Will There Be A NFL Lockout In 2021?
In the latest of the “what if” series, we will take a look into the future two years from now. Both the NFL and the NFLPA seem to be bracing for the inevitable, and this could possibly affect the league on multiple fronts. Most of all it could threaten the start of the 2021 season if the two sides are not able to come to terms on a new Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) by the start of pre-season.
Last fall 49ers CB Richard Sherman, a players representative in the NFLPA, walked out of a players meeting concerning the possible lockout in the future. For Sherman though, the lockout isn’t just possible. It’ certain to happen. Telling reporters,
“It’s going to happen, so it’s not like guys are guessing on that one” Sherman said. “We don’t plan on changing anything about the deal we currently have right now, so I don’t think it’s going to be negotiated before the end of the CBA, so it’s going to cause a lockout and we’ll deal with it from there,” Sherman said.
It Happened Before And Could Again
In 2011 the NFL and its players entered a 132 day lockout. The main issues were over ad revenue share, players salaries for rookies, and mostly player health. Player health was probably the single biggest victory for the players. As they were able to reduce the amount of hard contact in practices and reduce the amount of off-season activities. Both sides didn’t get exactly what they wanted, but were mostly able to meet in the middle of the road.
The current CBA expires at the end of the 2020 season, and both sides fear that another lockout may be inevitable. Even new head coaching contracts this off-season have reportedly included language specifically around the anticipated work stoppage. Citing how much of a coach’s salary could be lost if a stoggage were to occur.
Issues that are sure to be top of mind in a 2021 lockout is the lone power commissioner Roger Goodell’s has over players concerning league discipline, ad revenue share, and the lack of guaranteed money in players contracts.
The request for more guaranteed money might be a sticking point in these talks, but the players may have the upper hand on this one. With the increased awareness over CTE from game sustained concussions and the short shelf life of players, they may have the advantage over owners. At least in the public’s view.
Even though both sides are sure to have preliminary discussions heading into these next two off-season’s, the NFL, players, and its fans may have to hold their breath come the 2021 off-season. With the goal being to at least duplicate the 2011 lockout results in the fact that the regular season was never put at risk.