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Veterans told they can shop around, but teams aren’t listening yet

NFL Contract Talks Continue As Deadline Approaches Getty Images

The NFLPA sent players a letter on Tuesday essentially saying that veteran free agents should feel free to start shopping their services around to interested teams.

Here’s a section of the letter from NFPA attorney Mark Levin, courtesy of Ben Volin of the Palm Beach Post:

“So, until you hear otherwise, if you are not under contract, Class Counsel believes that you and your agent can contact teams and shop your services to the clubs. Judge Nelson’s order is in effect as of 6 p.m. EDT on April 25, 2011, and unless and until that order is stayed, the clubs are NOT allowed to refuse to negotiate with you.  If they do refuse, you should contact Class Counsel immediately.”

NFL teams aren’t reciprocating interest yet.

Agent David Canter wrote on Twitter that he initially couldn’t get a response from teams when contacting them.   Eventually he did hear back, and got the same message repeatedly:

“No one will deal because ‘we don’t know what rules we are functioning under”‘ Canter wrote.

Agent Drew Rosenhaus told Liz Mullen of the Sports Business Journal he has also been contacting teams.

“Can’t comment on their reaction,” Rosenhaus said.  “Don’t want to get anyone in trouble.”

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56 Responses to “Veterans told they can shop around, but teams aren’t listening yet”
  1. iamtalkingsolistenandlearn says: Apr 26, 2011 8:19 PM

    Judge Nelson’s order is in effect as of 6 p.m. EDT on April 25, 2011, and unless and until that order is stayed, the clubs are NOT allowed to refuse to negotiate with you. If they do refuse, you should contact Class Counsel immediately.”

    Hmmm. Seems to me that if Joe Blow calls me up and says he wants to join my team, i have every right to decline this players attempt to become a member of my team if I dont want him.

  2. hobartbaker says: Apr 26, 2011 8:20 PM

    “Lemme get back to you on that….”.

  3. hobartbaker says: Apr 26, 2011 8:24 PM

    Haranguing the league and rallying his followers in a fiery speech, former NFLPA head De Smith became incomprehensible to the crowd. But later analysis showed he actually seemed to be channeling early 20th Century German.

  4. possiblecabbage says: Apr 26, 2011 8:25 PM

    If I’m in the front office of an NFL team, if any agents come calling trying to shop their guys my response is going to be “Hey, we’re really, really busy around here because of the draft in a couple of days… do you think you could call back on Monday?”

    Entirely reasonable, and satisfies both the players and the league’s position. By Monday, hopefully there is some clarity.

  5. raiderapologist says: Apr 26, 2011 8:30 PM

    The clubs are NOT allowed to refuse to negotiate with players? Can’t they just say they aren’t interested?

  6. smacklayer says: Apr 26, 2011 8:33 PM

    Yeah, I’d negotiate. Since there is no league minimum anymore, I’ll give ya $40k/ year. Take it or leave it. By the way, there is now a 20 gaem season, find your own facilities to work out at, we have full pad practices every day until games start, there is no health insurance, no retirement pension, and oh yeah, our team only has 11 players, you have to play both offense, defense and special teams. Don’t like it? Go file a grievence with your union . . .

  7. dylanmusicfane says: Apr 26, 2011 8:33 PM

    almost sounds like free agency. too bad everyone is confused.

  8. stupadassle says: Apr 26, 2011 8:37 PM

    The owners should call the players bluff and make a few multi-millionaires and pay the rest about $30k per year.

  9. tommyf15 says: Apr 26, 2011 8:46 PM

    raiderapologist says:
    Apr 26, 2011 8:30 PM
    The clubs are NOT allowed to refuse to negotiate with players? Can’t they just say they aren’t interested?

    They sure could. Then they’d have to convince a judge or jury in an anti-trust suit that it’s just a coincidence all 32 teams had zero interest in any of the free agents.

    If you owned a team, are you certain that’s the game you’d want to play?

