The NFLPA and NFL have come to agreement on several issues, but they still have work to do. The biggest disagreement remaining, not surprisingly, is on how to mitigate the inevitable revenue losses from this season.
The union continues to push for the projected multibillion-dollar revenue shortfall spread over the length of the 11-year Collective Bargaining Agreement. The league has proposed taking the hit in 2020 and 2021.
NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith and president J.C. Tretter sent a memo to agents Wednesday night, updating them on where things stand in negotiations.
“We continue to negotiate with the NFL owners over health protocols, contract projections, and salary cap issues,” the memo reads, via Tom Pelissero of NFL Media. “Regarding our health protocols, we are glad to inform you that we have worked together with the NFL to implement the safest standards for our men. As you have heard, there will not be a preseason game. Additionally, we have agreed to strong testing, tracing and treatment protocols, and we are finalizing an acclimation period. These measures reflect implementation of recommendations from third-party scientific experts aimed at keeping everyone as safe as possible during this pandemic.
“On the contractual and CBA operations front, we continue to push the NFL for agreement on strong opt-out options for players, as well as determinations on stipends and treatment of player contracts if the season is canceled. We believe every player has the right to not only make an informed decision on is future, but also to have all the facts before committing themselves and their families to a decision regarding the most unique football season in history. We will be getting that information out to our leadership, our players and to you as soon as it is finalized.
“Finally, there are issues of overall economics, revenue sharing, and salary cap implications. Our proposal is designed to take advantage of the multiyear term of the CBA to mitigate the losses that will affect all aspects of our business. We do not believe it makes sense for our stakeholders to be forced to manage potentially massive fluctuations in the cap this year and next when we have mechanisms available to us that can smooth the inevitable short-term decrease in revenues over time.
“We will continue to update you as negotiations progress, or not.”
Smith explained the NFLPA’s reasoning during a call with Pro Football Writers of America writers last week.
“If there is a dramatic decrease in revenue for this year, and some estimates are that it could be $70 million per club as the impact on player cost,” Smith said. “That means that the salary cap next year could be something around $120 million, and that would mean a number of players could be cut. A lot of players who have salaries that would push a team above that salary cap would be forced to renegotiate, drastically renegotiate, their contracts or they would be cut. So, it goes back to option A. Option B is that both sides try to work through estimates of what the decline would be and figure out a way to avoid a precipitous drop in the salary cap for next year, and therefore protect contracts, protect players, but also remember, protect their benefits because the way that the cap works and the way that our overall compensation package works is if there is a drop in those things, there could be or will be a significant impact on benefits as well.
“So, on this call, I’m not sure anybody can do anything like come up with an ideal number about the salary cap next year. The fundamental question that our leadership is dealing with is whether we have a world where we stick with option A, and there’s a significant downfall on the cap next year, or whether we figure out something that makes sure that that doesn’t happen and is in the best interest of all of our members.”