An Iowa native who was the New York Giants back-up quarterback last season says he’s taking a “wait and see” attitude about contract talks between the players union and NFL owners.
Sage Rosenfels, a Maquoketa native, played for Iowa State in college and has been on the rosters of five different NFL teams over the past decade. “The owners are asking for a billion dollars back and the players are just asking why,” Rosenfels says. “We’re negotiating. We’re more than happy to give a certain amount back, I think, to compromise. I think that’s what negotiations are all about, is compromise — but we’d like to know why we have to give back a billion dollars.”
The NFL and the players union resumed contract talks this morning, with a strike deadline looming at midnight. Rosenfels says players this year have been “better informed” about the stakes of these contract talks and the prospect of a strike. “I think players have been, probably, a little tighter with their wallets…to be smarter with their money,” Rosenfels says.
Rosenfels signed on last season to play back-up for Giants starter Eli Manning, for a salary of just over $2.5 million. The contract talks between NFL players and owners have bogged down over how to divide $9 billion in annual revenue from the league. “The NFL has exploded over the course of the last five to 10 years. The league has grown tremendously in a down economy,” Rosenfels says. “If the NFL is not making enough money, or losing money, they’re very poor businessmen. And I think that those guys are all billionaires — they’re all smart businessmen — so we’ve got to get this thing figured out.”
The collective bargaining agreement between the league and the players union expires at midnight. The NFL has had two srikes, in 1982 and in 1987, but in ’87 replacement players were brought in.
Rosenfels has been in Des Moines this week to watch his niece play in the state girl’s basketball tournament.