  10. berniemadoffsides says: Apr 26, 2011 8:46 PM

    Chaos…. Peyton Manning could be a Viking Thursday. lol

  11. nbcwantsitsmoneyback says: Apr 26, 2011 8:46 PM

    “smacklayer says:
    Apr 26, 2011 8:33 PM
    Yeah, I’d negotiate. Since there is no league minimum anymore, I’ll give ya $40k/ year. Take it or leave it. By the way, there is now a 20 gaem season, find your own facilities to work out at, we have full pad practices every day until games start, there is no health insurance, no retirement pension, and oh yeah, our team only has 11 players, you have to play both offense, defense and special teams. Don’t like it? Go file a grievence with your union . . .”

    I like that..! He He

  12. possiblecabbage says: Apr 26, 2011 8:47 PM

    “No, Mr. Cook…we do not wish to sign Brett Favre… please stop calling us.”

  13. domehead says: Apr 26, 2011 8:54 PM

    Where’d the asterisk go???

  14. freddyfelder says: Apr 26, 2011 8:57 PM

    WHO??? Nnamdi? Sure!!! We’re open for Business!

  15. richm2256 says: Apr 26, 2011 8:57 PM

    I’m sorry, if by “NFLPA attorney Mark Levin” you mean “NFLPA which is decertified and no longer able to represent or advise their former members”, then I’m going to ask how the NFLPA claims to have decertified, rendering anti-trust law moot?

    You mean THAT NFLPA?

  16. snnyjcbs says: Apr 26, 2011 8:58 PM

    They can try and shop their services all they like, no one is buying. Looks like Dallas will be going to cut their payroll this year and I am betting that most teams when things get back to normal will look to sign their own Free Agents with many Teams not playing much in Free Agency and that is if there even is a Free Agency.

    My call is that the Ringer the Players are using in the Lower Court will deny the Stay and the NFL will file for an emergency Stay from the Appeals Court which will be granted. It will take another month probably two months for the Appeals Court to run its course. There may not even be Free Agency this year who knows.

    With the Players trying to ruin Football as we know it, no Draft in the future with a free for all wild west attitude if I was the owners I would bring the Greedy schmucks to their knees, they are nothing more then employees and the sooner they figure that out the better, man up owners and take care of business, the Lockout is over?, do not make me laugh.

  17. wannabeqb says: Apr 26, 2011 9:03 PM

    Yeah Smacklayer, thats guaranteed to lead long term labor peace. Is your name Jerry by any chance?

    This is actually pretty simple for the owners, tell the players you’re negotiating with that you are negotiating under the idea that the 2010 cap will be retained (it seems unlikely it will be any lower). If the player thinks otherwise then he doesnt have to sign. If he is impatient to get paid then he’ll take the deal.

  18. firethorn1001 says: Apr 26, 2011 9:03 PM

    ‘the clubs are NOT allowed to refuse to negotiate with you. If they do refuse, you should contact Class Counsel immediately.*”

    *This does not apply to you Jamarcus

  19. dwg05 says: Apr 26, 2011 9:09 PM

    rich-I was thinking the same thing. If the union has disbanded or decertified or whatever, what are they doing sending out memo’s advising “thier members”?

  20. freddyfelder says: Apr 26, 2011 9:10 PM

    Tiki Barber? Click… Dial Tone… Hello???

  21. wannabeqb says: Apr 26, 2011 9:11 PM

    sorry i meant 2009 cap, there was no cap in 2010.

  22. freddyfelder says: Apr 26, 2011 9:12 PM

    Tiki Barber? You got the wrong number….

  23. tommyf15 says: Apr 26, 2011 9:12 PM

    stupadassle says:
    The owners should call the players bluff and make a few multi-millionaires and pay the rest about $30k per year.

    Can I ask a serious question?

    I could see the logic behind “if there’s no minimum there would be players making less than what used to be the minimum” IF a large percentage of the players were only making the minimum. That’s not the case.

    So why are so many posters here drawing the concluson that without a CBA, a large number of players would suddenly be making less than what was previously the minimum?

    It doesn’t hold up to logic.

  24. bsandcs says: Apr 26, 2011 9:13 PM

    Teams should negotiate player contracts with the same effort and same “good faith” that the NFLPA used when negotiating before they so unceremoniously decertified.

