Sources: Owners save for lockout

Updated: February 7, 2011, 1:14 AM ET
By Adam Schefter | ESPN

NFL owners have been preparing for the potential protracted labor battle with some super game planning.

Under the terms of the CBA that govern uncapped years, each of the NFL's 32 teams was not required to fund player benefits such as 401K plans that are not in effect in uncapped years, saving each team $10 million that the NFL is holding on to, according to multiple team sources.

This savings of $320 million could be used to help offset some of the costs during the early stages of a lockout. The league continued funding pension, disability, 88 plan, post-retirement medical care and other benefits, and has committed to fund all benefits for retirees even after the CBA expires and even if there is a lockout.

But it stopped funding the specific player benefits, another step in the preparation for what could be a lengthy labor standoff in which some NFL employees will likely see pay cuts and furloughs.

The NFL and its players' union met for two hours Saturday to talk about a new labor deal, their first formal bargaining session in more than two months. There was no immediate indication of what sort of substantive progress -- if any -- was made during Saturday's talks. Spokesmen for the league and union declined to comment.

Adam Schefter is ESPN's NFL Insider. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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