Earlier this week, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said that he’d like to get a labor deal done before March. NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith said on Thursday would like to get a deal done far sooner than that.
“The players of the National Football League would love to have a deal
done in November,” Smith said Thursday, per Steve Wyche of NFL.com. “The players will want a deal done before March.”
Smith then echoed a point made recently by former NFL linebacker Cornelius Bennett in response to the news that the league will continue to make benefits to retired players in the event of a lockout.
“Players and their families’ health care, as we know it, will end in
March with a lockout,” Smith said. “The league has not told us that they
will guarantee player and family health care in the event of a
And, as we said in response to Bennett’s remarks, the league won’t make that guarantee. It’s called leverage — and Smith knows it.
Though we’d love to see a deal get done in November or sooner, the reality remains that, until the clock is approaching midnight, neither side will approach its bottom-line position. When Goodell told ESPN Radio’s Mike & Mike in the Morning, “We think that opportunity [to negotiate a new deal] is now between here and the March period,” Goodell essentially was saying that, from the league’s perspective, the clock strikes 12 on March 1.
The real question is whether a deal will be reached by then and, if not, what will happen next.