After the pre-asterisked NFLPA elected DeMaurice Smith to serve as its executive director, without obtaining pre-approval by the four finalists of the specific terms of employment, a contract had to be negotiated. Smith reportedly wanted a four-year commitment, and the NFLPA offered three. When the contract was finalized, the length of the deal remained a secret.
Daniel Kaplan of SportsBusiness Journal reports that Smith ultimately signed a three-year deal.
The information, contained in the former union’s annual filing with the U.S. Department of Labor, means that Smith will be up for re-election in March 2012.
It remains to be seen whether Smith will face one or more opponents next year. His ability to secure another term — if he wants one — will depend on the manner in which the labor situation is resolved. That’s why it’s important for the lockout to be resolved in a manner that allows Smith and the players to declare victory, and for the NFL to not publicly disagree.
The situation will be similar to the negotiation of a long-term, big-money player contract. Inevitably, the agent for the player leaks to a member of the media eager to add a notch to his or her scoop belt puffed up numbers that the member of the media breathlessly will report without first seeing the real numbers contained in the contract. Some teams opt to say or do nothing to set the record straight. Some teams make sure to discreetly get the word out. And some, like the Raiders once did, will push to the press numbers lower than reported — even when the numbers reported via the agent/player leak were accurate.
In this case, it’s important for the NFL to take the first approach. The CBA eventually will be available for public scrutiny, and the experts will be able to pick it apart and offer up their opinions as to whether it was a good deal or a bad deal for the players.
As to the numbers in Smith’s contract, Kaplan reports that he received $1.53 million from the NFLPA and $920,000 from Players, Inc. during his first full year on the job, for a total of $2.45 million. That’s far less than the amount that the late Gene Upshaw was making, and it reflects a realization by the players that quality candidates would do that job for far, far less than the NFLPA paid Upshaw.