  25. moochzilla says: Apr 26, 2011 9:18 PM

    “The clubs are NOT allowed to refuse to negotiate with players? Can’t they just say they aren’t interested?”

    They are operating off 100% emotion. They can’t act professional and even offer up the “hey, let me get back to you I have a hot pocket in the oven”.

    Because this, like every other single thing since this began, is about teaching the player’s who’s boss.

    Plain and simple.

    And guess what – they are never getting that $1B. And the players still kicked their ass.

  26. FinFan68 says: Apr 26, 2011 9:19 PM

    tommyf15 says:
    Apr 26, 2011 8:46 PM
    raiderapologist says:
    Apr 26, 2011 8:30 PM
    The clubs are NOT allowed to refuse to negotiate with players? Can’t they just say they aren’t interested?

    They sure could. Then they’d have to convince a judge or jury in an anti-trust suit that it’s just a coincidence all 32 teams had zero interest in any of the free agents.

    If you owned a team, are you certain that’s the game you’d want to play?
    —————————
    Wouldn’t it be the other way around? You know, the “innocent until proven guilty” thing that places the burden of proof on the accuser rather than the defendant

  27. moochzilla says: Apr 26, 2011 9:19 PM

    smacklayer, did that make you feel better?

    If they did what you suggest there would be no league in 3 years.

    But the New USFL sure would be great!

    How not to run a business, by smacklayer!

  28. dcbronco says: Apr 26, 2011 9:29 PM

    As a trade association they can advise members of the group they are advocates for. So advising them to go and try to get signed is exactly what they should be doing. It forces the teams to make a decision. Act in good faith or face further AT suits. Which the league will lose.

    32 separate businesses can not collectively shut out a specific group of people. Are some of you actually reading any stories on these cases? Your suggestions are exactly what got the league into this mess. A group effort to shut the players out with no stay on Judge Nelson’s ruling would be collusion. Collusion is illegal in this case.

    The owners need to set their egos aside and negotiate. There was nothing wrong with the current deal. They were making money. And the players were fine. And all indications were that profits were about to double under new agreements with the networks. And remember they still owe the players over two billion dollars. You would think they would be in more of a negotiating mood to make that go away.

  29. cliverush says: Apr 26, 2011 9:31 PM

    The top players will get the money, maybe five guys a team and the rest will get a lot less. Using liberal judges to take money from investors is not a long term plan for survival.

  30. 1phd says: Apr 26, 2011 9:32 PM

    Here that owners? Times a wastin! Take Alex Smith for example. PLEASE!

  31. gtrav says: Apr 26, 2011 9:36 PM

    This is so ridiculous now that (for me, anyway) it’s finally starting to get funny. The greedy assclowns (everybody involved) couldn’t get a deal done, and now there’s a ruling in place right before the draft and nobody knows what they can and can’t do. It serves them all right to make themselves look this damn stupid.

  32. jo3jo says: Apr 26, 2011 9:38 PM

    Seems to me that since no team is going to actually sign a free agent before the stay, negotiation at this time is pretty pointless — no team is going to know their needs until after the draft.

  33. mick730 says: Apr 26, 2011 9:40 PM

    raiderapologist says:
    Apr 26, 2011 8:30 PM
    The clubs are NOT allowed to refuse to negotiate with players? Can’t they just say they aren’t interested?

    They sure could. Then they’d have to convince a judge or jury in an anti-trust suit that it’s just a coincidence all 32 teams had zero interest in any of the free agents.

    If you owned a team, are you certain that’s the game you’d want to play?

    And this folks, is what we as NFL fans now have to look forward to. If this doesn’t tell you the whole players union thing has gone to far, you’ll never figure it out.

    Every time one of this over the hill has beens or never were’s can’t find a team to pay him hundreds of thousands of dollars, or maybe millions of dollars, any given team, or probably the entire league is going to get dragged into court and be forced to defend themselves against anti-trust laws.

    The owners should suspend all operations and cancel the upcoming draft and season. They need to take a stand now before it is too late.

    Put the players in their proper place just as the NHL did to their players. Its the only way to save the game.

