NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith had a busy year. And he possibly going to have an extra reward for the work he has done.
Mark Maske of the Washington Post reports that Smith could receive a $1 million bonus.
Per Maske, there is “considerable, but not unanimous, support” on the NFLPA Executive Committee for the payment. A decision could come soon. Maske writes that there is “some sentiment” to delay it.
On one hand, Smith didn’t receive a salary during the lockout, and he ultimately secured a labor deal that gives the players significantly more than the owners had wanted to share over the next decade. The players will earn 55 percent of the new TV deals, which based on current estimates will translate into $3.85 billion in 2014.
On the other hand, Smith has been criticized for the manner in which several of the loose ends were resolved, including HGH testing, violations of the personal-conduct policy during the lockout, and the absence of a grace period for the return of drug testing under the substance-abuse policy.
Moreover, some have suggested that any money available to give to Smith should go to players who participated in the negotiations. Men like Domonique Foxworth and Jeff Saturday devoted many, many hours to the process, without compensation for the effort.
The outcome of this specific issue could provide a hint regarding the renewal, or not, of Smith’s contract in March 2012. If the members of the Executive Committee aren’t willing to give Smith an extra $1 million, they likely won’t be willing to rehire him three months from now.
We’ve got no position on whether Smith should or shouldn’t have his contract renewed, or whether he should get the bonus. That’s an issue for the men he serves. But he has been largely out of sight since the labor deal was resolved, and if he truly wants to stay on the job he’ll need to be far more visible in the coming weeks.