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Does Snyder Hold the Key?

Mar 1, 2006, 9:30 AM EDT

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Does Snyder Hold the Key?

As the CBA impasse ticks down to the last minutes of the last hour, it appears that the owner of the team with the most to lose in 2006 is the pivot point in the negotiations.

The Redskins are facing some very painful decisions in order to get under the league-mandated salary cap if there is no new CBA with the players association by midnight on Thursday. It appears that Redskins owner Dan Snyder is willing to forgo a considerable amount of money, perhaps as much as a billion dollars, in order to avert such a scenario.

According to a report by Dave Elfin in Wednesday morning’s Washington Times, Redskins owner Dan Snyder is willing to change his position on NFL revenue sharing in order to get a CBA extension done. Since Snyder and eight to ten other owners of high-revenue NFL teams have been steadfastly opposed to sharing a significant portion of local revenues with the rest of the teams in the league, that would mean that Snyder has pushed some more of his own chips into the pot in this high-stakes poker game.

These are high-roller chips, no doubt about it. We don’t know the kind of money being talked about here, but we can take an educated guess. Just to use a round number, let’s say that we’re talking about Snyder giving up 10% of the team’s revenue to go into a pot. According to Forbes, that would be about $28 million per year. Even if revenues are static, which they won’t, and Snyder owns the team for another 25 years, which is probably on the low end, he will be giving up $700 million. It’s easy to see revenue increases pushing that figure over the $1 billion mark.

That’s a billion, with a “b”. You have to look long and hard to find a business in any field that is willing to give up that kind of money.

In the Times article it was also reported that Denver owner Pat Bowlen was also among the higher-revenue owners willing to give up local revenues in order to get a deal done. His team also is faced with the need to make some salary cap choices if there is no new CBA. If Snyder, the king of the hill with the highest revenue in all of professional sports, and Bowlen are willing to share that much cash, it would be very difficult for the other “rich” owners to maintain their positions that the rest of the teams simply need to work harder to generate more revenue.

Will Snyder’s last minute gambit get a deal done? We’ll know in the next 48 hours.

Rich Tandler is the author of The Redskins From A to Z, a unique book that chronicles every game the Redskins played from 1937 through 2001. To get details on the book and to find out how to order, go to Archives

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