  34. haverchuck49 says: Apr 26, 2011 9:47 PM

    I thought there was no NFLPA anymore? They dissolved. What a farce. You can’t have it both ways.

  35. waccoforflacco says: Apr 26, 2011 9:50 PM

    When the players or agents contact the teams I’d offer Rosenhaus or the players contracts along the lines of $100 bucks a week..take it or leave it. They no longer have a union so who can they complain too?

    If the agents claim collusion tell them to go sh#t in their hat.

  36. dk56 says: Apr 26, 2011 9:55 PM

    “take a number, have a seat, and we will call you when it is your turn”

  37. andresthedragon1234 says: Apr 26, 2011 10:06 PM

    If the teams aren’t listening where exactly are they shopping around at? Does anyone know what the hell is going on anymore?

  38. pjk966 says: Apr 26, 2011 10:15 PM

    Keep biting the hand that feeds you and see where you end up. NFL is never going to be the same if the players get there way. It will destroy the competitive balance that made the NFL the greatest. Its already losing fans, what do you think will happen when only 5 or 6 teams are good and the remaining teams stay in the cellar?
    This short term football without a cba will destroy what the NFL has built in the last 10 years. I would rather have a year without football and a new cba than go the way the players want with no rules and lopsided teams.

  39. realitypolice says: Apr 26, 2011 10:18 PM

    smacklayer says:
    Apr 26, 2011 8:33 PM
    Yeah, I’d negotiate. Since there is no league minimum anymore, I’ll give ya $40k/ year. Take it or leave it. By the way, there is now a 20 gaem season, find your own facilities to work out at, we have full pad practices every day until games start, there is no health insurance, no retirement pension, and oh yeah, our team only has 11 players, you have to play both offense, defense and special teams. Don’t like it? Go file a grievence with your union . . .
    ====================

    Jealousy is funny.

  40. Deb says: Apr 26, 2011 10:20 PM

    @nbcwantsitsmoneyback …

    And the response would be: No. Since you’re clearly missing quite a few brain cells, it obviously hasn’t occurred to you that it’s a two-way street. Without the players, no games. Replacement players don’t provide the same level of play, ratings drop, TV networks who paid billions for TV rights get upset. Owners start losing money.

    Just because you suck up to your bosses because they could replace you with a computer program or a temp from Workers R Us doesn’t mean it’s that way for people who actually have marketable talent.

  41. stevez51 says: Apr 26, 2011 10:57 PM

    Yo Deb, who were the players before? College players who came into the league and got better. Theres your replacements. Manning sucked his 1st year. A year later and we have new stars.

  42. tommyf15 says: Apr 26, 2011 11:42 PM

    FinFan68 says:
    raiderapologist says:
    Apr 26, 2011 8:30 PM
    The clubs are NOT allowed to refuse to negotiate with players? Can’t they just say they aren’t interested?

    They sure could. Then they’d have to convince a judge or jury in an anti-trust suit that it’s just a coincidence all 32 teams had zero interest in any of the free agents.

    If you owned a team, are you certain that’s the game you’d want to play?
    —————————
    Wouldn’t it be the other way around? You know, the “innocent until proven guilty” thing that places the burden of proof on the accuser rather than the defendant

    No.

    An anti-trust court is a civil court, not a criminal court. A preponderance of evidence is all that would be needed, and it would take seven out of the twelve jurors as opposed to all twelve.

    It’s like a sports version of Penthouse Letters here with all of the pro-owner fantasies.

  43. tommyf15 says: Apr 26, 2011 11:45 PM

    Just because you suck up to your bosses because they could replace you with a computer program or a temp from Workers R Us doesn’t mean it’s that way for people who actually have marketable talent.

    Quoted for truth.

  44. tommyf15 says: Apr 27, 2011 12:20 AM

    mick730 says:
    Put the players in their proper place

    Sounds like the “put them Negroes in their proper place” party line I grew up reading in the newspaper in South Carolina.

    And people wonder why the players get bitchy and refer to their rights as slave-like.

    Money isn’t the issue, pay a slave all you want and it’s still a slave.

    Slavery is about rights, and many posters here feel the players should have none.

