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De Smith says union will watch free-agent spending

45646_nflpa_smith_football.jpgEarlier this week, a memo from NFLPA Executive Director De Smith to all players and agents strongly suggested that the union will be taking a close look at the money teams spend — or don’t spend — on free agents.

On Friday, Smith was even more direct, telling reporters that the union will be monitoring the expenditures “very closely” when the annual free-agent spending spree opens on March 5, according to Mark Maske of the Washington Post.

Per Maske, Smith didn’t mention the possibility of a collusion charge.  But in our view Smith didn’t need to.  If/when teams don’t spend as much as the union thinks the teams should spend, there will be trouble.

We think it will begin with key players like Tom Brady complaining about their respective teams’ failure to take advantage of the lack of a spending limit to become more competitive.  And we think it will culminate in formal collusion charges.

This is a complex game that consists of equal parts chess and chicken.  Smith currently is lining up the pieces for an eventual move based on a contention that the teams have implicitly agreed to enhance their 2011 lockout fund by not spending as much money in 2010 on free agents as they could, or arguably should.

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28 Responses to “De Smith says union will watch free-agent spending”
  1. Zaggs says: Feb 26, 2010 8:15 PM

    So the argument is that teams that practice good business will being something illegal. Grand.

  2. kennethnoisewater says: Feb 26, 2010 8:21 PM

    Quaaaaiiiiddd…..start the reactorrr…

  3. tbtsm15 says: Feb 26, 2010 8:30 PM

    How is not spending money on players that might not play grounds for collusion? It’s not a secret that a new labor deal might not get done. If there’s no labor deal, then there’s no football. That is simply public knowledge and does not require any back-room deals.
    Now, if the teams all decided to not spend money on free agents so as to enhance their bargaining power, then that would be collusion.

  4. rolltide says: Feb 26, 2010 8:33 PM

    De Smith = union hack. How about owners spend as much or as little of their own damn money as they please?

  5. slipkid says: Feb 26, 2010 8:36 PM

    so, the union will try to continue enforcing the terms of the current agreement. or something they have decided will be like it. with floor and cap numbers like they want there to be.
    it’s an ability they dont have.

  6. The Wishbone says: Feb 26, 2010 8:43 PM

    Saving money is not collusion. Taking advantage of the lack of a salary floor is just smart business.
    If THIS is how D Smith plans on winning a better deal from the owners, he should be tarred and feathered. I haven’t seen this much ignorance from a lawyer since that lady with bad hair told OJ to try on the gloves.

  7. wwwmattcom says: Feb 26, 2010 8:44 PM

    Football is so much less of an independent sport than the players think. Why waste money on a free agent? TO worked out so well in Buffalo, Haynesworth in Washington, Randy Moss in NE, Porter in Miami, Plax at NYFG. Exemplary free agents? ppfffff Free agency should be eliminated altogether and that extra that would be spent on free agents should go to a player pension/ health benefits. Life is wasted on the youth and so is money.
    When does the draft payscale come into effect. Stafford being payed more than vets is ridiculous.

  8. The Wishbone says: Feb 26, 2010 8:45 PM

    He’s gonna “watch” it drop like a rock. And it’s gonna be hilarious.
    The players should take the best deal they can get before next Friday. After that, you can cancel Christmas.

  9. marino1323 says: Feb 26, 2010 8:46 PM

    Why some many people hate unions. If it was up to them they would take everything. This really sounds like congress trying to screw all of us over. You think Smith really cares he still gets paid just wants to be in the news. Smith gives attorneys a bad name why so many people hate them. GREED will be eat them alive. I use to watch baseball until they went on strike so I found something else to do with my time. I love the Dolphins every Sunday but I will fill that time with something else will not come back to the game. So the money I spend every year and the games I travel to will go to someone else. So good luck to the NFL players. You only get paid when you play the owners make billions of dollars before they buy the team. I am sure they will make more money outside of the NFL because they are smart. Most players only make millions because they play a game billionaires pay you to play. They can find more athletes to play the game cheaper. Then the players will make about $35,000 a yr good luck making the lamborghini payment with that. Most these players have no clue and picked a hot air attorney to get his name out there. They should have pick one of the few smart players who would understand you only have a few years to make your money and would not piss away the best thing for them all.

  10. smashmouthd says: Feb 26, 2010 8:46 PM

    Smith WANTS a lock-out, that’s how he play his power game against the owners. If a deal gets done, Smith fades into the background and isn’t heard from again.
    Its not about the players getting a better deal for themselves today or tomorrow so much as it is about Smith… and his going to town on the NFL/Owners.

  11. .VoxVeritas says: Feb 26, 2010 8:51 PM

    It’s a losing argument. It’s just good business to hedge your bets in times of poor economy or labor strife, even smarter when both exist.

  12. FREE PALESTINE says: Feb 26, 2010 8:55 PM

    As an owner, why is it so scrutinized how much they spend or don’t spend without the cap? Isn’t it their right to not spend if they so choose?

  13. Buschman says: Feb 26, 2010 9:00 PM

    And if the owners don’t spend as much, they can claim it is because the current system is not economically feasible, which is why they need to renegotiate the CBA. Or they can blame the economy. Or they can say, “It’s my money and I’ll spend it as i see fit.” Either way, the union will not be able to prove collusion no matter how hard they want to.

  14. ICEWALKER says: Feb 26, 2010 9:14 PM

    Isn’t his first name DeMaurice?
    Let’s see if I can get this answered…if this year is uncapped and teams spend a bunch of money on players and then 2011 is capped, will those players contracts have to be restructured to fit a whole team under the cap?
    I forget what happened in 1993 (I think that was the first capped year).

  15. kennethnoisewater says: Feb 26, 2010 9:16 PM

    what the hell Florio? Post my damn Total Recall reference. Thank. You.

