This week NFLPA’s executive director DeMaurice Smith sent a letter to its players. The letter advised the player’s official agents to tell players to keep back a portion of their money over the next two seasons. Given that the current CBA between the league and players ends after the 2020 season. And at this point there’s a good amount of uncertainty about a new deal.
The letter to players stated in a copy obtained by ESPN stating,
“We are advising players to plan for a work stoppage of at least a year in length… We are also encouraging players to save 50% of their salary and bonuses and to save the entirety of their Performance Based Pay amounts they should earn over the next two regular seasons.”
“Having a membership that is financially stable will only increase the chances of NFLPA player leadership getting a new CBA that will benefit not only players currently in the NFL but also the players that come after them and the ones that came before them,”
Both sides have expressed that they are optimistic that a new deal can be struck, and avoid a work stoppage. That said, such talks are in their infancy and could be derailed at any stage of the negotiations.
Simple Negotiation Tactic?
This could be a simple negotiation tactic by the NFLPA signaling that the players are ready to hunker down, and play hard ball if need be. What is alarming though is that the association has signaled that players should save back enough money to last them up to an entire year. A season without football is unthinkable at this point, but is not absolutely improbable.
There are many issues to iron out between the league and its players. Some of the top being: TV Ad revenue share, safety/CTE, and the legalization of certain pain management drugs like marijuana. Such issue could be the breaking point of the upcoming discussions within the greater framework of a new deal.
The last time both sides went toe to toe, the last lockout nearly encroached into the regular season, but was ultimately averted. They might not be so lucky next time if a deal isn’t ironed out before Spring of 2021.