    I’m not here to argue, but just stop and think- do you want a player stuck with a team, stuck with a specific salary, and stuck with no voice to protest? His freedom is less valuable than your pro-NFL mantra?

    THINK, man.

  45. rlr79 says: Apr 27, 2011 12:35 AM

    smacklayer says:
    Apr 26, 2011 8:33 PM
    “Yeah, I’d negotiate. Since there is no league minimum anymore, I’ll give ya $40k/ year. Take it or leave it. By the way, there is now a 20 gaem season, find your own facilities to work out at, we have full pad practices every day until games start, there is no health insurance, no retirement pension, and oh yeah, our team only has 11 players, you have to play both offense, defense and special teams. Don’t like it? Go file a grievence with your union .”

    ROLMFAO!!!
    That is exactly to a t what I want to see. The league has it all wrong they should openly embrace the players attorneys ideas, and go ahead give them a league with no rules. So they can pay them squat. A league where the top 20 make 80% of the money. Let them eat cake. See how they and the fans react when a total of 10 teams have all the talent. See what happens when teams like Green Bay, Buffalo, Chicago, Cinci, Cleveland, San Diego, Carolina, Jacksonville, Houston, Indianapolis, and Tennessee become farm league teams, while rich teams like Dallas, Washington, Seattle (hello richest owner in all sports), Giants, Jets, Miami, San Fransico, Philly, and Atlanta take all the talent. Lets see peoples faces when the Cowboys, Seahawks, and Washington compete to see who gets the talents of Peyton Manning while the Colts disappear into the abyss, lets see the fans of Green Bay fresh off a SB watch their team be slowly picked apart one by one. Lets see the faces of franchises move to the big teams, and watch the same 12 teams go to the playoffs year in year out. Then I think in a total of three years maybe less the players will revolt not against the NFL but against each other, they will reform the union under new management and finally give the owners exactly what they want. The old saying goes, careful what you wish for you just might get it.

  46. ursushorribilis says: Apr 27, 2011 2:38 AM

    Collusion? What collusion? You mean like when Memaurice e-mails the non-union, disbanded, independent players and tells them what to do? That kind of collusion?

    Hmmm…let’s see…if I were an owner and one of my EMPLOYEES called me names and then sought further employment what would I do? Geez, that is tough to decide.

    If money hungry agents approached me with a rabid pro-union player….the same union that demonized me (owner)…..would I hire him? What to do? Geez, that is a tough call……

    Don’t worry about it……we will get back to you…..

  47. 6thsense79 says: Apr 27, 2011 6:52 AM

    The advice many of you are giving to NFL owners sound suspiciously similar to advice the advice their lawyers are giving them. Or maybe their lawyers are actually telling them to take a different approach but they wouldn’t listen. In any case it’s no wonder the owners have been getting their ass handed to them in court.

    Just because you wish it was legal doesn’t make something legal.

  48. dkeyser says: Apr 27, 2011 8:08 AM

    Heres an idea..Since the NFL is viewed as 32 seperate businesses, then they should do what any other business does…. make all potential employees fill out an application. Or they could say they are not hiring unless said appilicant has a degree in sports management or something to that effect….

  49. Deb says: Apr 27, 2011 1:21 PM

    @stevez51 …

    Yes, before pros became vets they were college players who grew into their roles. But teams introduce one or two rookies a year–the best of the best–who are surrounded by veterans working as a cohesive team. If you field team of 53 college players, you have … a college team.

    Oops … wait a minute … teams playing at a college level are comprised of the best available college players that have worked two to four years with the same playbook and coaching staff.

    You are talking about bringing in 53 college players who have never worked together before, who’ve never played in your system.

    How many players are invited to the Combine? A maximum of 335. You’ll need 1700 to man the 32 NFL teams.

    Soooo … you’re going to find 1700 college players, divide them into 32 groups of 53, deposit them in the NFL cities, hand them a playbook, put the coaches to work, and expect to see NFL-caliber football … sometime in the next five to 10 years.

    Uh-huh. Good luck with that, Einstein.

