Article 52Player Benefit Costs
Disability & Neurocognitive Benefit Plan (the “Disability Plan”), and (3) postseason pay (although the NFLPA will have the unilateral right to direct that postseason pay will not be increased), in a League Year, if such right is exercised on or before April 15 of such League Year. However, such action cannot reduce total Player Benefit Costs below 5% of Projected AR, as defined in Article 12 and Player Benefit Costs required by law cannot be reduced.
Section 1. General Right of Reduction
The NFLPA will have the unilateral right to reduce or freeze each separate and individual Player Benefit Cost and the applicable benefit, with the exception of (1) benefits and contributions under the Bert Bell/Pete Rozelle NFL Player Retirement Plan (the “Retirement Plan”), (2) benefits under the NFL Player
Section 2. Right of Restoration
Each separate and individual Benefit reduced or frozen pursuant to Section 1 above may be unilaterally restored by the NFLPA in whole or in part for a League Year, if such right is exercised on or before April 15 of such League Year. Each Benefit may be restored up to but not in excess of its prescribed level for that League Year in this Agreement.
Section 3. Resolution of Disputes
In the event the NFLPA and the NFL are unable to agree to Projected Benefits for the League Year for which the Salary Cap is being set, the parties will proceed immediately to mediation and binding arbitration on an expedited schedule so that all such differences are resolved in time for the timely issuance of the Special Purpose Letter for that League Year. Such mediation and binding arbitration will be presided over by the Benefit Arbitrator pursuant to the following procedure:(a)
The parties will submit in writing to the Benefit Arbitrator their respective calculations of Projected Benefits for the forthcoming year.(b)
Thereafter, the Benefit Arbitrator, upon receipt of such submissions by each party, will immediately convene an expedited hearing at the site of his or her selection. Such hearing will proceed for no more than three days, the first day of which will include whatever mediation efforts the Benefit Arbitrator deems appropriate; provided, however, that such mediation will not be binding on the parties.(c)
As soon as possible following the closing of such expedited hearing, the Benefit Arbitrator will render his or her decision, which will be final and binding on the parties. Post-hearing briefs following the close of such hearing will be permitted only if requested by the Benefit Arbitrator, and any post-hearing brief so requested must be submitted within one (1) week, with no extension. The parties intend that post-hearing briefs will be requested only in unusual circumstances. In no event will the Benefit Arbitrator’s decision be rendered and delivered to the parties any later than five (5) days prior to the scheduled issuance of the Special Purpose Letter.
Section 4. Limitations on Contributions(a)
No NFL Club shall have any obligation, directly or indirectly, to contribute to the Second Career Savings Plan, the Player Annuity Program, the Capital Accumulation Plan, the Severance Pay Plan, the NFL Player Disability & Neurocognitive Benefit Plan, (except as provided in Article 60, Section 2), the Gene Upshaw Health Reimbursement Account, the Workers’ Compensation Time Offset Fund, the Performance Based Pool, the Tuition Assistance Plan, the NFL Player Insurance Plan, the Former Player Life Improvement Plan, or the Player Long-Term Care Insurance Plan (individually, a “Player Benefit Arrangement”) with respect to any year following expiration of this Agreement except to the extent required by the Internal Revenue Code or other applicable laws except to the extent preempted by ERISA. Each Player Benefit Arrangement shall provide, or be amended to the extent necessary to provide, for the prevention of any employer-provided benefit from accruing or being otherwise credited or earned thereunder with respect to any year following the expiration of this Agreement, and to provide that no expense incurred in maintaining the Player Benefit Arrangement in a year following the expiration of this Agreement shall be paid, directly or indirectly, by an NFL Club except to the extent required by law, or as otherwise provided in this Agreement.(b)
For the duration of this Agreement, the parties will amend all benefit plans qualified under Section 401(a) of the Internal Revenue Code as necessary to continue to ensure that an NFL Club will only be required to make contributions to any qualified benefit plan to the extent that such contributions are deductible when made under the limits of Section 404(a) of the Internal Revenue.
Section 5. Timing
Player Benefit Costs for the Retirement Plan, the Second Career Savings Plan, the NFL Player Disability & Neurocognitive Benefit Plan, the Capital Accumulation Plan, the Player Annuity Program, the Tuition Assistance Plan, the Gene Upshaw Health Reimbursement Account, the 88 Benefit Plan, the Player Insurance Plan, the Former Player Life Improvement Plan, the Player Long Term Care Insurance Plan, and the NFL Player Disability & Neurocognitive Benefit Plan, will be deemed to be made in a League Year for purposes of this Agreement if made in the Plan Year beginning in the same calendar year as the beginning of such League Year.