  16. southernboi727 says: Feb 26, 2010 9:19 PM

    The big thing to watch is how the free agency starts. Because of the lack of big name free agents, and a lot of would be free agents off the market, I suspect there won’t be a big frenzy as most years in free agency. This is gonna be good for the owners and bad for the players. The way the times are I suspect most teams will spend wisely and not just throw big money at average talent just to make a splashy splash. The owners can claim to be fiscally prudent in these troubled times and make the owners seem greedy. I don’t see D. Smith winning this battle.

  17. Blarch says: Feb 26, 2010 9:37 PM

    Boy it really would be interesting if Brady did such a thing. I’m a Pats fan and I really can’t picture him doing such a thing. He has always been a very team oriented guy. I’ll be surprised if his new contract whenever it happens actually rivals Brees or Manning, based on his history he’s more of a spread the wealth guy.
    Who knows though? It’s a crazy world.

  18. Rick says: Feb 26, 2010 9:44 PM

    from what I gather the biggest hurdle to a new CBA is the owners want to take 18%(which is negotiable) off the top to cover expenses like stadiums and such before they give the palyers 60 cents of every dollar made. So basically the players are saying FU we ain’t gonna help with the cost of running the league you can take it out of your end. If that is the case then I am completely with the owners on this.

  19. poopdude says: Feb 26, 2010 9:50 PM

    “We think it will begin with key players like Tom Brady complaining about their respective teams’ failure to take advantage of the lack of a spending limit to become more competitive”
    When has Tom Brady ever, EVER said a word against the Patriots publicly? Why would he start now Florio, just because he is an alternate player rep.? You do know he recently said of player salaries “We’re all overpaid”? Brady won’t even confirm the obvious in interviews/pressers, whether it be his ribs are broken, Giselle just gave birth, or the sky is blue, just because it is the organizational philosophy. He is the ultimate company man. He, Belichick, and the Krafts are in lockstep.
    I believe the mention of Brady is just another attempt by Florio to try stir up his ludicrious “Moss hates the Pats, wants to play with Favre” angle, which is insanely nonsensical and factually baseless.
    If you want someone to stir up trouble (which we know you do), try about 1,000 other NFL players first.

  20. gopher says: Feb 26, 2010 9:57 PM

    I keep hearing that the free agent market will be weak this year because of the CBA agreement limits the market so the owners are suppose to spend money on less talent, or overpay as some agents will try and tell teams their player is a lot better then he is.

  21. southernboi727 says: Feb 27, 2010 1:09 AM

    *correction
    I meant to say it makes the players look greedy. Instead I used owners a second time instead of players.
    Duh. My bad.

  22. Adam says: Feb 27, 2010 2:53 AM

    smashmouthd says:
    February 26, 2010 8:46 PM
    Smith WANTS a lock-out, that’s how he play his power game against the owners. If a deal gets done, Smith fades into the background and isn’t heard from again.
    Its not about the players getting a better deal for themselves today or tomorrow so much as it is about Smith… and his going to town on the NFL/Owners.
    Yeah I think you locked it up there. Really seems like he wants a lock out, doesn’t it? He keeps on finding or creating reasons there will be a lock out when he should be creating ways to not have a lock out.
    Has Smith given any suggestions other than bashing the owners?

  23. Quagmire says: Feb 27, 2010 7:27 AM

    I think there should be collusion charges bought against the American Bar Assn. every day…lawyers make everything more expensive & reel in the money.

  24. jrhsd says: Feb 27, 2010 8:44 AM

    this has been the most comical group of comments ever. it is clear that all of the people who are “mad” have no idea what they are talking about. and apparently neither does anybody else.
    but we still have our dyed in the wool conservatives feigning outrage here, thank god, what would a comical message thread be if somebody wasn’t trying to sound like Glenn Beck?

  25. HarrisonHits says: Feb 27, 2010 8:49 AM

    “Quaaaaiiiiddd…..start the reactorrr…”
    You’re killin’ me ROFL and there is some resemblance there isn’t there ?
    DeSmith has done a horrible job so far. Upshaw left the union in a terrible position to start with, and DeSmith has done nothing to improve it. His tactics are pathetic and his ineptness is not going to result in anything good for the players.
    Not that the players didn’t get too much in the last round, they should have to give up a little piece of the pie and some of the limitations on player discipline that the union snuck in last time.

  26. brasho says: Feb 27, 2010 9:25 AM

    Really? So all the rest of us schmucks in the real world need to do is have our union do something because most of us haven’t gotten raises in two years?
    Seriously, I’m a teacher and I haven’t gotten a raise in two years… I’m making mid-50′s despite having 10 years of service… do you really think people like me are going to feel bad for a bunch of guys that feel they aren’t getting paid enough millions of dollars to play a sport that most of us spent our lives doing for free?

  27. damnitall says: Feb 27, 2010 9:51 AM

    Has Smith given any suggestions other than bashing the owners?
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

  28. BroncoBourque says: Feb 27, 2010 10:13 AM

    There is no way collusion charges would stick. The economy is terrible, there are very few quality unrestricted free agents and with a deep draft teams will be very reluctant to give up draft picks to sign other team’s restricted free agents.
    Other than Peppers and Dansby I can’t think of any free agents out there that should get big money in any economy. Sure Dunta Robinson is a decent player and will probably get overpaid, Antonio Bryant was limited due to injury last year so he will be lucky to get a big money deal and most of the other potential big money guys carry either the franshise tag or the high restricted tag so any team signing them would have to give up at least one 1st round pick plus big money.
    All this De Smith talk just shows that he miscalculated the owners fear of an uncapped year. He can see now that with all the extra rules this uncapped year is going to hurt most of the players and is now resorting to empty threats to try to scare the owners into overspending.

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