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Photo: Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

As the NFL and the NFL Players' Association, the league's players' labor union, continue early CBA talks, the elimination of the NFL's archaic "funding rule" is a top priority for players, according to multiple reports.

The state of play: Denver Broncos kicker Brandon McManus, the team's NFLPA player representative, called it "almost a non-negotiable for us," per The Athletic.

How it works: The NFL's funding rule stipulates that every fully guaranteed dollar owed to a player, but not yet paid to him, must be placed in a league-run escrow account.

  • In other words, even if a player is owed guaranteed money over the course of two or three years, ownership still must place all of that money into a separate bank account.

The problem: Back when the NFL wasn't the cash cow that it is today and players had legitimate concerns about owners not being able to fulfill future financial obligations, this rule made sense and worked in the players' favor.

  • But in today's era, the funding rule has morphed into something completely different: a convenient excuse for ownership during contract negotiations.
  • Basically, teams will tell players that they can't afford to guarantee their deals because funding them would create cashflow issues. "Negotiations are a leverage game. And it's a cudgel they can go to," agent Jelani Roy told The Athletic.

The big picture: Thanks in part to the funding rule, fully-guaranteed contracts — which are the norm in the NBA, NHL and MLB — are a rarity in the NFL.

  • Last offseason, Kirk Cousins became the first QB to sign a multi-year, fully-guaranteed deal (three years, $84 million with the Vikings), and that only happened because he was the rare in-his-prime QB to hit free agency, which gave him all the leverage in the world.

The bottom line: The elimination of the NFL's funding rule might not make deals like the one Cousins signed the norm, but it would remove a giant roadblock in the players' ongoing fight for more guaranteed pay.

Go deeper: An 18-game NFL season might be unavoidable

Go deeper

18 mins ago - Health

FDA panel backs Merck's antiviral COVID pill

The Merck Cherokee Plant in Riverside, Pennsylvania. Photo: Paul Weaver/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

A Food and Drug Administration advisory panel on Tuesday voted 13-10 to endorse an antiviral pill developed by Merck and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics to treat adults at high risk of becoming severely ill from COVID-19, despite concerns over its effectiveness and safety.

Why it matters: Oral antiviral drugs designed to prevent or treat COVID-19 could be key pandemic-fighting tools, if proven effective, especially as new variants emerge. If authorized, the Merck drug, known as molnupiravir, would be the first treatment of its kind to be made available in the United States.

Shooting at Michigan high school leaves 3 dead, 6 wounded

Screengrab: CBSN

Three people dead and six others are wounded after a shooting at a high school in Michigan according to the Oakland County Sheriff's Office.

Driving the news: The alleged shooter was a 15-year-old sophomore at Oxford High School and has been arrested, per police.

Fed signals it could yank economic support quicker as inflation sticks around

Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell testifies during a hearing before Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee today. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

The Federal Reserve will consider pulling back economic support sooner "as the threat of persistently high inflation has grown," chair Jerome Powell said during a congressional hearing on Tuesday.

Why it matters: This is the biggest signal yet the Fed is backing away from its stance that soaring prices would be fleeting — a change that could shift its policies that underpin the economy.