFL and NFLPA have discussed scheduling, timing and potential agendas for meetings that may occur this spring and summer, however negotiators have yet to take part in serious discussions on the issues that could drive any new agreement.

Sources on either side say it’s uncertain which of the problems will turn out to be one of the most critical or contested, however those sources offered a idea about what each side might be seeking at a fresh deal.

Owners are expected to seek mainly economical gains, most prominently new arena credits like the ones that they procured in the 2011 bargain. Stadium credits are allotments of money that can come towards the surface of the revenue pile before the earnings will be split with the players and also are used to help teams together with arena renovations or new arena structure. Even the NFL utilized all of the scene credits from the 2011 bargain a couple of years ago, meaning new projects from Los Angeles and Las Vegas as well as hoped-for renovations or projects in places like Cleveland and Buffalo are not reaping the benefits of the system. As a way to help with these kinds of projects and ones to come, owners are expected to find scene credits at the new deal.

That would, of course, require some concessions, so whilst the players’ union likely will not be eager to hand over chunks of revenue that aren’t part of the pool that they split against the owners. The 2011 CBA paid off the players’ share of earnings by 51 per cent to 47 per cent, in return the players secured concessions like paid off offseason workloads along with post-career health insurance and financial benefits.

Even the NFLPA held its annual player representative meeting in Miami earlier this season, and problems important to the players for its subsequent round of CBA talks were a major point of discussion. One of the prominent issues that appear to be very important to the players this time around include:


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