  50. Deb says: Apr 27, 2011 1:30 PM

    @dkeyser …

    You. Still. Don’t. Get. It.

    When publishers sign authors to book contracts, they don’t have them fill out employment applications. When George Clooney signs a film contract, he doesn’t fill out an employment application. Professional athletes are not employees like the guys down at the factory :roll:

  51. moochzilla says: Apr 27, 2011 4:18 PM

    Deb – I had to give up posting about this for Lent, because it is so frustrating to deal with the willfully ignorant.

    They equate every other job out there with theirs. They are just jealous and bitter, and think everyone needs to make exactly what they do at their Wal-Mart job.

    Somehow that socialist principle is big in the Red State heartland.

    They think they can get scab teams out there and NBC will still pay the same rate and ratings won’t drop. The are operating 100% on emotion. And they think the real world is just like “Madden” on easy level with cheat codes.

  52. dkeyser says: Apr 27, 2011 6:59 PM

    It always makes me laugh when somebody who has no valid points reverts to attacks on someone elses occupation, or where they live, or their politicial views or appearance.

    Pro athletes are no better than anybody else. Yes they have certain things they can do better than others, but they sure as hell are no better than their fans. There are things i can do better than they can do.

    And Deb you are right about George Clooney not filling out an application, but i bet he has an audition

  53. moochzilla says: Apr 27, 2011 9:01 PM

    “Pro athletes are no better than anybody else.”

    Who said they were? Don’t let your jealousy show so much.

    “Yes they have certain things they can do better than others, but they sure as hell are no better than their fans. There are things i can do better than they can do.”

    Yeah, but what you can do makes a company a minimum amount of money. After medical you probably lose it money. And you can be replaced in 10 seconds by a software program or college kid.

    Pro athletes have unique skills that make people a ton of money. And they aren’t easily replaced.

    That’s capitalism. Don’t hate so much, Lenin.

  54. Deb says: Apr 27, 2011 9:20 PM

    @dkeyser …

    Honey, if you think George Clooney is auditioning for roles, you are out of your mind–and you’re making Moochzilla’s point. George Clooney is an Academy Award winner who makes millions per picture and usually has a producer’s credit. He hasn’t auditioned for a role in years. The roles come to him. And elite athletes have the same status.

    College, the Combine, pro days … then camp and preseason are their audition. Once they’ve proved themselves, the teams come to them.

    Do you not realize how absurd you sound? Players couldn’t walk in one day and say, “I want $150 million and make owners give it to them. Owners have bid their salaries into orbit by competing with one another in an effort to field the best team by acquiring the best talent. The better you are, the more you’re worth, and the more an owner will pay to get you. When the league imposed salary caps, owners like Jerry Jones and Paul Allen who had tremendous liquid assets, skirted the cap by doling out millions in cash bonuses to get players away from owners like Dan Rooney who didn’t have that kind of cash available to play with.

    These are savvy businessmen worth billions of dollars. They aren’t going to invest in these teams and pay that kind of money for players (their business assets) unless it means the rewards are HUGE. All that poor-mouthing about them losing money? Not true.

    This isn’t rocket science … unless you deliberately choose to be dense in order to support a position that has no factual foundation. If you want to be ignorant, that’s up to you. Don’t expect the rest of us to feed your fantasies.

  55. Deb says: Apr 27, 2011 9:29 PM

    @moochzilla …

    So you gave up beating your head against brick walls for Lent? I’m not Catholic, but I thought the idea was to sacrifice a pleasant activity ;)

    @dkeyser …

    BTW, I do not think professional athletes are better than you or anyone else and that’s not what moochzilla is saying either. But just as diamonds are more valuable on the market than amethyst, and people with degrees command higher salaries than people with diplomas, elite athletes earn what they do because they have unique skills that the market for which the market is willing to pay top dollar. They earn based on the revenue they generate. It’s about market value, not human value.

  56. moochzilla says: Apr 27, 2011 10:46 PM

    I am an Irish Catholic, so beating my head against a wall and arguing with people is one of my favorite past times!

    I think this is all so clear, the owners over-reached and got caught with their pants down legally.

    Very good examples by you there.

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